Taming the Tiger

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or were recently abducted by aliens, chances are you’ve heard about Tiger Woods’ humiliating exposure as a serial adulterer and the resulting damage to his marriage and career.

The Woods scandal has filled the front pages and dominated the airwaves, inviting commentary from pundits from CNN to ESPN to TMZ.  While folks like Dennis Rodman and Hugh Hefner are speaking out in defense of the golfer―justifying his plight by blaming the pressure of fame or mocking the concept of marital fidelity―it’s clear to most people that Mr. Woods’ marital and professional crises are problems for which he bears sole and direct responsibility.  By any standard of measure, his actions have been outrageous and utterly unacceptable.  Undoubtedly, in the coming months Tiger will be looking for a way to restore his reputation and, perhaps, save his shattered marriage.

So how does one recover from all this?

Fox News Sunday panelist Brit Hume stunned many when he suggested on air that Tiger, a rumored adherent of Buddhism, should seek redemption and forgiveness through the Christian faith.  Well, if history is any measure, that’s good advice.  The Bible recounts many stories of individuals whose lives were corrupted by evil deeds but who found forgiveness and redemption through the grace and love of God.  King David was an adulterer and murderer, yet because he repented and sought the forgiveness of his Maker, he will forever be known as a man after God’s own heart.  The Apostle Paul was also an evildoer―the chief of sinners in his own estimation―yet he found forgiveness and redemption in the saving work of Jesus Christ.  And who can forget the Samaritan woman, a known adulteress and societal outcast, who went to the local well for a bucket of water only to have her transgressions washed away and soul restored by the Savior of mankind.

Love, forgiveness, and redemption―these are the central reasons why Christ died on the cross.  His death was, is, and will forever be adequate atonement for our sins.

Brit Hume, a believer in Christ, knows this well, and it is not wrong to suggest that the message of Christianity is one that Tiger Woods could benefit from embracing at this dark hour in his life.  Of course, no sooner had the word “Christianity” left his mouth than the media intellegensia pounced.  The Washington Post ‘s Tom Shale blasted Hume’s remarks as utterly inappropriate for a news show and suggested that his “dissing” of Buddhism calls for a public apology.

While Hume’s remarks were certainly unexpected compared to the commentary normally heard on the Sunday morning news show circuit, they were made as part of an editorial segment on a show that solicits the opinion of its panelists.  And truth be told, Buddhism does not offer the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by Christianity.  Buddhism is a non-theistic religion that might better be described as a school of philosophy; it does not speculate on the existence of God and certainly does not embrace the idea that man is connected to the Creator of the Universe through the person of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, for the purposes that Hume was discussing, he was accurate in his statement that Buddhism does not offer the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by Christianity.

But of course, this kind of theological certainty makes many uncomfortable.  While Shales was quick to acknowledge that Hume’s faith has done much to help him through some difficult times, he was clearly uncomfortable with a departure from the post-modern religious relativism that rules the day.  That Brit Hume has experienced the power of Christ in his own life and has suggested that a troubled young man facing the loss of his family and career might do the same makes no difference.

Regardless of what Shales or anyone else may think, Hume does not owe anyone an apology for his words.  While everyone else is busy speculating as to how Tiger might strategize his way back into the nation’s good graces, Brit Hume is one of the few willing to offer the beleaguered athlete an authentic path to restoration.  Tiger Woods is not a unique individual; he is no worse than the rest of us sinners.  But now that his private sins have been exposed for the whole world to see, it may indeed be the ideal time for him―as so many of us have done―to drop to his knees with humility and gratitude and ask his Heavenly Father for guidance and forgiveness.

Ken Connor

By

Ken Connor is the Chairman of the Center for a Just Society. An esteemed attorney, Connor is affiliated with the law firm of Marks, Balette, & Giessel, a firm nationally known for its successful representation of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.

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  • Joe DeVet

    I’ve been intrigued by the spectacle of atheists not simply being satisfied with their own non-belief but mounting–and funding–active “evangelistic” activities to recruit other atheists. What sort of impetus can a nonentity (non-belief in God) give to a person as a motivator for such enthusiasm?

    Maybe it’s all of a piece with the kind of ardor with which the commentators have attacked Brit Hume in this instance. Maybe it’s part of what some spiritual commentators have called “mankind’s search for no-God.”

    We hear of mankind’s search for God. But as C.S. Lewis noted, it’s fun to go on a “search for God.” It’s quite another experience to actually find Him. Whoa. What if God is really the king and judge who has actual expectations of us, whose love demands a response, ulitmately the fateful “yes” or “no” that we all must answer? It’s understandable if people are tempted to run away in fear from such a confrontation.

    Maybe this is the phenomenon we are seeing played out in the public discussion of Tiger. Let us pray for him and for the commentators.

    And then…we look into our own hearts to evaluate our own search for God, as well as our own search for no-God. Let us bravely and whole-heartedly bring this search to its rightful conclusion!

  • Terri Kimmel

    A couple of weeks ago our local (liberal) paper published a report from the Guttmacher Institute strongly suggesting that promiscuous sex among young adults has no lasting negative emotional impact. Of course that’s utter garbage. I wrote a letter to the editor, which thankfully was published, suggesting that we ask Elin Woods to corroborate the Institute’s conclusion. Maybe we could ask the Woods children about lasting emotional consequences too.

    The Guttmacher Institute is Planned Parenthood’s research appendage (poisonous tentacle). They’re more about spin than facts.

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