The first rule of dinner-table conversation is no hot talk about politics or religion. Apparently, there's a rule regarding the discussion of religion during political talk shows, too.
On "Fox News Sunday" on Jan. 3, the panelists had advanced to that light part of the discussion where they focusing on movies and crime novelists. Venerated newsman Brit Hume turned to sports, and predicted Tiger Woods would return to success as a golfer. But if he really wanted to recover as a person, Hume suggested, he should consider Christianity. Woods is a Buddhist, he said, but Christianity offered the forgiveness and redemption that could really make Woods a powerful role model for faith and recovery.
Ka-boom. Oh, what a reaction erupted. Some in the secular elite acted like Hume had set the national house on fire and broken all the fine china. Some TV talk show hosts quite seriously compared Hume's comments to those of "Islamic extremists" waging a "holy war."
Asked about this reaction, Hume told CNSNews.com he was "not surprised" by the backlash and accused the media of having a "double standard" when it comes to religion: "If I had said, for example, that what Tiger Woods needed to do was become more deeply engaged in his Buddhist faith or adopt the ideas of Hinduism, which I think would be of great spiritual value to him, I doubt anybody would have said anything."
No one in the secular media is supposed to assert his religion is true, or that his is best, or even that his faith can heal a father, marriage and family. These suddenly manners-conscious secularists insist that religion be a "very private matter," and by that they mean something neither seen nor heard, and for G-'s sakes, it's something you certainly don't put on national television. "I think it's been true for a long time in many cultures," said Hume, "It is certainly true in secular America today that the most controversial two words you can ever utter in a public space are 'Jesus Christ.'"
They want to build a very high brick wall, with barbed wire on top, separating church and TV studio.
The sudden arrival of these punctilious Emily Posts of religious discussion is strangest because Christianity is so routinely and thoroughly mocked and denigrated across our news and entertainment outlets without an ounce of concern for offending the average Christian. Hume's chat is intolerable, yet "South Park" or "Family Guy" can put Christianity through a shredder, and they are cheered for their "irreverence."