Pro-life ad at the Superbowl

CBS has agreed to air an Superbowl ad from Focus on the Family in which quarterback Tim Tebow’s mother talks about how she was advised to abort him. Pro-abortionists have been trying to pressure the network to not show the ad:

CBS Tuesday (Jan. 26) stood behind its decision to take a Super Bowl ad from Focus on the Family that has drawn fire from reproductive choice organizations. The network said it does not reject advocacy ads out of hand, and added that it would consider “responsibly produced ads from all groups” for the “few” remaining spots in the broadcast. . . .

That came in response to the announcement that the Women's Media Center, National Organization For Women and more than two dozen other groups have launched a campaign to pressure CBS into pulling a Super Bowl “pro-life” ad bought by Focus on the Family.

That campaign includes a letter it delivered to CBS today, according to a spokeswoman, and e-mails its members are sending today to CBS, the NFL, and advertisers in the game.

The letter calls on CBS to reject what the groups call an anti-choice ad that advances Focus on the Family's Agenda.

They argue that CBS has rejected advocacy ads in the past, including from PETA, MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ.

The spot in question is expected to feature Florida Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother talking about how she refused to have an abortion after she was advised to do so by doctors.

via CBS Stands Behind Acceptance Of Focus On Family Spot – 2010-01-26 19:13:13 | Broadcasting & Cable.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • CRB
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  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    If they don’t like the content they can always do what I do, change the channel. The pro-abortionists are running scared now. They are seeing the tide turn against them as they are losing the minds of our youth. Little did NOW realize that in destigmatizing teen pregnancy they would end up losing one of the chief reasons to abort.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    If they don’t like the content they can always do what I do, change the channel. The pro-abortionists are running scared now. They are seeing the tide turn against them as they are losing the minds of our youth. Little did NOW realize that in destigmatizing teen pregnancy they would end up losing one of the chief reasons to abort.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I hope CBS stands firm.

    But then I can’t help but wonder why they don’t feature a Down’s syndrome child with a cleft palate talking to his mother about how thankful she is that she did not abort when so advised.

    Tim Tebow is a fine young man, but Americans are famous for deifying the famous. “Focus” would seem to be pandering to this predispostition. So much for the theology of the cross.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I hope CBS stands firm.

    But then I can’t help but wonder why they don’t feature a Down’s syndrome child with a cleft palate talking to his mother about how thankful she is that she did not abort when so advised.

    Tim Tebow is a fine young man, but Americans are famous for deifying the famous. “Focus” would seem to be pandering to this predispostition. So much for the theology of the cross.

  • Anonymous

    Saddler’s comment is right.
    FOTF is about playing to the anxieties of the white middle class and exercising political power, so the existence and content of this ad is not surprising. But it would have been more powerful had it featured, as sadder says, a disabled child or even a child who grew up poor and non-white, and who today is unemployed or even in jail. But I suspect that many who say they oppose abortion still think it could be OK in cases of deformity or poverty.
    Abortion is not wrong because it deprives couch potatoes of watching good football players; it’s wrong becuase it takes lives, all of which have equal value.

  • Anonymous

    Saddler’s comment is right.
    FOTF is about playing to the anxieties of the white middle class and exercising political power, so the existence and content of this ad is not surprising. But it would have been more powerful had it featured, as sadder says, a disabled child or even a child who grew up poor and non-white, and who today is unemployed or even in jail. But I suspect that many who say they oppose abortion still think it could be OK in cases of deformity or poverty.
    Abortion is not wrong because it deprives couch potatoes of watching good football players; it’s wrong becuase it takes lives, all of which have equal value.

  • Bruce Gee

    I’m trying my best to reconcile “theology of the cross” with “SuperBowl”. Ain’t workin’. Focus on the Family would be stupid not to use Tim Tebow–who football fans actually know and will pay attention t0– and his mother to promote life. This is marketing, people. It would NOT have been “more powerful” to show someone else. I’ll look for the ad from the comfort of my couch.

  • Bruce Gee

    I’m trying my best to reconcile “theology of the cross” with “SuperBowl”. Ain’t workin’. Focus on the Family would be stupid not to use Tim Tebow–who football fans actually know and will pay attention t0– and his mother to promote life. This is marketing, people. It would NOT have been “more powerful” to show someone else. I’ll look for the ad from the comfort of my couch.

