During the 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster claimed that Fox News political analyst Brit Hume "denigrated Christianity" when suggesting that scandal-ridden golfer Tiger Woods convert to the faith.
Shuster made the comments while discussing the issue with MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, asking: "Doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show? This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show....Doesn’t that minimize the significance of Christianity, when you bring a discussion of Christianity into a conversation about politics?"
Buchanan replied: "He’s not denigrating Christianity....A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong." Shuster pressed him: "And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?" Buchanan shot back: "What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?" Shuster sarcastically responded: "I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity....This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’"
Shuster’s fellow anchor, Tamron Hall, not only attacked Hume, but Christianity as well as she remarked to Buchanan: "Pat, do we need to run down the list, just in the past year, of so-called Christian politicians who’ve been accused, or in many case flat-out had to admit because they were backed up against the wall, that they had affairs and other discretions?....is it just not good advice to do something like this, whether you’re Brit Hume or anyone, to hide behind a religion that certainly can be thrown right back at you."
Shuster later concluded the discussion by proclaiming: "...people turn to TV to get informed opinions about politics and not uninformed opinions about religion." Hall added: "David, we can skip church for the next two months after that segment."
Here is a transcript of the exchange:
SHUSTER: That comment has prompted a firestorm of criticism. And here to discuss the latest remarkable turn in our nation’s discussion about Tiger Woods, Pat Buchanan is an MSNBC political analyst, two time former candidate for president. Pat, is it ever, ever a wise idea for a political analyst to essentially anoint themselves somebody’s spiritual adviser, denigrate that person’s religion, and do so on a Sunday political talk show?
PAT BUCHANAN: Well, I’m a – consider myself a friend of Brit Hume and I think he was being candid and honest. And I don’t know what the Buddhist religion is, but there’s no doubt that Christianity is a religion of mercy and forgiveness and it’s conditional, of course, upon people altering their life and being sorry for what they’ve done. And I’m not a spiritual adviser to Tiger Woods, but-
SHUSTER: But would you ever volunteer that without being asked, I mean, it just seems-
BUCHANAN: No, well, it’s not done, quite frankly, religion in that terms isn’t really discussed. But I don’t – I’m not bothered by Brit Hume doing that. I think he means well, I just heard that for the first time, basically, I’ve read the transcript, and he was just sort of giving some kind of personal – his personal thoughts on it. I don’t really have a problem with Brit doing that, quite frankly.
TAMRON HALL: Pat, do we need to run down the list, just in the past year, of so-called Christian politicians who’ve been accused, or in many case flat-out had to admit because they were backed up against the wall, that they had affairs and other discretions? I mean, to the heart of what David is saying, if this is just about religion, all are flawed. Isn’t that what the Christian Bible says?
BUCHANAN: Well sure, all are flawed and all have failings, there’s no doubt about it. And I don’t think Brit was saying-
HALL: ‘And Judge not lest ye be judged.’ I mean, I can roll them all down, but is it just not good advice to do something like this, whether you’re Brit Hume or anyone, to hide behind a religion that certainly can be thrown right back at you.
BUCHANAN: Well first – well, I don’t think he was saying hide behind it. And I don’t think he was saying all Christians are not flawed and no Christian sins. I think what he was saying is religion is a – I mean, Christianity is a religion of mercy and forgiveness but it is not unconditional, things are required-
SHUSTER: But Pat, he was denigrating Buddhism in the process. And people who are Buddhist say that’s simply not true. I mean, look, here’s a statement from somebody who’s a Buddhist-
BUCHANAN: There are not a lot of Buddhists watching Fox, maybe.
SHUSTER: Right, well that may be true, but here’s the reaction from one of the Buddhist bloggers today. ‘Could Hume get away with saying something like this about Jewish people or the Muslim faith? You betcha he couldn’t. Why should he be able to skate away Scott free when speaking about Buddhists?’
BUCHANAN: I don’t agree. Let me say, suppose you said certain things about the Muslim faith and saying that it tends to be, in a lot of areas, very intolerant of other Christ – of other religions. And it does. I don’t know the Buddhist faith, as I said, but I think this is Brit Hume’s view of it. I don’t know if he’s right or wrong about it. The Shinto religion’s a little tough on guys that had their failings, as you know, in Japan, in places like that.
SHUSTER: But why volunteer this? Why go there? Why – I mean, look, we all respect Brit’s view, the faith works for him, it work’s for you, my faith works for me. But why go on a political show and anoint yourself the adviser to a celebrity in trouble and say ‘my faith is the right one, his is a failure for him’?
BUCHANAN: Because I think that’s his view. And do we really want political correctness or do you want Brit Hume to tell, when you ask him, what he thinks?
SHUSTER: Right, but-
BUCHANAN: He doesn’t think Buddhism-
SHUSTER: But doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show. This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show.
BUCHANAN: He’s not denigrating Christianity. He’s saying it’s a religion-
SHUSTER: By talking about it on a Sunday political talk show. Doesn’t that minimize the significance of Christianity, when you bring a discussion of Christianity into a conversation about politics?
BUCHANAN: A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong.
SHUSTER: And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?
SHUSTER: Wow. Okay.
BUCHANAN: What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?
BUCHANAN: Because of a comment-
SHUSTER: I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity. My Christian friends have said as much, that it diminishes the discussion of Christianity and faith when you have a conversation out-of-the-blue on a political talk show. This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’