On Jan. 3rd Evan Hurst wrote about FOX anchor Brit Hume’s on-air proselytizing, where he condemned Tiger Woods’ current faith and urged him to become a Christian. On the air Hume said:

“He’ said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith…Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery.”

This week, Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly came to Hume’s defense, writing on his blog:

“I found Brit’ comments not only remarkable, but remarkably refreshing…I’d like to tip my hat to Brit for so openly exhibiting such a sincere spirit of personal conviction on a national stage. In his courage lies a lesson for all of us. When it comes to telling others about Jesus Christ, the words of the late Canadian writer/clergyman, Basil King, ring true: ‘Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.’”

I have no problem with Daly saying he believes that his religion is great and that he is pleased with his theological choices. But, let’s not pretend that fundamentalism is a panacea and magically wipes away all that ills. Let us remind Mr. Daly:

  • Mike Trout, a 15 years co-host of “Focus on the Family” with Dr. James Dobson, abruptly resigned from his position in 2000 as senior vice president of broadcasting for the popular ministry organization. He did so after an affair.
  • John Paulk, Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out ministry leader, was photographed by me in 2000 inside a Washington, DC gay bar.
  • Right down the street from Focus on the Family is the church where Ted Haggard used to preach.

So please, let’s get real. If Tiger Woods was a fundamentalist, there is no evidence that it would have diminished the likelihood of his womanizing. By greatly exaggerating the promise of this faith, Daly is setting up his followers for disappointment and disillusionment. While religious conversion has made some people better human beings, it does not erase the fact they are still human and suffer the same failings after their “born again” experience.

Unlike those at Focus on the Family, Tiger Woods never set himself up as a great religious icon or moral leader. He was simply a great athlete who appeared to live a wholesome life and capitalized off this facade. But, again, he was not a preacher and never scolded people who did not live the image he projected.

Woods’ religious beliefs should remain private and social conservatives should drop this offensive conversation and learn to mind their own business. If they are happy and secure in their own faith, they would have no need to convert Tiger Woods or insult his current belief system.