  • Anonymous

    Then’s what the point of ad? Beyond allowing Dobson to gloat about getting ‘liberal’ CBS to air it?

    Since 1973, hasn’t every woman, theoretically, been faced with whether to abort her child? And haven’t many women been advised to do so? Even football fans know that virtually every player today could have been aborted . So what makes Tebow special? [I'm not saying that Tebow's mother should not be in the ad, only that the ad with only her presents a distorted view.]

    If the ad wanted to make an effective pro-life statement, it would have shown a woman who had every reason to abort, but didn’t. A woman who lacked spousal support, lived in poverty, lacked family support, had to get maybe two minimum-wage jobs without health benefits, etc. Women under those circumstances who choose not to abort should be applauded. But they are not the kind of people we want to see in Super Bowl ads.

  • Anonymous

    Then’s what the point of ad? Beyond allowing Dobson to gloat about getting ‘liberal’ CBS to air it?

    Since 1973, hasn’t every woman, theoretically, been faced with whether to abort her child? And haven’t many women been advised to do so? Even football fans know that virtually every player today could have been aborted . So what makes Tebow special? [I'm not saying that Tebow's mother should not be in the ad, only that the ad with only her presents a distorted view.]

    If the ad wanted to make an effective pro-life statement, it would have shown a woman who had every reason to abort, but didn’t. A woman who lacked spousal support, lived in poverty, lacked family support, had to get maybe two minimum-wage jobs without health benefits, etc. Women under those circumstances who choose not to abort should be applauded. But they are not the kind of people we want to see in Super Bowl ads.

  • David T.

    I think we need to wait to see the ad before making the call. After all, it would not be the first time that a popular and talented person was called on “for such a time as this…”

  • David T.

    I think we need to wait to see the ad before making the call. After all, it would not be the first time that a popular and talented person was called on “for such a time as this…”

  • DonS

    I’m with Bruce on this one. It’s the biggest football game of the year, and you have one of the biggest college football stars of all time who is willing to stand for life. Why would you not use him, and try to grab the attention of 100,000,000 + million people for even 30 seconds about such an important issue?

  • DonS

    I’m with Bruce on this one. It’s the biggest football game of the year, and you have one of the biggest college football stars of all time who is willing to stand for life. Why would you not use him, and try to grab the attention of 100,000,000 + million people for even 30 seconds about such an important issue?

  • Anonymous

    Number 8 above:
    You rightly, if inadvertently, pointed out what’s wrong with the ad: the football player “is willing to stand for life.”
    What’s he got to do with his mother’s decision to not abort him? It’s his mother who stood for life, and her reward, according to the ad, was a handsome son who’s likely to make tens of millions of dollars in the NFL. This is all backwards.
    Women in the ghetto who don’t abort their children stand for life too. Maybe Tebow could share some of his millions with them and with their children. If so, he’d deserve a lot of credit. I wouldn’t mind seeing an ad for that, either.

  • Anonymous

    Number 8 above:
    You rightly, if inadvertently, pointed out what’s wrong with the ad: the football player “is willing to stand for life.”
    What’s he got to do with his mother’s decision to not abort him? It’s his mother who stood for life, and her reward, according to the ad, was a handsome son who’s likely to make tens of millions of dollars in the NFL. This is all backwards.
    Women in the ghetto who don’t abort their children stand for life too. Maybe Tebow could share some of his millions with them and with their children. If so, he’d deserve a lot of credit. I wouldn’t mind seeing an ad for that, either.

  • Jonathan

    Maybe they ought to use President Obama and his mother as an example of a prolife decision. He is a doting son who recounts all that his single mom and her family had to do to raise him. What if she had chosen abortion?

  • Jonathan

    Maybe they ought to use President Obama and his mother as an example of a prolife decision. He is a doting son who recounts all that his single mom and her family had to do to raise him. What if she had chosen abortion?

