Fox News analyst Brit Hume said “widespread media bias against Christianity” was to blame for criticism of his suggestion that Tiger Woods should embrace Christianity to find redemption. “Instead of urging that Tiger Woods turn to Christianity, if I had said what he needed to do was to strengthen his Buddhist commitment or turn to Hinduism, I don’t think anybody would have said a word,” Hume told Christianity Today. “It’s Christ and Christianity that get people stirred up.”
Sarah Palin and other conservative Christians have made similar claims. Is there widespread media bias against Christianity? Against evangelicals such as Hume and Palin? Against public figures who speak openly and directly about their faith? Against people who believe as you do?
Brit Hume used the airways to proffer a latest version of Christian exceptionalism, and Fox News became an apt vehicle to allow millions to hear the basic dogma of evangelical Christianity: there is only one Truth, and only Jesus Christ can take you there. Left unsaid–“everyone else is doomed to hell.”
Hume’s words, rendered during an ostensibly intellectual discussion on television, are so commonly heard by people of Dharma faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism, they fail even to emote anymore. Accosted too often by wandering proselytizers and evangelical mercenaries resorting to every trick known to man to convince me of my Hindu religion’s failures and to convert, I am deaf to the polemics of religious superiority.
But sometimes, it is important to listen to the Hume variety of blatant triumphalism, if for no other reason but to affirm again the diametric polarity of our religious life. While efforts such as this On Faith project endeavor to foster an intelligent dialogue on religious life to promote understanding, how far can we truly engage those who subscribe to Hume’s views?
Where pluralism is dead, we are consigned to shout against closed minds. Amazing that evangelicals fail to recognize that their monopolistic view of only their religion’s legitimacy shares more with the mullahs of Iran or Saudi Arabia than with the democratic ideals our Founding Fathers established here.
Leave aside the fatuous logic–did the Christian faith protect Mark Sanford, John Edwards or Ted Haggard from errant ways? But Hume’s attempt to turn criticism into an anti-Christian attack is even more ludicrous.
We criticize Hume not for his Christian faith, but for his very un-Christian judgement of another’s religious beliefs. We criticize Hume for in refusing to acknowledge his error, he seeks to compound it by claiming the mantle of victimhood. Christ and Christianity do not “stir people up,” but the distortion of a prophet’s message into another display of arrogant chauvinism does.
The media has its biases, certainly, but Hume has made his bias against all those not sharing his Christian faith crystal clear.