Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Let's hear it for Britt Hume!

arI saw this last night, and just wanted to post it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Amazing how the truth can freak everyone out!


Bill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ouiz said...

From my brother:


Ouiz, the only reason you're okay with this is because it's YOUR religion he's advocating. If someone had said "____ should leave Christianity because Islam/Buddhism/Judaism/Hinduism is better" you'd be outraged.

Would you be cool with Tom Brokaw extolling the virtues of Kaballah? Can Brian Williams tell us all how great he finds the Koran? Could Rachel Maddow give us a commentary on the superiority of Hinduism?

If it's not okay for a NEWS ANCHOR to say "leave Christianity and take up Buddhism" (and it's NOT) then it's not okay to say the reverse.

It's blatant hypocracy to cheer for one and say the other would wrong.

Also, aside from the fact that he's completely and utterly WRONG about other faiths' lack of "redemption", note that "Fair and Balanced" Brit isn't advocating Christianity because its precepts are stronger, or that it holds greater universal truths. He's advocating it because it's a better get-out-of-jail-free card for adulterers. How proud Jesus must be.

So, to summarize why everyone's "freaking out", let me clarify: he's a) ignorant of the content of other faiths, b) lying when he claims to not be prosthelytizing, c) perverting the reason one should consider Christianity, and d) mixing journalism with evangelism, corrupting both.

Ouiz said...

Bill, first, I have to explain that the only reason I deleted your comment is because you used my real name.

Secondly, the only thing that "outrages" me is that we live in a culture that freaks out whenever anyone reminds them of the obvious truth that God exists and we are all going to stand before Him one day.

If Richard Gere wants to stand up and say, "I think X should embrace Buddhism because he'll find the peace he needs," or Tom Cruise spouts off that Scientology holds the answer, or Madonna waxes poetic about the Kabbalah, more power to them. I may believe that they are completely and totally wrong, but least I can applaud that they are acknowledging that there's something bigger than mankind "out there." If they truly felt that their way was the only way to God, and they DIDN'T tell me, I'd be offended... not in a "convert, infidel, or die" type of conversation, but the kind like I had recently with some woman at the park. She was Baha'i and, God bless her, she wanted to share with me what she believed to be true. I really appreciated that, because it showed that she cared enough about me as a human being to take the time to tell me about something that she thought was incredibly important for me to know. I feel the same way about the Mormons who come to my door.

Did you ever see Penn Gillette talk about this? I think he sums it up quite nicely: "How much do you have to hate somebody to not prosthelytize? Coming from an atheist, I think these are pretty powerful words.

Now as to the "get out of jail free" comment: If someone wants to play the "I got religion and now the public will like me again" card, they are sadly fooling themselves. Repentance means sincere, total turning away from sin and desiring to follow God. Mouthing a few words and giving the sky a wink ain't gonna cut it. To be fair, that is NOT what Brit Hume is recommending that Tiger Woods do, and I think you are doing him a great injustice by claiming that he is.

I'm glad you took the time to comment, Bill... and I hope to talk to you soon!

Bill said...

I have a long response to that, but let me start with this:

Imagine for a second; Rev. Ted Haggard just got caught frequenting male prostitutes and using crack. A Jewish news anchor says "well obviously Christianity isn't sufficiently soul-cleansing. To save his soul, Ted should take up Judaism. Yahweh would forgive him that way and it would be SUCH a great example to the world!!"

Be honest with yourself, and me. What would your reaction to that be?

Bill said...

or, better yet, make the news anchor a Hindu. Would I be reading the same "hooray for religious freedom" blog post?

Ouiz said...


I don't have to agree with what someone says in order to appreciate the fact that they are acknowledging that there is more to life than what we see here. So yes, HOORAY FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!Would I agree with someone who proposed Hinduism? No. Would I be "irate" or "offended"? No. Again, as long as they are respectful, I'm willing to offer them that same respect.

Sorry that you think I would be.

Did YOU post about the evils of Tom Cruise when he spouted off that Brooke Shields had no business taking depression medication... and that if only she REALLY understood the human mind, like he and all Scientologists did, she would be better off?

