Fox News' Brit Hume threw a religious gauntlet towards Tiger Woods yesterday claiming that his buddhist faith is inadequate for his lifestyle. He urged him to become a Christian:
"The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith," said Hume. "He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger is, 'Tiger turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
Now I'm not one to argue that Catholicism indeed offers redemption to others very intentionally through the sacrament of reconciliation--and that this indeed is a good thing. But frankly, Mr. Hume's comment gives me the willies and strikes me as being religiously intolerant and perhaps even bigoted.
Would Hume have uttered the same comment if Tiger Woods was Jewish? Secondly, does he even know if Tiger practices Buddhism faithfully? I doubt that Woods practices his religion in a manner that could be equated with say, the Dali Lama or even Richard Gere for that matter. To lump an entire religion into the same boat with the immoral practices of an individual who claims to profess that particular faith and then to denigrate the religion for their tenets based on ignorance of how much redemption the religion offers is simply stupid.
I wonder what Buddhism's response to the comments might be? Most likely their response will be a non-response which I would say is the best one at this juncture. After all, stupidity needs no response.
However, journalist Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien wrote smartly,
“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.”
Hume backpedaled today:
“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.”
Yeah, because that's so much better stated.