Not much of a defense

NOT MUCH OF A DEFENSE…. As a rule, I tend not to care too much about criticism from far-right blogs, but once in a great while, it’s worth taking note of what others are saying.

We talked yesterday about Fox News’ Brit Hume, who offered golfer Tiger Woods some on-air advice about the athlete’s future. As Hume argued, part of Woods’ problem is that he belongs to the wrong religion — Hume wants to see the golfer convert to Christianity, because it offers “forgiveness and redemption.” If Woods agreed to convert, Hume added, Woods would be able to make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

In light of my criticism of Hume, a blogger named Jim Hoft, at a site called “Gateway Pundit,” offered a defense of the Fox News personality.

According to democrats [sic] and liberals it is no longer acceptable to promote Christianity publicly….

It used to be that liberals didn’t want you to mention Christ in schools. Then they banned Christ from Christmas concerts and public squares. Now they are demanding that we not talk about Christianity in public.

Now, this is obviously pretty silly, though it does touch on the odd sense of victimization that many in the religious right embrace for motivation. It also reflects considerable confusion — Americans are still free to promote their faith; religious references have not been banned in public schools; Christmas concerts are still quite common; and no one is trying to prevent anyone from “talking about Christianity in public.” Believing that “The Secular/Progressive Man” is trying to keep Christian conservatives down may be good for right-wing fundraising, but it doesn’t make it true.

It’s also worth appreciating exactly what made Brit Hume’s remarks noteworthy. It’s not because he talked about Christianity in public; it’s because:

* It’s arrogant: Hume feels comfortable lecturing someone he doesn’t know about what religious beliefs he should embrace.

* It’s close-minded: Hume seems to think there’s something inadequate about Buddhism.

* It’s ridiculous: Hume may not realize it, but there have been quite a few high-profile Christians of late who’ve been caught up in damaging sex scandals.

* It’s unprofessional: Hume at least pretends to be a journalist at a network that at least pretends to be a credible news outlet. “Fox News Sunday” is not “The 700 Club,” and having a journalist proselytizing on the air during a “news” program is not even close to maintaining professional standards.