  • DonS

    Anon @ 9: It seems as if you have a problem with Tim Tebow. “What’s he got to do with his mother’s decision to not abort him?” Um, everything. He owes his existence to her decision, and he certainly has every right to affirm her choice and to encourage other moms to make a similar one. I have not seen the ad, so I can’t speak to your conclusion as to what the message of the ad is. You, apparently, have seen it, so perhaps you can post a link. I would be surprised if the message of the ad were what you are claiming it is, though I guess the message can be perceived differently, depending upon the bias of the viewer.

    As for Tebow’s “millions”, he is the son of missionaries. The NFL draft is not until April. At least let him begin to earn those millions before you tell him how to spend them.

  • DonS

    Anon @ 9: It seems as if you have a problem with Tim Tebow. “What’s he got to do with his mother’s decision to not abort him?” Um, everything. He owes his existence to her decision, and he certainly has every right to affirm her choice and to encourage other moms to make a similar one. I have not seen the ad, so I can’t speak to your conclusion as to what the message of the ad is. You, apparently, have seen it, so perhaps you can post a link. I would be surprised if the message of the ad were what you are claiming it is, though I guess the message can be perceived differently, depending upon the bias of the viewer.

    As for Tebow’s “millions”, he is the son of missionaries. The NFL draft is not until April. At least let him begin to earn those millions before you tell him how to spend them.

  • Anonymous

    Number 11.
    You thoroughly missed my point.
    But it was telling to observe your hostility to my suggestion that he (a white man) spend a fraction of his money to help women (usually non white) in inner cities who, like his mother, have chosen life, but under more oppressive circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    Number 11.
    You thoroughly missed my point.
    But it was telling to observe your hostility to my suggestion that he (a white man) spend a fraction of his money to help women (usually non white) in inner cities who, like his mother, have chosen life, but under more oppressive circumstances.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So CBS is going to run a pro-life ad, and yet has previously rejected ads from PETA, MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ. Oh, that liberal media!

    And Saddler (@3) is right as well. As Bruce notes (@5), “This is marketing, people” — that is, it’s not actually sharing the Gospel (never mind that the message is almost certainly going to be pure Law, anyhow: be a good person, like this woman, and your son could grow up to be a good person, like this football player). And that’s why trying to confuse anything like the Gospel with marketing ends up seemingly like only marketing.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So CBS is going to run a pro-life ad, and yet has previously rejected ads from PETA, MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ. Oh, that liberal media!

    And Saddler (@3) is right as well. As Bruce notes (@5), “This is marketing, people” — that is, it’s not actually sharing the Gospel (never mind that the message is almost certainly going to be pure Law, anyhow: be a good person, like this woman, and your son could grow up to be a good person, like this football player). And that’s why trying to confuse anything like the Gospel with marketing ends up seemingly like only marketing.

  • DonS

    I’m sorry, Anon, what was your point, then?

    My hostility? I merely mentioned that he hasn’t yet earned any money, so wouldn’t it be a bit silly to run an ad talking about how he was giving it away. And what the heck does race have to do with it? When are we going to get past looking at everything in racial terms?

    Now, if you want to talk about the racist motivations of many of those who support abortion rights, and the disproportionately high rates of abortion in lower income minority communities, I’m all ears. THAT is a serious problem.

  • DonS

    I’m sorry, Anon, what was your point, then?

    My hostility? I merely mentioned that he hasn’t yet earned any money, so wouldn’t it be a bit silly to run an ad talking about how he was giving it away. And what the heck does race have to do with it? When are we going to get past looking at everything in racial terms?

    Now, if you want to talk about the racist motivations of many of those who support abortion rights, and the disproportionately high rates of abortion in lower income minority communities, I’m all ears. THAT is a serious problem.

  • DonS

    Just to clarify tODD’s point, while Focus is a Christian organization, their ministry is to promote the interests of and assist families and family values in our society. At times they preach the Gospel in the course of their ministry, but I doubt very much that the point or purpose of this ad is to do that. Nor will it likely be a presentation of the law. I suspect that it will simply be a 30 second reminder that a decision to abort is a decision to snuff out a life, and all its potential, and to at least consider that decision seriously before having that abortion.

    So, the question is, what’s wrong with that? Why in heck would it be engendering such controversy, even before the ad has run?

