Tebow didn’t win, but his bible verse still scored on TV

Maybe things didn’t turn out Saturday the way Tim Tebow might have hoped.

But the gang at Focus on the Family used the big game to run the ad below — which, imho, is a winner.

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UPDATE: Melinda Henneberger in the Washington Post is less impressed:

Though not exactly a Benetton commercial – I think I spied one black girl in the crowd at the end – was there anything wrong with a pitch that verbally, anyway, underscores the message that God loves us all? Sure there was; some of my friends on social media were appalled, saying that if they wanted “that garbage” they knew where to look, thanks.

My own, initially positive, reaction was followed by queasiness of a different sort. Were we Christians really hawking Jesus alongside Cialis now? (If you have an epiphany lasting more than four hours…) Not, as anyone who’s ever visited a holy site can tell you, that the commoditizing of faith is anything new. And in following Jesus’s directive that we spread the Word, televised pitches are nowhere near the most extreme measures we have tried.

On Twitter, I asked whether those who were offended by the ad would have minded as much if they hadn’t known that the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family had sponsored it.

“If I were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, yes,’’ tweeted back my ‘She the People’ colleague (and Tim Tebow fan) Sandra Fish. “So I am.”  Others said it wasn’t the cute kiddies they minded, but the unstated, not-cute Focus on the Family opposition to gay marriage.


  1. Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 20:26:03 -0500 (EST)

    Pam’s Story

    In a recent email, I read about a woman named Pam, who knows the pain of considering abortion. More than 24 years ago, she and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child.

    Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink. She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant.

    Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn’t think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue.

    While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, we’ll name him Timothy and we’ll make him a preacher.

    Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pam’s youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits, and serves with his father’s ministry in the Philippines.

    He also plays football. Pam’s son is Tim Tebow.

    The University of Florida ’s star quarterback became the first sophomore in history to win college football’s highest award, the Heisman Trophy. His current role as quarterback of the Denver Broncos has provided an incredible platform for Christian witness. As a result, he is being called The Mile-High Messiah.

    Tim’s notoriety and the family’s inspiring story have given Pam numerous opportunities to speak on behalf of women’s centers across the country. Pam Tebow believes that every little baby you save matters. I pray her tribe will increase!

    May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!

  2. Henry Karlson says:

    “As a result, he is being called The Mile-High Messiah.”

    Well, there you have it folks.

  3. Sigh. It’s like we’re living in a pagan society like Japan, instead of a Christian society. In our society, the only people who should be coming up with names like “The X Messiah” are authors writing horror novels about the Book of Revelation, or atheists mocking the faithful. Whereas the Japanese fling around important terms like this whenever they feel like, because they don’t know better.

  4. I feel that I have to say that his life would have been an incredible platform for Christian witness even if he was born disabled without the ability to be a star professional quaterback.

  5. As the message at the end of the commercial says, “Wow!” This was so awesome!

  6. Like anything – there are people just waiting for opportunities to feel miffed and offended. I see REAL garbage on TV every day – some of it offends me but I rise above it and focus on other things. One has to wonder why a Christian message feels so offensive to some people? If they truly didn’t believe it had any merit, and truly felt it was garbage – they would shake it off and think no more of it. That it ends up being tweeted about, and falls in the pages of newspapers – makes me wonder if these messages are pricking a little at some consciences and consciousnesses? Ultimately, I think that is a positive thing.

  7. ron chandonia says:

    What might offend some people is the “not-cute Focus on the Family opposition to gay marriage”? Is it possible that a loving God might not want us to do whatever we please or have whatever our hearts desire? That possibility is what seems to bother the Tebow (and Focus on the Family) critics most of all.

  8. Any parent would be proud to call this young man their son. ESPN had a wonderful story on Tebow http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7455943/believing-tim-tebow

  9. A lot of research has indicated that car ads don’t sell cars, at least not directly. What car ads do is affirm a buyer’s choice after the purchase. This ad seems similar. I’m reminded of the many Mormon ads showing Mormons as happy and supportive families. I really don’t think they do anything other than affirm the choir. With the Mormon ads you saw a similar division, although I think the side that saw them as patronizing was a little larger. In fairness, telling anyone who or what god to worship is going to be seen as patronizing by those not supportive.

  10. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    “The Mile High Messiah”? Ugh.
    Nothing against Tim Tebow in that ugh — it is meant for people who call themselves Christians endorsing that stupid title.

    I bet Tebow wouldn’t like it. There is only one messiah. Tebow is just a man who plays football and lives out his life of faith without apology. And that’s all.

    For crying out loud!

  11. I agree, Elizabeth!


  1. [...] Religious Blogs who mentioned Tim Tebow this week, and are very good reads are Deacon’s Bench and WDTPRS. Deacon Greg and Fr Z write some really good stuff on there. This entry was posted [...]

  2. [...] of superficially shallow hypersensitivity.  You’ve got to love the hypocrisy.H/T to Deacon Greg.Share [...]

  3. [...] to be livelier and more interesting than this.What do you think?UPDATE Deacon Greg mentions the Focus on the Family’s pitch for Jesus during the Bronco’s game: Greg quotes the WaPo’s Melinda Henneberger who wrote of it in [...]

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