The forgiveness Keith Oblermann offers Tiger Woods?
For a couple of weeks, Tiger Woods replaced Sarah Palin as the "Number One News Story of the Day" as the object of Keith Olbermann and Lawrence O'Donnell's scorn on Countdown. They reported the golfer's scandals with glee usually reserved for hated political opponents' (Republicans, of course) troubles.
The culmination of these "reports" was the nightly update of an absurd animated series of re-creations of Woods's problems for a Taiwanese news program, with Olbermann cackling along.
But after weeks of constantly savage mockery, Keith Olbermann suddenly leapt to Tiger's defense, absurdly charging—without backing up the claim—that Fox News's Brit Hume "threatened Tiger Woods" to convert to Christianity.
With friends like Keith…
That's bad enough. But Keith and his "expert" guest also mocked Hume's understanding of both Christianity and other religions; all the while showing off their own deep ignorance of the religions they introduced to the topic. For instance:
OLBERMANN: …try to guess what the reaction would be if [Hume's] remarks had been these: "He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption offered by the Islam faith. So my message to Tiger would be, Tiger, turn to the Islam faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
Gee, Keith, maybe because that would be absurd? Maybe you could point to the verses in the Quran about forgiveness of sins? How about redemption without the loss of a limb? Billy Graham has altar calls in sports stadiums. Do you know what they do in sports stadium to adulterers under Sharia Law?
As Nonie Darwish points out in great detail in her superb book, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Islam is not a religion concerned with establishing a relationship with a loving God. It is a series of regulations and punishments. Here's what you get if you are "good;" here is what the state should do to you if you violate these 7th Century Bedouin rules for living.
Here is Keith's compassionate coverage of Tiger Woods's nightmare of reckless infidelity and sexual obsession: ( Click here for video.)
And here, as Paul Cooper ably pointed out yesterday, is Brit Hume's rather heartfelt and very conventionally orthodox Christian "threat:"
After the week's biggest non-controversy, Hume explained himself thusly to Bill O'Reilly:
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: 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—I was really meaning to say in those comments yesterday more about Christianity than I was about anything else. I mentioned 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.
Olbemann and guest "minister" Air America's Welton Gaddy, somehow found that Brit had dug himself an even deeper hole with this statement. Check out their own hilarious non-sequitur beginning to the discussion:
GADDY: Yes, I think it's part of that, Keith. It's also—I would defend the right of Mr. Hume to confess his faith however he wants to. But all of us know that with rights and freedom come responsibility. And he's talking on a national news program. He's giving his opinion, as he has the right to do. But anybody who is pro-American, who loves liberty in this nation, wants to support the unity of religions and not contribute to their divisiveness. And his statement, though he backed up on it a little bit last night -his statement was still a judgment about another religion, a judgment he really doesn't have the authority to make.
Hmmm. I thought liberals weren't supposed to question people's patriotism… But more on point, logically Gaddy's statement is really a statement of equal UN-belief. All religions cannot be equally true, they directly contradict one another. They can, however, be equally UNTRUE. For Rev. Gaddy to attribute unpatriotic, much less uncompassionate, motives to Brit Hume, while talking to the man responsible for the video collection above is almost too absurd to comment on. I'll just say it's a "judgment he really doesn't have the authority to make"—or at least has forfeited the authority to make.
OLBERMANN: And the irony on that judgment, is it not correct on theories of religion, he's got his facts wrong. He said Buddhism does not really have a vehicle for forgiveness? If you're going to go out on this limb, if you really feel you want to do that and take whatever the blow-back is, I'm in agreement with you. Good for you and good for your faith and what you believe in. But if you're going to speak about somebody else's religion, are you not obligated to know enough about their religion not to make a big mistake?
GADDY: Absolutely, Keith. And I wish everybody abided by that principle. The fact is that Judaism has a strong doctrine of forgiveness. Other religions practice forgiveness as well.
Huh? Hello. Will somebody please explain the redemption story in Buddhism? I think we all missed that… Way to keep up, Rev.
GADDY: What's interesting in this instance is that I personally was offended by the way in which Mr. Hume talked about forgiveness and repentance within Christianity. He described a situation in which it was almost like, here's a marketplace of religions from which Tiger Woods can draw, and the best one to go to, where forgiveness seems to be cheapest and redemption cheapest, is Christianity. That is a striking sign that he doesn't understand the pain that goes with forgiveness and that always accompanies redemption within Christianity.
Rev. Gaddy is also, no doubt, deeply offended by the Apostle Paul's appeal to the pseudo-intellectuals who gathered at Mars Hill, in which he made an appeal for Christianity based on the logic of their own premises. Or how about Paul's assertion that "if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." That if Heaven and redemption are not in reality at the end of this faith and practice, it's all been a monumental waste of time?
How judgmental! And vaguely threatening?
With defenders like Keith, Tiger Woods needs friends like Brit Hume.