Did YOU freak out over that? Tell him to mind his own business and keep his religion to himself? Did it offend you?

When Oprah Winfrey dedicates her whole show to pushing Marianne Williamson... or Erkhart Tolle... or whoever... does that offend you?

If not, why? Why does one man mentioning Christianity throw you into fits, but others can wax poetic about their beliefs for days and it doesn't seem to faze you?

When Bill Clinton tried to say how truly sorry he was for the whole Lewinsky affair and got on public TV with various religious leaders, how did that sit with you? Did you view it as a cheap "get out of jail free" card for adulterers? Did you condemn him for that?

I welcome discussion with you, Bill, but don't be so quick to jump to conclusions and peg me as some big "hypocrite" without truly looking at your own reactions to things as well.

Bill said...

You've falsely conflated a few things here, and made several wrong assumptions about me.

From reading your response, it's clear to me that you think I'm a typical secular liberal type, "offended" at any mention of Christianity but giving a pass to all else. I'm offended by "one man mentioning Christianity", which "throws (me) into fits" but I'm "unfazed" about others' "waxing poetic about their beliefs for days". I'm clearly cool with Tom Cruise, Oprah, et al (as long as they don't mention God, naturally) and readily accept that political leaders on my side are sincere while condemning those on the other side as hypocrites.

Why the hell would you assume ANY of that about me?? What, besides the conservative caricature of liberals, would lead you to think that those are my opinions?

To elucidate: 1) Tom Cruise is an idiot. His Scientology is his own business, until he tries to push it on others or use it to wrongly/ignorantly attack a proven field of study. His influence may lead some to not pursue needed therapy. His comments are damaging, and it is never right to substitute religious dogma for proven empirical science. Yes, I would tell him to sit down and shut up. 2) Oprah Winfrey has a show where she's paid to showcase her opinions, views, likes, dislikes, preferences and interests. Showcasing Marianne Williamson, Sarah Palin, or whoever else she wants to is not only her right, it's very explicitly what she's paid to do. 3) Bill Clinton (and let's add Larry Craig, David Vitter, Mark Sanford, David Ensign, Vito Fossela, Bob Allen, Mark Foley, Jim West, Jeff Gannon, John Fund, Dan Burton, Henry Hyde, Newt Gingrich, Jim Bakker, Strom Thurmond, Bob Barr, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Laura Schlessinger, Jimmy Swaggart, etc) is a public figure. He was apologizing TO religious figures, not hiding behind them. I can condemn him for adultery (as I do the others on the list) inasfar as it's up to me to condemn. If he's not sincere in his religious beliefs then yes, it would be a cynical "out of jail free" card use of religion. If he is sincere then no, it's not. Same rule as you.

Now, back to the point: Brit Hume.

You're getting the source of the outrage, mine and others', all wrong. We're not "freaked out" by the mention of Jesus or Christianity. In fact, most of those (myself included) doing the freaking are Christians themselves! Why would I freak over someone advocating MY OWN beliefs??
[ side note: I'm always amused at the characterization from conservative circles as to how I (and all of my oppressive liberal ilk) walk around hating religion, freedom and Christmas, raising our Socialist hackles whenever the dreaded word "JESUS" is used. We all hiss like asmatic cats and slink back into the bushes.. "NOOO!" we cry; "that name bespeaks of a universal truth that would bring the hated morality into out secular culture!! We hatesss it!!! HISSSsssss...." ]

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

No, Esmerelda, the problem isn't Jesus (hissssss... ). The problem is that Brit Hume, well intentioned though he may be, did more than say "Yay Christianity". He said "Woods needs to LEAVE HIS RELIGION to follow mine". Hume took a public dump on another's firmly held religious beliefs. The problem isn't just what he advocated, it's what he disparaged. If you stand for religious freedom as you say (and I don't doubt you do) then you also have to stand for Tiger Woods' right to not have a NETWORK ANCHOR take a crap ("Buddhism is insufficient for what Tiger did") on his beliefs in a public forum. Religious freedom holds true for both people in this equation, not just the one you agree with.

