Michael Gerson has an excellent piece in the Washington Post taking the talking heads to task for their Brit Hume derangement syndrome.
Yes, Brit said that Tiger Woods should convert to Christianity. Yes, Brit said that Buddhism doesn’t offer the kind of forgiveness inherent in the Christian faith. No, there was nothing wrong with any of that.
True tolerance consists in engaging deep disagreements respectfully — through persuasion — not in banning certain categories of argument and belief from public debate.
In this controversy, we are presented with two models of discourse. Hume, in an angry sea of loss and tragedy — his son’s death in 1998 — found a life preserver in faith. He offered that life preserver to another drowning man. Whatever your view of Hume’s beliefs, he could have no motive other than concern for Woods himself.
The other model has come from critics such as [the Post‘s Tom] Shales, in a spittle-flinging rage at the mention of religion in public, comparing Hume to “Mary Poppins on the joys of a tidy room, or Ron Popeil on the glories of some amazing potato peeler.” Shales, of course, is engaged in proselytism of his own — for a secular fundamentalism that trivializes and banishes all other faiths. He distributes the sacrament of the sneer.
Who in this picture is more intolerant?
The giant pink elephant in the room is that had Hume suggested Tiger convert to any religion besides Christianity, we wouldn’t be having this discussion today. To the contrary, liberals would hail Hume as remarkably sensitive. It is the Christian faith — and uniquely the Christian faith — that elicits the rage of secularists in America.