  • DonS

    Just to clarify tODD’s point, while Focus is a Christian organization, their ministry is to promote the interests of and assist families and family values in our society. At times they preach the Gospel in the course of their ministry, but I doubt very much that the point or purpose of this ad is to do that. Nor will it likely be a presentation of the law. I suspect that it will simply be a 30 second reminder that a decision to abort is a decision to snuff out a life, and all its potential, and to at least consider that decision seriously before having that abortion.

    So, the question is, what’s wrong with that? Why in heck would it be engendering such controversy, even before the ad has run?

  • Stephanie

    Anonymous at #12:

    I seldom watch football and then only if it is my alma mater playing. (Florida, BTW, is *not* my alma mater.) I have no plans to watch the Superbowl which, based on this news story, I assume is coming up soon. However, even *I* am aware that Tebow does donate his time. IIRC he has visited The Phillipines several times (where I am sure he came into contact with non-whites) and has spoken in prisons.

    You don’t have to like him. But being in this ad in no way suggests that he doesn’t support life for all – the rich, the poor, whites, non-whites, US citizens, people in other countries, etc. Given his extensive volunteer work and his openess about his faith, I suspect he already tithes on his limited student income and I have no reason to believe he would not continue to do so if he starts making millions as a pro player. However, all that being said, it really is none of our business what he does with his money.

    Could another pro-life ad have been made? Sure. But that doesn’t mean this one is wrong or bad. I haven’t seen it and likely won’t. But if we’re going to reject any ad or pro-life statement that doesn’t fit with our own personal wishes, well, we might as well not even try because we’ll never get everyone to agree.

  • Stephanie

    Anonymous at #12:

    I seldom watch football and then only if it is my alma mater playing. (Florida, BTW, is *not* my alma mater.) I have no plans to watch the Superbowl which, based on this news story, I assume is coming up soon. However, even *I* am aware that Tebow does donate his time. IIRC he has visited The Phillipines several times (where I am sure he came into contact with non-whites) and has spoken in prisons.

    You don’t have to like him. But being in this ad in no way suggests that he doesn’t support life for all – the rich, the poor, whites, non-whites, US citizens, people in other countries, etc. Given his extensive volunteer work and his openess about his faith, I suspect he already tithes on his limited student income and I have no reason to believe he would not continue to do so if he starts making millions as a pro player. However, all that being said, it really is none of our business what he does with his money.

    Could another pro-life ad have been made? Sure. But that doesn’t mean this one is wrong or bad. I haven’t seen it and likely won’t. But if we’re going to reject any ad or pro-life statement that doesn’t fit with our own personal wishes, well, we might as well not even try because we’ll never get everyone to agree.

  • Matt

    A former religious right leader noted not long ago that in the ’80s conservatives learned how to raise money by scaring people about, for example, the ACLU. And groups like the ACLU did the same, warning their members about conservatives. Both sides fed off each other, as millions of people sent in their money.
    I think that the pro choice groups would be better off being silent, strategically. But Dobson no doubt will use this as a great coup for himself; he’ll describe all the obstacles Satan put in the path of his ad, as he tells his listeners to keep that money coming in. Sorry, but, as others have said, this is marketing. And that’s life.

  • Matt

    A former religious right leader noted not long ago that in the ’80s conservatives learned how to raise money by scaring people about, for example, the ACLU. And groups like the ACLU did the same, warning their members about conservatives. Both sides fed off each other, as millions of people sent in their money.
    I think that the pro choice groups would be better off being silent, strategically. But Dobson no doubt will use this as a great coup for himself; he’ll describe all the obstacles Satan put in the path of his ad, as he tells his listeners to keep that money coming in. Sorry, but, as others have said, this is marketing. And that’s life.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@15), what exactly do you think the Law is when you say, “Nor will it likely be a presentation of the law,” and then go on to speculate, as I did, that it will tell people (or at least suggest to them) that abortion is wrong?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@15), what exactly do you think the Law is when you say, “Nor will it likely be a presentation of the law,” and then go on to speculate, as I did, that it will tell people (or at least suggest to them) that abortion is wrong?

  • Anonymous

    Number 12
    You’re the 2d person to say I don’t like Tebow, a man about whom I know next to nothing. For the record, I do not dislike him. My point, which seems to not get through, is that celebrity children of women who chose not to abort them make, in my view, odd subjects of ads for ‘life.’ The mothers who chose not to abort them are the ones who chose life. But Tebow, son of missionaries, apparently strikes a chord with many, and thus I now see his appeal to a guy like Dobson.