Compounding the problem we wacked out liberals have with this is that Hume was WRONG. Listen to his comments again. He himself admits that he doesn't KNOW if Buddhism has the "kind of redeption offered by the Christian faith" before denigrating the beliefs of 350 million people and saying that his should replace them. You tell me: how is "leave your religion because mine is better" respectful?? Inserting your religion over another is one thing, but doing so based on an erroneous belief that one doesn't offer sufficient redemptive qualities is another. Ignorance mixed with certainty is a recipe for just being... wrong.

Also, Hume made his "Buddhism sucks" comments not as a private individual (Cruise, Winfrey, Gillette) but as a network spokesman. His job is to voice the opinions of the network, not his own. He has not retracted his comments, nor has Fox reprimaded him in any way. Let me put it another way: a "Fair and Balanced" supposed NEWS network has just advocated a particular religion as better than another. This is not NEWS. It's EVANGELISM.
This raises a bigger point, though; one that I've been studying for quite some time. Had Hume said "Yaaay Jesus!" on an opinion show, or had he said "I personally found Christainity redemptive" then I and all of my morality-hating liberal friends wouldn't be saying anything. Showcasing opinions is perfectly fine. The problem is that Fox pretends that it ISN'T doing that. Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes have always defended their slanted news reporting by saying "but we have Brit Hume! He's not ideological! He just reports so you can decide for yourself!". This episode confirms the bullcrapness of that spin. If it's The 700 Club, then CALL it that; just don't whiz on my leg and tell me it's raining.

Bill said...

I suppose, though, I can understand why you'd think I was against religion. There's a common conservative/evangelical fallacy that if I were to stand against Christian exclusivity then I'm standing against Christianity itself. That's very wrong.

Allow me, then, to clarify my views. They're actually very simple.

Part 1. Everyone should have the freedom to pursue the religion that speaks to them, without some pompous ignorant (though possibly well-intentioned) blowhard taking a public dump on it.

Part 2. Your religious freedoms end at the exact point they infringe on or lessen another's.

Part 3. My right to pursue the religion of my choosing does not include for me a right to crap on YOURS. Until Jesus comes to my front door and gives me the envelope containing the REAL answer, we'll all have to follow our own consciences and beliefs. Neither I, you, Richard Dawkins, Ghandi, the pope, or Captain Kangaroo can prove that we're any more "right" that anyone else.

Part 4. There are appropriate and inappropriate forums to discuss and advocate religious beliefs. A public forum, one meant to be open to all, cannot espouse a particular religious belief over and above any others. Keep in mind parts 2 and 3. Others will be there, and they don't all agree with you, assuming that any do.

Part 5. Freedom of religion is also freedom FROM religion. Should I choose to not pursue any religion at all none should be pushed on me.

That's it. Liberals aren't against religion. We aren't "offended" by the mention of it. We're very much for it, yours and mine included. What we're against is the attitude that anyone should have a monopoly on it, and we're against the arrogance that makes one call his beliefs "better" than others'. We belive that everyone gets a seat at the table, and that no one, including ourselves, has the right to a bigger chair.

Bill said...

whuff.. apparently my response was waaay too long for a single post.

Still... does that help clarify my objections here?

CD said...

Isn't Fox News Sunday, where Brit Hume made his comments, an opinion show and not a newscast?

Jo Jo said...

It seems your main objection to Britt Hume's comment was that he took a crap on someone else's religious beliefs in a public forum. Is that what you were trying to simply say with all those words?

Bill said...

to CD:

well, sorta. It's a panel show. You do have a point, though, in that he was a panelist at the time, and you can easily make the argument that he was there to give his opinion on things.

I would say, more precisely, that he was there for analysis and insight, not opinion. There's supposed to be a difference. As a network anchor he is to be above partisan reproach in any venue, particularly for a "Fair and Balanced" network that specifically bills Hume as their "straight down the middle" news guy. His role is to be the unbiased nonpartisan reporter, telling nothing but straight facts so that that you and I (presumably on different ends of the ideological spectrum) could trust him equally.

