Saturday, January 09, 2010
My Sunday Feeling
"You know who needs Jesus? Bill Clinton needs Jesus," opined Rev. Victor H. Nixon after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. Of course, Rev. Nixon was speaking not only about the President but about a man he knew personally, having married Bill and Hillary. And he spoke thusly while in the pulpit of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church on a Sunday morning back in those days.
Unlike Vic Nixon, whose remarks were appropriate given the setting, Fox senior political commentator Brit Hume offered up the same recommendation last week about another famous man embroiled in a Clintonesque scandal of his own.
"He is said to be a buddhist," Hume said of Tiger Woods. " But I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
Of course, this comment was immediately the subject of much derision from people from all different religious and non-religious persuasions. Typically, the folks at Fox spun this as another example of the supposed oppression of the major belief system in the United States by liberals who oppose the free exercise of Hume's rights to make such a statement.
You will not hear that from me. While Hume's musing on the state of Eldrick's soul might not exactly be Comparative Religion 101, he has every right to say it. And as long as the ratings among the yayhoos that watch Fox are high, Hume's bosses won't tell him to keep a lid on such nonsense.
But Hume's comments are not only condescending and obnoxious they are misplaced. Tiger Woods has surely been misbehaving. But what concerned Hume was the fact that Tiger is allegedly a Buddhist which was news to most golf fans. Probably most Buddhists too. And this to me is short sighted. As odious as Tiger's behavior has been, he didn't kill anybody. As long as we are prescribing Christian conversion as a means of "recovery" let's offer Him up to some really bad actors.
Bernard Madoff bankrupted hundreds of people through a Ponzi scheme thought to be the biggest fraud in the history of finance. Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11 is still at large and an active terrorist. Tiger is in neither of these bastards' league when it comes to pure mendacity.
And as long as Hume is throwing out the lifeline he should include some nominal Christians who have strayed. Like fellow Methodist Ken Lay who was in charge of Enron. Okay. Maybe its too late for him. How about the guy who shot the Kansas abortion provider IN A CHURCH?
Maybe Hume should also call members of the cloth to an examination of conscience as well. Like any clergy who abuse children, steal money or otherwise abuse their position of authority. Or who are raking it in over the table like Kenneth Copeland. And let us consider Rick Warren whose message of homophobia resounded so well in Uganda that they passed a law making homosexuality a capital offense.
Brit Hume's observations were not only condescending and obnoxious. They were trivial as well, the theological equivalent of Facebook postings where folks dare other Christians to profess their face on their profiles.
But he had every right to make these remarks. And as long as Fox can make people believe that Brit Hume's wrongheaded statements made to a friendly audience ranks up there with Martin Luther nailing the thesis to the wall in terms of bravery there will be money to be made.
And that's what it's all about.