    As for number 14 (“Now, if you want to talk about the racist motivations of many of those who support abortion rights, and the disproportionately high rates of abortion in lower income minority communities, I’m all ears. THAT is a serious problem.”) I largely agree with you, though I don’t know first hand about the racist motivations of many who support the pro choice side. I am aware of them on the part of many on the pro life side.

  • Anonymous

    Number 12
    You’re the 2d person to say I don’t like Tebow, a man about whom I know next to nothing. For the record, I do not dislike him. My point, which seems to not get through, is that celebrity children of women who chose not to abort them make, in my view, odd subjects of ads for ‘life.’ The mothers who chose not to abort them are the ones who chose life. But Tebow, son of missionaries, apparently strikes a chord with many, and thus I now see his appeal to a guy like Dobson.

    As for number 14 (“Now, if you want to talk about the racist motivations of many of those who support abortion rights, and the disproportionately high rates of abortion in lower income minority communities, I’m all ears. THAT is a serious problem.”) I largely agree with you, though I don’t know first hand about the racist motivations of many who support the pro choice side. I am aware of them on the part of many on the pro life side.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 18: Oh, yeah, I forgot. Everything’s the law to Lutherans. What I meant by that is I doubt that it will be a judgmental ad, or even say that abortion is wrong. It will just affirm that making a decision not to abort allows a God-created life to go on and achieve whatever potential God has intended for it, using Tebow as an example.

    But, of course, we can all talk about this a lot more intelligently next week, after we have seen the ad.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 18: Oh, yeah, I forgot. Everything’s the law to Lutherans. What I meant by that is I doubt that it will be a judgmental ad, or even say that abortion is wrong. It will just affirm that making a decision not to abort allows a God-created life to go on and achieve whatever potential God has intended for it, using Tebow as an example.

    But, of course, we can all talk about this a lot more intelligently next week, after we have seen the ad.

  • DonS

    Anon @ 19: You should read about Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and the eugenics movement.

    As for racism on the pro-life side, I’m sure it exists, as it does to some degree throughout society. But, your statement “I don’t know first hand about the racist motivations of many who support the pro choice side. I am aware of them on the part of many on the pro life side” intrigues me, because I am not aware of pro-lifers having racist motivations, nor have I heard anyone, even on the pro-choice side make that accusation previously. Explain, if you would. In general, I think it is the opposite. By supporting limitations on or elimination of abortion, you are disproportionately assisting minority communities, because they tend to be the ones with much higher abortion rates.

  • DonS

    Anon @ 19: You should read about Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and the eugenics movement.

    As for racism on the pro-life side, I’m sure it exists, as it does to some degree throughout society. But, your statement “I don’t know first hand about the racist motivations of many who support the pro choice side. I am aware of them on the part of many on the pro life side” intrigues me, because I am not aware of pro-lifers having racist motivations, nor have I heard anyone, even on the pro-choice side make that accusation previously. Explain, if you would. In general, I think it is the opposite. By supporting limitations on or elimination of abortion, you are disproportionately assisting minority communities, because they tend to be the ones with much higher abortion rates.

  • Joe

    Yeah – I am gonna wait till I see the ad before I pass judgment on it. But never fear – I will judge it then.

  • Joe

    Yeah – I am gonna wait till I see the ad before I pass judgment on it. But never fear – I will judge it then.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephanie (@16) inadvertently shows the problems of Christians trying to use celebrity testimonials: they put the focus on the celebrity, on man, and in the process undermine any Christian message (which would necessarily focus on Christ).

    Compare her points about Tebow (and even if the ad itself does not play up what a “good man” he is, it certainly will levy his fame for being a successful athlete) to what Paul says about boasting (Philippians 3:1-11, 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10).

    I suppose one could hope that this commercial will engender a national discussion, but I don’t see that the discussion will actually do anything. Will it tell people about Christ? No. But I guess that’s not Focus on the Family’s … focus. Will it give women pause to think? Maybe. Will it give them the right reason to choose life, as it were? Probably not, but I guess we’ll have to see.

