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Rulers, Ruling All Things January 5, 2010

Posted by monty in news, TV.
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I suppose it was only a matter of time.  Last night I posted the video of Brit Hume telling Tiger Woods – on a news show, no less – that what he needed to do was renounce his Buddhist faith and embrace Christianity.  I wasn’t alone in feeling that A) if you want to consider yourself a legitimate news outlet, your Senior Political Analyst can’t proselytize, and B) it’s ignorant and insensitive to dismiss an entire religion in front of a Fox News audience whose knowledge of Buddhism extends exactly as far as the statuary at their favorite Chinese restaurant.

But, just like clockwork, rather than admitting it wasn’t his place to give religious advice to Tiger Woods, Hume went on The O’Reilly Factor last night to complain about how he’s the one being persecuted.

I try to be patient with this kind of stuff, but it irritates me on multiple levels.  The problem that I have with Brit Hume has nothing to do with the Christian faith and everything to do with Christians.  There’s a huge difference between the two, and to continue I’m going to have to ask people to forget for a moment that Tiger Woods is a philandering douchebag.  He is, I’m aware he is, but I’ve got bigger to fish to fry than a pro golfer who can’t keep it in his pants.

It’s so pompous and sanctimonious of Hume to talk down to Tiger – and by extension, all Buddhists – and claim that in times of strife, Christ is the only way to go.  I always thought Christians were supposed to be humble, but what we see time and again is this smug superiority, this sense that they, and only they, know how life is supposed to be lived, and anyone who hasn’t drunk their particular brand of Kool-Aid is automatically inferior.  I’ll say it again: I have no problem with Christianity as a belief system.  But too often its practitioners need to mind their own damn business.

The cries of persecution honestly baffle me.  The main problem seems to be a failure to recognize that criticism is not the same thing as persecution.  I’m not saying Brit Hume can’t be a Christian, can’t think Christianity is great, can’t practice his faith, can’t talk about it publicly, and can’t try to convert oodles of people on his own time.  That would be persecution.  What I’m saying (and what others have said) is that Tiger Woods’ religious faith is none of your business, and it’s supremely inappropriate to use your position as a news correspondent to talk seriously about religious conversion.  This isn’t religious persecution.  It’s honest criticism of your journalistic ethics.

To get a better idea of what I mean, imagine, if you will, that Tiger Woods was a Christian and The Today Show‘s Al Roker was a Muslim.  What do you think would happen (especially at Fox News) if Al did the weather report and then said, “I think the only way for Tiger to overcome his marital infidelities is to read the Qu’ran and convert to Islam”?  Fox would throw a shit fit about the liberal media, Christian fundamentalists across the country would burn Al in effigy, and all those people gathered outside the windows at 30 Rock each morning would bear picket signs.  And of course, on a professional level, Al would be dead wrong.

Tiger Woods has exactly one person to answer to, and that’s his wife.  Maybe his religious faith enters into that transaction, but that’s none of our business.  I believe, as I always have, that religious faith is a personal thing.  I talk about my religious skepticism on here, but I don’t for a second believe I’m necessarily right, or that I have all the answers.  I don’t even want to convince anyone to see things my way.  Christianity would be much more palatable to me if the Brit Humes of the world started to realize that you can live your faith and you can practice your faith, but as soon as you start to impose it on others, you’re a nuisance and a pompous twat.

*****

Current listening:

The Pogues – Just Look Them Straight in the Eye and Say … Pogue Mahone!! (2008)

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Intermission January 4, 2010

Posted by monty in news.
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Any time Fox News claims it’s a legitimate news channel, just remind yourself of this video:

Wholehearted Mess December 3, 2009

Posted by monty in news.
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So, here’s my question (as I take a break from grading portfolios):

Now that gay marriage has been outlawed in New York State, why aren’t all these Christian conservatives who say gay marriage would undermine the sanctity of the institution screaming for Tiger Woods’ head on a stick?  Or Steve Phillips’?  Or, better yet, how about Mark Sanford’s (R-SC)?  Or John Ensign’s (R-NV)?  Or Newt Gingrich’s (R-GA)?  Or David Vitter’s (R-LA)?

If the marriage between one man and one woman is so sacred – apparently so sacred that the joining of two men or two women would shake the institution to its very foundation – why aren’t more people angry when some douchebag politician or overpaid celebrity can’t keep it in his pants and cheats on his wife?  Why isn’t that a bigger threat to marriage?  Gays just want to have the right to be married.  It’s all these straight people who are purposefully, willfully, knowingly violating the contract into which they entered.

Someone please tell me how gay marriage is a bigger threat to marriage than straight people who get divorced.  This seems to be a (perhaps the) fundamental question, but none of the gay marriage opponents are ever able to answer it.

And, with that in mind, kudos to Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a candidate for Attorney General in Texas, for pointing out that that state’s 2005 gay marriage ban may have accidentally outlawed all marriages – even the “real” ones – in the state.  Leave it to Texas.

And on a related note, this just in from Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, speaking Wednesday at the Vatican:

“People are not born homosexual, they become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence. It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God… Transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

So, gays, tell me: Which “education issue” will you hold responsible for your homosexuality?  If I were gay, I’d blame algebra.

*****

Current listening:

Hum – Downward Is Heavenward (1997)