A few weeks ago, I reported in this blog about a proposed pro-life ad during the Super Bowl from Focus on the Family with Tim Tebow, homeschooled student who became a college football player and won the Heisman Trophy, with his mother discussing her difficult pregnancy when she was carrying him, a doctor’s recommendation that she get an abortion, and her choice to give life. It provoked some backlash from the pro-abortion crowd. Here is some follow up.
Follow up–Tebow to appear in Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad (Associated Press – 1/18/2010)
GAINESVILLE, FL – Former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother will appear in a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl next month.
The Christian group Focus on the Family says the Tebows will share a personal story on the theme "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life."
The group isn’t releasing details, but the commercial is likely to be a pro-life message chronicling Pam Tebow’s 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner has remained active in his family’s Christian ministry.
Thirty-second commercials during the Super Bowl sell for more than $2.5 million. But Focus on the Family President Jim Daly says all the funds for the ad came from a handful of "very generous and committed friends," and that no money from the group’s general fund was used.
More follow up on the Tebow ad
In an item entitled "Feminists blitz CBS over pro-life Super Bowl ad" on January 26, 2010, Chelsea Schilling of WorldNetDaily reported that college football star Tim Tebow is under attack by pro-abortion feminist groups after CBS agreed to air his 30-second Super Bowl ad celebrating life. Jehmu Greene, president of Women’s Media Center, demanded that CBS refuse to run the ad. "An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year – an event designed to bring Americans together regardless of background, faith, ideology or political affiliation," she said. Several other feminist groups are joining the effort to pressure CBS into pulling the commercial, including: the National Organization for Women, the Abortion Access Project, ACCESS/Women’s Health Rights Coalition, , Advocates for Youth, AlterNet, By Any Media Necessary, California Council of Churches IMPACT, CAMI project, Choice USA, Civil Liberties and Public Policy, Equality Now, Feminist Majority Foundation and Feminist Press. While the public has yet to see the ad or script., Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, declared that the ad is "not being respectful of other people’s lives." Tebow, the 22-year-old former University of Florida quarterback known for writing Bible verses under his eyes, said at a news conference, "Some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe, and I’m never shy about that, and I don’t feel like I’m preachy about it."
Then, in an item headlined "Taking the heat for pro-life Tebow ad" the Associated Press reported on 1/27/2010 that CBS continues to draw heat for its decision to allow a Super Bowl ad funded by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family with CBS saying that it has received numerous e-mails — critical and supportive — since a coalition of women’s groups began a protest campaign Monday against the ad. Thus, on January 27, 2010, the American Family Association sent an action alert saying that CBS has come under withering fire from the left for its decision to air this ad. Joy Behar of "The View" even said abortion would have been an appropriate choice for Mrs. Tebow since there was no way for Tim’s mom to know that he wouldn’t grow up to be a "rapist pedophile." President Tim Wildmon wrote, "The hypocrisy here is thick. Abortion proponents claim to be all about choice, but they are outraged over an ad that features a woman exercising her right to choose life for her baby son. CBS needs to hear from all of us who support the decision to air the Tebow ad." He suggested e-mailing CBS Chairman Les Moonves and CBS Entertainment President Nancy Tellem in support of their decision to air the Tebow Super Bowl ad, urging them to stand firm in the face of the angry voices of leftwing America. Thankfully, World Net Daily reports that CBS has stood by its decision to keep the commercial. We shall see.
Some further comments
On Friday, January 29, 2010, in an article entitled "Tebow Takes a Stand," Brent Bozell had some insightful comments about this situation. Here are some excerpts:
The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family plans to air a commercial featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will tell the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of "choice." Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.
It is an ultra-positive story celebrating life itself, a story of a mother who kept her baby, who became a famous football hero. And so-called "feminist" groups have exploded in fury, demanding CBS censor the ad.
The Women’s Media Center wrote a letter signed by an array of feminist organizations. They projected the ad would be "disastrous" for CBS, and it throws women "under the bus" and "endangers women’s health." They even suggested pro-life ads resulted in "escalated violence" against abortionists. "We sincerely hope you do not want CBS associated with this brand of un-American hate."
Words like these might make a scintilla of sense if Focus on the Family were running some kind of hardcore, negative ad with inflammatory abortion images. But that’s not the message, and they know it. The Tebow ad is not far removed from the positive pro-life ads run by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation during the Clinton years with the slogan "Life. What a beautiful choice."
Isn’t it a little strange to see people who present themselves as "pro-choice" get so upset when someone suggests their choice was to keep the baby? They can’t seem to make any mental allowance for people to promote making a pro-life choice in a permissive society. They sound silly when they proclaim they are groups united in "tolerance" — and then demand CBS should "immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family’s agenda."
It’s especially noteworthy when libertines demand something be removed from television before they’ve even seen it. I haven’t seen it either, but I will bet some serious money that millions of viewers at home will see the warm-hearted Tebow ad and ask in amazement, "What in the world was wrong with that?"
These hardcore leftists argue that CBS is clearly breaking with the usual pattern of refusing Super Bowl ads with political overtones, and point to their recent rejection of MoveOn.org ads. But one need only see these and their dark, vicious, angry, negative overtones to understand why CBS turned them down.
Moreover, CBS has invited the protesters here to buy their own commercial and balance out Focus on the Family. No takers. They just want the Christian message censored.
And it’s time we stop calling them "feminist" groups. Where are these advocates every year when CBS runs the sleazy Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? Where were they when Janet Jackson had her clothing ripped off on stage at the Super Bowl six years ago? Why don’t they protest the sleazy "Go Daddy" Super Bowl spots?
Feminists did not write letters of protest when the Parents Television Council found that CBS led the networks with 118 violent story lines on women over the last five years. Feminists never protested CBS objectifying women in sleazy sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men."
The worst part of this overwrought controversy is the mud thrown at Tim Tebow’s image before he plays a down of pro football. Advertising Age magazine is already going to experts who think this commercial will hurt his value as a celebrity endorser.
Chicago-based sports marketer John Rowady sneered at Tebow: "His promotion of his ‘belief system’ has built a perception throughout the league that he has a long way to mature from a business perspective, especially in the fast lane of the NFL."
Standing with your mother in an ad celebrating the choice of life makes Tebow "immature"? He should be considered radioactive, like he was now Tiger Woods or Michael Vick?
Making an ad like this ought to help advertisers see an endorser with character, not your stereotypical ego-addled, misbehaving professional athlete. It takes a maturity we’re not used to seeing from pro athletes when they’re a target of controversy. Tim Tebow has guts, not just on the football field, but in the game of life as well.