Brit Hume Confuses Faith and Religion on Tiger Woods

Here's what the religious opinion maker should have said about the unfaithful golfer.

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By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jerfferson Street blog

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked the show's roundtable to predict the biggest sports story of 2010. Brit Hume said that Tiger Woods would make a comeback in golf, but that as a human being, needed to turn to the Christian faith to find the forgiveness he needs—because Hume didn't think that Buddhism, Woods's reported religion, "offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith." The outrage on talk shows and the blogosphere has been swift.

But Brit Hume was invited onto Fox News Sunday as an opinion maker, not a reporter, and Chris Wallace asked him his opinion. It's a free country, and Brit Hume is entitled to say whatever he'd like. So he gave his opinion, which he clearly had prepared in advance. As a speechwriter, though, I just had to edit his remarks. Here's what I think Brit Hume meant to say:

"Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it's a tragic situation for him. I think he's lost his family, it's not clear to me if he'll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal—the extent to which he can recover—seems to me to depend on his faith.

He needs the kind of forgiveness and redemption that only faith in God offers. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to God and He will show you the way. You can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"

Hume's mistake was confusing faith with religion. The two are very different things. It's unfortunate that he seemed to compare two of the world's great religions and found one lacking, when he was really looking at one of the world's great athletes and found his actions lacking. Except for the part about religion, Brit Hume made a valid point about faith.