A few notable atheists are commenting on the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad at the On Faith blog.
Richard Dawkins makes me squirm with the start of his piece, but it gets better if you read the rest of it:
I gather that Tim Tebow is extremely good at football. That’s just as well, for he certainly isn’t very good at thinking. Perhaps the fact that he was home schooled by missionary parents is to blame.
The sperm that conceived Tim Tebow was part of an ejaculate of (at an average estimate) 40 million. If any one of them had won the race to Mrs Tebow’s ovum instead of the one that did, Tim would not have been born, somebody else would. Probably not such a good quarterback but — we can but hope — a better logician, who might have survived the home schooling and broken free. That is not the point. The point is that every single one of us is lucky to be alive against hyper-astronomical odds. Tim Tebow owes his existence not just to his mother’s refusal to have an abortion. He owes his existence to the fact that his parents had intercourse precisely when they did, not a minute sooner or later…
Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America, focuses on the unfair-and-unbalanced nature of CBS’ decision and lets Tebow off the hook for the ad:
… if CBS allows the Focus ad, it should allow controversial ads with opposing messages. Perhaps Super Bowl commercials will evolve from arguments about “Tastes great! No, less filling!” to “Jesus is Lord! No, Jesus is myth!” I’ve participated in debates on the latter topic, but there’s a time and place for such discussions. The Super Bowl is neither the time nor the place.
I can’t blame Tim Tebow, an athlete who wears his religion on his sleeve, or, more accurately, on his face. Evangelical parents raised him, and he believes he’s obliged to use his fame to spread his beliefs. I don’t think the NCAA, or a public institution like the University of Florida, should have allowed him to play football with Jesus eye patches along with inscribed biblical verse numbers.
Elisabeth Cornwell is the Executive Director of the U.S. branch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and alerts readers to the misleading argument Focus on the Family will be making but doesn’t necessarily think social issues should be forbidden from being advertised:
The Focus on the Family anti-choice ad that will appear during this Sunday’s Super Bowl will not be based on a reasoned discussion of the issues surrounding abortion, rather it will be an emotional appeal meant to equate a fetus with a fully-grown Heisman-trophy winner. We shall be manipulated to imagine a mother killing her beloved son Tim Tebow sometime in early 1987. It is the standard anti-choice sucker punch, and I regard it as utterly misguided if not actively dishonest.
… Honestly, if an environmental group could gather enough steam to host a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl to raise awareness of global warming, I’d be PayPaling my way to help fund it and cheering them on.
Author Susan Jacoby thinks the ad won’t have much of an impact at all:
That said, I don’t think the Super Bowl audience is likely to be enthralled by an anti-choice ad. I can’t imagine a worse background for thinking about or debating any serious social or moral issue. I wonder if CBS would have accepted an ad, paid for by the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Medical Association, about the higher incidence of early Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders among ex-football players who have sustained concussions? Oh, bummer. Pass the wings and salsa.
I still haven’t seen the ad in question — has anyone? — and I’m starting to wonder if this may be getting blown out of proportion when the ad may not make any splash at all.