Monday, January 11, 2010

Tiger Redux

Britt Hume has been taking it on the chops for his comments about Tiger Woods, Christianity and Buddhism! Maybe we need more perspective!
by Charlie Leck

Can you imagine Tiger Woods, only months ago the leading glamour boy of all American sports, skulking around his house, afraid to come out and too embarrassed to face the world again? For all we know, that may be a true picture. I wonder if he is surrounding himself with PR experts who are laying out a strategy that might allow him to climb out of the fox hole in which he has secluded himself.

I'm betting that part of the strategy for recovery will include something in the area of a religious conversion. How often have we witnessed it?

Man does bad things! He is caught doing the bad things! His reputation is in ruins! Man finds God and experiences a religious conversion. Man starts life anew!

Some of these conversions may have an element of truth. My guess (and that's all it is) is that most of them do not!

Fox's number one newscaster, Britt Hume, suggested such a conversion to Christianity from Buddhism for Tiger, opining that more forgiveness might be available by making the switch. I suggested I had trouble with that, but that's mainly because I am not a religious literalist.

People like John Stewart and Keith Obermann have been making fun of poor Britt. I had my own shot at him in a blog a few days ago; however, I was merely trying to point out that Britt Hume may have been wrong about the concept of forgiveness within Buddhism. [Read my earlier blog if you are interested.]

This morning, Ross Douthat, a blogger and columnist I respect and read regularly, suggests that Britt Hume's comments were not that absurd and perhaps have some merit. So, in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, I thought I'd point you to that column. [Click here if you'd like to read the Douthat column about Hume and Woods.]

Among many other points, Douthat made this one:
"This doesn’t mean that we need to welcome real bigotry into our public discourse. But what Hume said wasn’t bigoted: Indeed, his claim about the difference between Buddhism and Christianity was perfectly defensible. Christians believe in a personal God who forgives sins. Buddhists, as a rule, do not. And it’s at least plausible that Tiger Woods might welcome the possibility that there’s Someone out there capable of forgiving him, even if Elin Nordegren and his corporate sponsors never do."
Again, I would argue, as I did in that earlier post, that this is to misunderstand Buddhism. There is someone, according to the Buddhist concept who can forgive Tiger -- and that is Tiger! I'm not going to repeat what I said about the great and slow turning from his past, releasing himself from that past, and moving on to a new and unburdened future; however, this happens within the teachings of Buddha!

As a one-time strong and enthusiastic supporter and fan of Tiger Woods, I hope he is in this turning process. I also hopes he does not rush it, but remains very contemplative as he turns away from the past and toward a future that is not controlled by his former life style.

Repentance is an important word to me; and an important concept. For Tiger's sake, if he does play the religious card, I hope he is sincerely repentant for what he's done -- that is, what he's done to his wife and to his children and to all the people around him who sincerely love him.

Douthat makes some important points about not being afraid of the power of religion and faith; and that we were never intended to hide our religion and convictions and be hush-hush about them. He declares that Hume was not foolish at all in making his startling recommendation to Tiger.

But now, as long as all kinds of people are throwing religious cliches around, let me throw one of my own: "Let him who is without sin, throw the first stone!" Jesus, you were right-on when you said that!

Now, after saying all those pompous things, let me also point out that Jon Stewart's video, The Temple of Hume, is absolutely hilarious and I suggest you watch it for a few laughs. [click here to view it!]

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