    Don (@20), not “everything” is Law. Just the stuff that’s not Gospel. And if it’s neither Law nor Gospel, then what makes you think it’s from God?

    And of course it’ll be judgmental. You can’t tell people how to be good without judging the people that choose to be bad in the process. Consider an ad that shows a skinny woman saying, “I ate right, and I lost 50 pounds!” How does a fat woman watching that, who does not eat right, feel when she sees it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephanie (@16) inadvertently shows the problems of Christians trying to use celebrity testimonials: they put the focus on the celebrity, on man, and in the process undermine any Christian message (which would necessarily focus on Christ).

    Compare her points about Tebow (and even if the ad itself does not play up what a “good man” he is, it certainly will levy his fame for being a successful athlete) to what Paul says about boasting (Philippians 3:1-11, 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10).

    I suppose one could hope that this commercial will engender a national discussion, but I don’t see that the discussion will actually do anything. Will it tell people about Christ? No. But I guess that’s not Focus on the Family’s … focus. Will it give women pause to think? Maybe. Will it give them the right reason to choose life, as it were? Probably not, but I guess we’ll have to see.

    Don (@20), not “everything” is Law. Just the stuff that’s not Gospel. And if it’s neither Law nor Gospel, then what makes you think it’s from God?

    And of course it’ll be judgmental. You can’t tell people how to be good without judging the people that choose to be bad in the process. Consider an ad that shows a skinny woman saying, “I ate right, and I lost 50 pounds!” How does a fat woman watching that, who does not eat right, feel when she sees it?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 23: So your point seems to be that it is wrong for an organization rooted in Christian values ever to promote a secular message. Maybe the point of the ad is to “engender a national discussion”, and maybe the point is just to make an impression on viewers who may be considering the life or death decision of abortion — at least have them pause and think about their baby as a human being and not just an inconvenience to be dispensed with. What exactly, pray tell, is the “wrong” reason to choose life, as opposed to the “right” reason? I’m struggling with that one.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 23: So your point seems to be that it is wrong for an organization rooted in Christian values ever to promote a secular message. Maybe the point of the ad is to “engender a national discussion”, and maybe the point is just to make an impression on viewers who may be considering the life or death decision of abortion — at least have them pause and think about their baby as a human being and not just an inconvenience to be dispensed with. What exactly, pray tell, is the “wrong” reason to choose life, as opposed to the “right” reason? I’m struggling with that one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@24), it’s not a question of whether it’s “wrong”. It’s a question of what message it sends. I can’t remember the last time this “organization rooted in Christian values” actually said anything Christian. These “values” aren’t explicitly Christian whatsoever. They’re just morals. And when all you promote are morals — protect life, protect family — what message are you sending about Christianity? Most of my unbelieving friends are passingly familiar with Focus on the Family, and they think of it as a Christian organization. Pity.

    “What exactly, pray tell, is the ‘wrong’ reason to choose life, as opposed to the ‘right’ reason? I’m struggling with that one.” Really? Because I hope you’re just not thinking too hard. One can undertake any number of outwardly moral actions for wrong reasons. In this case, the main “wrong” reason to choose life is because you think you have to, because you think it’ll make you a better person, because you think it makes you more deserving of God’s love, even. That’s the wrong reason to do anything. But, again, there’s an additional subtext here: if you choose life, perhaps you’ll get a famous athlete for a son! And hey, if things don’t work out and you get a disabled, poor, or misbehaving child, oh well, better luck next time! But you could be a winner!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@24), it’s not a question of whether it’s “wrong”. It’s a question of what message it sends. I can’t remember the last time this “organization rooted in Christian values” actually said anything Christian. These “values” aren’t explicitly Christian whatsoever. They’re just morals. And when all you promote are morals — protect life, protect family — what message are you sending about Christianity? Most of my unbelieving friends are passingly familiar with Focus on the Family, and they think of it as a Christian organization. Pity.

    “What exactly, pray tell, is the ‘wrong’ reason to choose life, as opposed to the ‘right’ reason? I’m struggling with that one.” Really? Because I hope you’re just not thinking too hard. One can undertake any number of outwardly moral actions for wrong reasons. In this case, the main “wrong” reason to choose life is because you think you have to, because you think it’ll make you a better person, because you think it makes you more deserving of God’s love, even. That’s the wrong reason to do anything. But, again, there’s an additional subtext here: if you choose life, perhaps you’ll get a famous athlete for a son! And hey, if things don’t work out and you get a disabled, poor, or misbehaving child, oh well, better luck next time! But you could be a winner!

