Video: Scarborough gives an “Amen!” to Hume

posted at 1:50 pm on January 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Why start an argument if you can’t stretch it out? Greg Hengler clips this vid from today’s Morning Joe, in which Scarborough manages to annoy everyone else on the panel by defending Brit Hume and his advice to Tiger Woods. Or is he?

I watched this a couple of times, and I couldn’t be sure whether Joe was actually defending Hume or doing a satire of a defense of Hume. He starts off by noting that there is nothing wrong with talking about the transformative power of faith, which is certainly true.  However, he drops that argument to start dropping non-sequiturs from “Amazing Grace” when his panelists attempt to debate whether Hume meant to argue that or suggest that only conversion to Christianity would keep Tiger Woods from philandering, which seems more like a bad satire of how the non-religious believe that Christians debate theology, philosophy, and politics.  The clear annoyance of the panel at this tactic suggests that Scarborough was sincere … which may be worse.

For a better example of how Christians debate, read The Anchoress’ take on the Hume testimony:

Should Hume have said what he did, on the air? I am a little ambivilent about it.

On one hand, as a Christian, I admire it; Hume put himself out there, as “a fool for Christ,” willing to face ridicule and scorn for his faith. On the other hand, I’m not comfortable with the venue. I don’t think I would like it if, for example, Christopher Hitchens suggested to Tiger, “don’t worry about it, there is no God, anyway,” or if some Muslim used a news broadcast to suggest that Woods should turn to Islam. As the writer at Americablog suggested, minding the salvation of Tiger Woods this is not Hume’s job as a newscaster.

It is his job as a Christian, however, and Hume might have done better, in a host of ways, by contacting Woods privately, and offering to pray for him (as he is likely already doing) and perhaps introducing Woods to the Good Shepherd, in the process.

I’m a bit ambivalent about it as well; Kevin McCullough and I debated yesterday on TEMS.  Normally, as The Anchoress notes, this kind of testimony and conversion would take place privately if it was directed at an individual, even one as public as Woods.  However, I see the moment as a fairly powerful opportunity for Hume to share his own personal journey as a Christian.  Whether or not that was appropriate to the venue would be Fox News’ call to make.  And as for the analog to Hitchens, I doubt that Hitch would be reluctant at all to make that kind of a statement on national TV, given the opportunity, regardless of the circumstances.

On the whole, I think I’d rather have Hume than Scarborough making the argument — but if Joe was being sincere, then good for him for defending Hume.


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This kind of quote makes me appreciate Hume’s comments all the more. Let’s have a public debate over Christianity and Buddishm. I will preach Jesus over any of the so called religious leaders (Buddah, Mohammed, Zoroaster) any day of the week. I am confident they will all be found wanting

wiseprince on January 5, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Debates about religion are interesting, usually enthusiastic, and ultimately never resolved. A good reason why the founders learned from Europe’s mistakes and included and anti-establishment clause in the the Constitution.

dedalus on January 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM

JetBoy on January 5, 2010 at 2:13 PM

cafeteria Catholic and not much of a Christian unless I read my bible incorrectly this morning.

Onager on January 5, 2010 at 3:26 PM

So you know Jetboy that well to cast such a stone?

CWforFreedom on January 5, 2010 at 3:33 PM

If only Hume had defended tiger. /

CWforFreedom on January 5, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Aside from the specific religious debate, I am most amazed that a journalist such as Hume (newspaper man, ABC correspondent for 23 years, etc.) has managed to survive in that business for so long. An outspoken Christian conservative that has been at the hub of broadcast journalism for the past three decades? Wow, unheard of for sure!

joedoe on January 5, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Freedom of speech – what freedom of speech!?!

Bill of what!?!

Liberty is dead – get over it already!!!

klickink.wordpress.com on January 5, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 3:26 PM

And as always the Moral Christian misses the point entirely.

I am not saying encouraging Abstinence until a person is able to responsibly engage in sex is a bad thing. Nor am I saying encouraging Teens to have sex is a Good thing.

I am making no judgements. Just saying, if you espouse a certain set of standards for behavior, it is expected that you follow them. And when you don’t follow them, you get condemned.

And some Conservative Christians espouse sexual purity. So when someone who self identifies as a Conservative Christian isn’t sexually pure, she gets labelled a hypocrite.

It’d be different if Conservative Christians held one Social Virtue as most important, Responsibility. Carrie Prejean wouldn’t have been shown as a ‘fraudulent’ Conservatice Christian.

But nope. You go the route that gets the movement bit in the butt. Hypocrisy is a sure way to political death.

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 3:48 PM

And as always the Moral Christian misses the point entirely.

I’m not a Moral Christian. That’s precisely my point actually, the one that you miss – intentionally I think.

Just saying, if you espouse a certain set of standards for behavior, it is expected that you follow them. And when you don’t follow them, you get condemned.

Except Christianity isn’t legalistic, not even in the slightest. People and churches have tried to force that onto it, but that doesn’t make them right. These standards are merely what Christians believe are helpful in life the same way fitness experts recommend drinking 8 glasses of water a day or getting regular exercise.