Can you see the problem here, though, in having "news" and "opinion" come from the same guy, interchangeably? This is precisely my (and so many others') problem with Fox; the intentional blurring of news and opinion.

Your question made me consider this a little more, and helped me clarify my position, so thanks for that. I had to think about it a bit, and instead of saying ".. if he said it on an opinion show.." I should have put it more along the lines of ".. if his were an opinion show..."

I feel clearer now.

to JoJo:

I think I made quite a few other valid points with "all those words" (which is why I used a whole bunch of 'em) but yes; that is one of my main objections. My others are that he was wrong, he was arrogant, and that evangelism has no place coming out of a news anchor.

When I said "public forum" I was talking along the lines of a specific physical space (note that I said "others will be there") as well as a televised one. Also note the distinction between news and opinion-based forums.

Jo Jo said...

What do you mean that Britt Hume was wrong?

Bill said...

He said "I don't think that (Buddhism) offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith". This is a plain statement. Hume compared the redemptive qualities of 2 religions, and, despite admitting not knowing what they are on the other side, determined that his beliefs have what the other lacks.

If you want a brief explanation, here: Buddhism is a religion of self-perfection. In it, one's experiences in life are a direct result of one's ethics, internal and expressed, defined in Buddhism as adherence to the principles of the religion. If you screw up (adultery included), you accumulate bad karma and have to face the retribution that will come back to you. It's a "garbage out, garbage back" kind of deal.

Just as the offense happens internally by bad thought and deed, so the Buddhists believe that redemption comes from inside. Theirs is an "inside out" system instead of the "top down" one you know. Atonement/redemption in the Taoist system consists of contrition followed by turning inward to an ethical way of life, returning to an improved karmic state.

He, or you, or whoever, may not agree with the Buddhist system of forgiveness and redemption, but it's there just the same. To say it doesn't "offer" it is wrong. That's what I mean.

Jo Jo said...


Let's just say this. As a Christian who believes that Jesus is my personal Savior, that believes him when he says he is the only way to God, and obeys him when he says go spread the good news...I have read your facts about Buddhim, but I don't think they offer the same redemptive qualities that Christianity does. Britt Hume was offering witness to Tiger Woods when he said what he said. It has nothing to do with being partisan because religion is not political. You yourself pointed out that even though you are different politically from Ouiz, you have the same beliefs as her. He wished him a true conversion and extroardinary blessings...not a get out of jail free card. He did it in a public forum much like you have done here. Britt Hume reached out to Tiger Woods to witness to him in what may very well be his only avenue. You are ripping your own sister apart here in a public forum for simply saying that she thought it was amazing and stating the fact that people freaked out. You yourself have the ability to call her or write her privately, but you choose to "comment" on her blog. And speaking of inapproriate, how about the fact that this blog is about family life and homeschooling and your only comments have been berating her for chearing for someone whom she admires.

Bill said...

That's the point. You "don't THINK" that Buddhism has the same redemptive qualities... You do get that others disagree with you, right?


- I didn't say the comments were wrong because they were political. I said they were wrong because they were arrogant, disrespectful, and inaccurate.
- there's a difference in "forum" between an audience of millions and a blog readership of 2 dozen or so. The 2 are not comparable.
- I've tried to have a respectful discussion. Never once did I demean a religion. Your comparison is way off.
- you're projecting Hume's motivations. You don't know.
- I do not have the same beliefs as my sister.
- if you'll read what I said, I was explaining the "freakout" because it was apparent to me she was misinterpreting it. The RESPECTFUL thing for me to do is to explain my point of view, in hopes of hearing hers in return. That's how outlooks get expanded.
- my relationship to my sister is my business.
- it's spelled "cheering".

I've written all of this in the hopes of having some sort of productive exchange, but I can see that all I'm getting are unnecessary rudeness and repetitions of the original claim from someone determined not to listen to a damn thing I've said.

Bill said...

but K___, call me later if you want. I'll be here, working all weekend.

CD said...

To clarify, Britt Hume is actually no longer a news anchor on Fox News. He left that position to become an analyst several months ago.