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Brit Hume Clarifies: Jesus Christ Offers Tiger Woods Something That Tiger Woods Badly Needs

Reported by Ellen - January 4, 2010 -

As News Hounds’ Priscilla posted, Brit Hume offered some startling advice to Tiger Woods on Fox News Sunday yesterday (1/3/10): “Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.” According to Hume, Woods’ current faith, Buddhism, doesn’t offer “the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by the Christian faith.” Not surprisingly, those words made quite a stir. Tonight, Hume went on The O’Reilly Factor to amplify on what he meant. Instead of noting that Buddhism does indeed offer forgiveness, or pointing out the value of faith, in general, in a time of crisis, Hume reiterated his call to Christianity. With video.

As USA Today reported in the wake of the drubbing Hume has gotten, Buddhist and journalist Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien wrote, “Buddhism doesn't offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense is meaningless in Buddhism. Forgiveness is important, but it is approached differently in Buddhism.”

On O’Reilly, at about 4 minutes into an interview with Hume that had previously been about politics, O’Reilly played the clip of Hume on Fox News Sunday and asked, “Was that proselytizing?”

As Priscilla noted, “proselytize” is defined as “an act of attempting to convert people to another opinion.” Hume had directly and unequivocally urged Woods to “turn to the Christian faith.” It’s hard to see how that can be called anything but proselytizing. But Hume immediately took the out O’Reilly handed him by saying, “I don’t think so.”

Then, he proceeded to proselytize some more. “Look, Tiger Woods is somebody I’ve always rooted for, as a golfer and as a man… and I’ve always said to people that it was the content of his character that made him beyond his extraordinary golf skills so admirable. Now we know that the content of his character was not what we thought it was. He is paying a frightful price for these revelations. My sense is that he has basically lost his family… and my sense about Tiger is that he needs something that Christianity especially provides and gives and offers and that is redemption and forgiveness. And I was really meaning to say in those comments yesterday more about Christianity than I was about anything else. I mentioned the Buddhism only because his mother is a Buddhist and he has apparently said that he is a Buddhist. I’m not sure how seriously he practices that. But I think that Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs.”

Bill O’Reilly said that if Woods converted, he might be accused, like Bill Clinton, who “had the Bible and Jesse Jackson, and they were praying” of doing it for show.

Hume brought up Watergate player Charles Colson whom O’Reilly distinguished as having made “a true conversion.”

Hume continued, “What I’m saying is, if Tiger Woods were to make a true conversion, we would know it. It would show through in his being and he would know it above all and he would feel the extraordinary blessing that that would be. And it would shine because he is so prominent. It would be a shining light. And I think it would be a magnificent thing to witness.”

Hume later said he wasn’t trying to “belittle” the Buddhist faith.

Instead of pointing out that Hume’s comments could be seen as an attempt to portray Christianity as superior to Buddhism or other faiths and that people might take exception to that kind of talk from a television news man, O’Reilly played the war on Christianity card. “What do you think drives the negative comments about Christianity?” he asked.

“It has always been a puzzling thing to me,” Hume said, picking up the ball. “The Bible even speaks of it. That, you know, you speak the name ‘Jesus Christ’ and I don’t mean to make a pun here but all Hell breaks loose and it has always been nuts. It is explosive. I didn’t even say the name in that way, I simply spoke of the Christian faith, but that was enough to trigger this reaction.”

What's next? Sending Mike Huckabee to Woods' house to deliver some copies of the New Testament?