Do you consider fitness experts hypocrites if they fail to live up to their own standards and splurge and lay around a little?

Hypocrisy is a sure way to political death.

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 3:48 PM

So is your unearned holier than thou attitude.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Allapundit, this is respectfully for you, since I think you’ve said you are an atheist(?).

I am happy to see just a few men say that they believe in Christ: first, Tony Snow, then Brit Hume. And now, guess who, Joe Scarborough?!!!!

I would point out that for those who have never said (or meant) it, Joe quietly said, at first ‘…Grace…that saved a wretch like me,’ and then paused. It was only when Mika didn’t stop her mild harangue that he finished his song in as contpuntal a moment as when Archie Bunker purposefully sang God Bless America while Mike Stivik spouted communist rhetoric in All In The Family.

I liked it. And I think this is as fine an example as you can find that you can boast Bhuddism, Mohammedanismism, or Hinduism and not get the streaming disapproval that mentioning the name of Jesus Christ brings to you from non-Christians… because (it seems to me) only Jesus preached repentance before God from spiritual lawlessness for forgiveness from Him. And that seems to highly irritate all others. This is the true conflict in the world… and according to Christian theology, eventually everyone(!) will make this same confession in the face of God himself: some happy out of long-held ageement, and some sadly after the fact.

flicker on January 5, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Matthew 16:13-15

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Matthew16: 16-17

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

JellyToast on January 5, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Matthew 10:32-33

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

JellyToast on January 5, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Morning RINO is anything but sincere.

Just another faux-Repub who sold out to the socialists.

BlueStateBilly on January 5, 2010 at 4:45 PM

So Joe and Britt are essentially telling 350 Buddists that they are amoral. What’s to be offended at?

ronsfi on January 5, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 3:24 PM

If it’s offensive to tell Buddhist that they are wrong then as a Christian you should be prepared to offend. The truth is an offense but not a sin.

Jesus called certain pharisees who claimed to be children of Abraham to be children of the devil. I’m sure some were offended but sometimes you have to be prepared to offend for the sake of the truth

wiseprince on January 5, 2010 at 4:52 PM

dedalus on January 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Brit Hume is not the government. He is a pundit, a talking head. When other pundits say things like, “The government should provide single payer” it’s bad but it’s certainly not a government mandate. Neither was Hume’s statement a commandment to the American congress

wiseprince on January 5, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Brit Hume is not the government. He is a pundit, a talking head. When other pundits say things like, “The government should provide single payer” it’s bad but it’s certainly not a government mandate. Neither was Hume’s statement a commandment to the American congress

wiseprince on January 5, 2010 at 4:55 PM

As I said above, debates on religion are interesting. I’d like to have heard more from Brit on where Buddhism had failed Tiger rather than Tiger Buddhism.

dedalus on January 5, 2010 at 5:04 PM

I’d like to have heard more from Brit on where Buddhism had failed Tiger rather than Tiger Buddhism.

dedalus on January 5, 2010 at 5:04 PM

That’s an odd way to put it. I mean, can one really fail a religion or a philosophy? Aren’t they all about working towards something that you never quite complete?

But I do understand your overall point, and I wish we had more discussions like that on TV, not less.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Britt didn’t say that Buddists are amoral. Buddism by its very definition does not seek to impart actions but rather to give adherants a path to “enlightenment”. He said that Christianity works well for people who need forgivness and redemption. There is no insult to Buddism. Many of the eastern religions emphasize a path to a higher consciousness. Christianity is unique in that the Christian through faith or faith and works depending on sect can understand why and how they went wrong, what it did to their life, seek and obtain forgivness, and release guilt. The ultimate key to Christianity is the belief that God loves us individually regardless of our state of sin and wants us to love him by seeking to avoid sin. Brett is right in that when burdened by great sin, the Christian can find release. Other religions not so much maybe Judiasm but with a little less clarity. Also Christians are not hypocrits because they sin, they are human, and even in sin at least know they have done wrong which anti-Christians pride themselves in not knowing.

Haunches on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

These standards are merely what Christians believe are helpful in life the same way fitness experts recommend drinking 8 glasses of water a day or getting regular exercise.

Do you consider fitness experts hypocrites if they fail to live up to their own standards and splurge and lay around a little?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 4:09 PM

If only Conservative Christians actually talked Good Idea versus Bad Idea, were willing to allow protection from bad behavior and allow a less bad behavior to hopefully prevent a far worse behavior there’d have been no Piss Christ.

Legalism abounds in Conservative Christianity. The list of things Conservative Christians opposed is rooted in holding the Letter of the Law more important than the Intent of the Law.

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 5:22 PM

If only Conservative Christians actually talked Good Idea versus Bad Idea, were willing to allow protection from bad behavior and allow a less bad behavior to hopefully prevent a far worse behavior there’d have been no Piss Christ.

And if only you knew how to talk to individuals instead of groups. Maybe then you’d actually have a conversation.

But really, let’s not pretend the Piss Christ wouldn’t have happened anyway. It wasn’t trying to actually be edgy but to give off the appearance of edginess.

