In the run-up to the Super Bowl (congrats, Saints), a controversy swirled around Tim Tebow and an ad he shot for Focus on the Family with his mother that was to be aired during the biggest night for television of the year. The ad, it was reported, would deal with abortion and would urge people to “choose life.”
An uproar quickly ensued, with NOW President Terry O’Neill calling on CBS to pull the ad and many others in sports media and the political world clucking their tongues at Tebow and his mother for supposedly sticking their noses where they didn’t belong. How dare they try to push their views on us during the Super Bowl!
Of course, all the hubbub came without anyone ever seeing the ad. When it finally aired, all I could think to myself was, “…Seriously? That was what all the fuss was about?” The ad contained no mention of abortion and was a fairly innocuous spot of Tebow and his mother saying how she “almost lost him.” At the end, you do see, “Choose life,” but is that really something to be offended about?
The Tebow critics now look rather foolish after the actual ad was viewed by America. Some are still stretching to find fault with the ad, like NOW’s O’Neill who was “blown away by the celebration of violence toward women.” This is apparently due to the fake tackle of Tebow’s mother by Tim, but wow, give me a break. NOW had nothing to say about the tackle of Betty White in the Snickers commercial or the many suggestive GoDaddy.com commercials.
The criticism and calls to pull the ad tell more about the critics than those who produced the ad in the first place. At its heart, the Tebow ad is actually pro-choice with the message to “choose life.” But the pro-choice crowd doesn’t like that choice to be broadcast or promoted in any form, and their intolerance and hatred toward those of another viewpoint was on full display during the ridiculous brouhaha over what amounted to nothing at all.
Whether you’re pro-choice or not, I would imagine that any sane human could see the harmless and genuine message Tim Tebow and his mother were trying to get across. And I would hope that they would recognize the disservice our national discourse receives when messages like these are shouted down and their messengers told to shut up and go away. It’s a painful reminder how low our political dialogue has gone and how easily many can jump the gun (on both sides of the political spectrum) anticipating what they fantasize will be coming down the pike.