Legalism abounds in Conservative Christianity. The list of things Conservative Christians opposed is rooted in holding the Letter of the Law more important than the Intent of the Law.

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 5:22 PM

So you say, but who the hell are you? I’m not a Buddhist. Does that mean I get to label them to all hell?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Based on fairly regular viewing of that show, Joe was definitely sincere. He did it with humor, because he sort of had to given the group. I loves me some Mika, and she’s pretty fair-minded for a lib, but this is exactly the sort of thing that annoys her, and he doesn’t want to annoy her too much.

Urquhart on January 5, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Legalism abounds in Conservative Christianity. The list of things Conservative Christians opposed is rooted in holding the Letter of the Law more important than the Intent of the Law.

Like what?

And if you come up with something….what do they do about it? Beheadings? Shunning? Rape rooms? Character assassination like the left? Beatings? No, they pray and have mercy. I’m a convert to Catholicism–it suits me better because the remedies for sin are so much more obvious and there is a lot of room for human-ness but I admire the hell out of the stricter bible Christians eventhough I find their theology flawed. They have real conviction and if they fall off the wagon now and again I’m one to say climb back on and so is Jesus.

Haunches on January 5, 2010 at 5:35 PM

That’s an odd way to put it. I mean, can one really fail a religion or a philosophy? Aren’t they all about working towards something that you never quite complete?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Yeah the phrasing is a little awkward. I wanted the parallel structure. Akin to the Chesterton quote on Christianity, Buddhism wasn’t inadequate for Tiger rather Tiger was inadequate for Buddhism.

Brit posits that what Tiger needs is forgiveness, but before that Tiger needs to right his ways. Buddhism offers a lot of tools for that. Most religions do a sufficient job of teaching that there is something more important than immediate physical gratification.

dedalus on January 5, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Yeah the phrasing is a little awkward. I wanted the parallel structure.

It felt nice at first.

Most religions do a sufficient job of teaching that there is something more important than immediate physical gratification.

dedalus on January 5, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Agreed, but then I’m a little heretical (depending on who you ask). I think all religions present a pathway to God so long as people are open to a relationship with him. And if you’re not, then Christianity won’t help either.

I just pull a lot from “ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find…” and just believe that most people who follow any religion are likely seeking at the very least.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Who is that ugly broad next to Joe?

bill30097 on January 5, 2010 at 5:54 PM

What? I don’t get it. Putting aside the matters of faith and Joe Scarborough’s general sincerity… At no point in this clip does Scarborough look sincere at all. He’s monosyllabic for the most part, says “Amen” then proceeds to recite lyrics from hymns in an unserious tone.

Also nice pick up with Mark Sanford reference in the other post. It’s become such a cliche these days as a PR move turning up the faith when in times of crises. I think Chris Brown did similar after his troubles. I can only recall Christopher Reeves being staunch in his status as a non believer after his terrible accident.

PunditFight on January 5, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Who is that ugly broad next to Joe?

bill30097 on January 5, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Ugly? You have an interesting standard there.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 6:00 PM

One of Andrew Sullivan’s readers started off his letter posted on 05 Jan 2010 01:55 pm as such:

I realize you rarely get to travel in true “teabagger country” but here in rural Mississippi, there is an interesting phenomenon occurring that the Brit Hume brouhaha brings into clearer focus…

Don’t jump to conclusions there, I am sure Andrew Sullivan visits “teabagger country” far more than you give him credit for.

We just have to call him on it.

Mr. Joe on January 5, 2010 at 6:01 PM

An outspoken Christian conservative that has been at the hub of broadcast journalism for the past three decades

I think it’s because he never let his faith intrude on his job. He chose this moment to be an exception. He reached out to a man in trouble.

Non-believers cannot grasp where he’s coming from. Jesus saves not Brit, but Brit knows His Word always brings forth fruit so he put it out. Now he’ll stand back and let the Lord work His will.

rcl on January 5, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Haunches on January 5, 2010 at 5:35 PM

You talk like real Catholic. Thanks for coming to the Church.

Blacksmith8 on January 5, 2010 at 9:41 PM

It’s good to be public about your own faith (if you want to), and it’s good to have concern for another individual and to be willing to reach out – if you believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to redemption/salvation, or the best path, it makes sense to reach out to non-Christians, even if it might cause some offense, though you should obviously try to do it as tactfully and non-judgmentally as possible (Christians are called to always judge actions, but never judge people).

Where Brit went wrong was that it’s really not o.k. to publicly reaching out to a specific person about their religion. You should never make a public issue out of someone else’s faith, unless they bring it up first and want to discuss it.

RINO in Name Only on January 5, 2010 at 10:32 PM

On a panel of people spouting their opinions on numerous subjects, Hume started his statement about woods by saying,”I think,”. Here we are in America where even fake conservative bloggers don’t try to hide their anti-free speach opinions when it comes to Christianity. I think this country, and world for that matter, is so much farther down the tubes and close to a very dark period then any of us can even imagine. I haven’t seen any ed posts about the pervert safe schools czar lately. I guess pushing child pornography is covered by free speach.

peacenprosperity on January 6, 2010 at 1:15 PM

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