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25:

    Wow, where to start?

    It’s pretty clear that you are not very familiar with Focus on the Family. It says plenty that is explicitly Christian, but is also sees its mission as promoting family values even for those who are not Christ-followers. It certainly does not JUST promote morals. But it does seem to have a viewpoint that even those who reject Christ benefit by adopting traditional values in raising their families, and that society and our culture benefits as well. You may disagree with that approach, but that’s what makes America great. I guess you are free to develop your own ministry in accordance with what you believe is God’s calling on YOUR life.

    Sure, I know that people often make decisions for the wrong reason. But, firstly, it is not for us to judge the motivations of others. That’s God’s job. Secondly, the point I was trying to make is that choosing life is ALWAYS the right choice, even if it is done for the “wrong” reason. And God often affirms our choices, whatever their initial motivation, and draws us to Himself so that ultimately we are doing things for the right reason.

    I’m pretty sure that Focus is not sending the message that if you choose life, your child will grow up to be a famous athlete. I’m positive that they are not saying “better luck next time” if you receive a disabled child. It’s difficult to see how you could twist a positive message affirming life, just because it’s given by an attractive person, into having a sinister subtext that the disabled are not deserving of life. I would say that anyone who perceives the message that way is the one with the problem.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25:

    Wow, where to start?

    It’s pretty clear that you are not very familiar with Focus on the Family. It says plenty that is explicitly Christian, but is also sees its mission as promoting family values even for those who are not Christ-followers. It certainly does not JUST promote morals. But it does seem to have a viewpoint that even those who reject Christ benefit by adopting traditional values in raising their families, and that society and our culture benefits as well. You may disagree with that approach, but that’s what makes America great. I guess you are free to develop your own ministry in accordance with what you believe is God’s calling on YOUR life.

    Sure, I know that people often make decisions for the wrong reason. But, firstly, it is not for us to judge the motivations of others. That’s God’s job. Secondly, the point I was trying to make is that choosing life is ALWAYS the right choice, even if it is done for the “wrong” reason. And God often affirms our choices, whatever their initial motivation, and draws us to Himself so that ultimately we are doing things for the right reason.

    I’m pretty sure that Focus is not sending the message that if you choose life, your child will grow up to be a famous athlete. I’m positive that they are not saying “better luck next time” if you receive a disabled child. It’s difficult to see how you could twist a positive message affirming life, just because it’s given by an attractive person, into having a sinister subtext that the disabled are not deserving of life. I would say that anyone who perceives the message that way is the one with the problem.

  • WebMonk

    I’m puzzled by Anonymous’ statement that an ad of a person who had lots of reasons to abort her baby (poverty, health, etc) and yet didn’t is more powerful than this ad.

    That sort of is the story being told. Tebow’s mother was horribly ill from some sort of amoeba, in a coma, the drugs used to wake herto treat her dysentery caused some nasty effects that threatened both the lives of the baby and mother. The doctors, expecting a still birth and ,worried about her life, urged her to have an abortion. She refused. She and her both came through fine.

    Is that not the exact message you think they ought to be promoting? I don’t get why you think this story isn’t as powerful as a mother choosing life in spite of severe challenges. That’s exactly what this story is!!

    What am I missing?

  • WebMonk

    I’m puzzled by Anonymous’ statement that an ad of a person who had lots of reasons to abort her baby (poverty, health, etc) and yet didn’t is more powerful than this ad.

    That sort of is the story being told. Tebow’s mother was horribly ill from some sort of amoeba, in a coma, the drugs used to wake herto treat her dysentery caused some nasty effects that threatened both the lives of the baby and mother. The doctors, expecting a still birth and ,worried about her life, urged her to have an abortion. She refused. She and her both came through fine.

    Is that not the exact message you think they ought to be promoting? I don’t get why you think this story isn’t as powerful as a mother choosing life in spite of severe challenges. That’s exactly what this story is!!

    What am I missing?

  • WebMonk

    tODD, I have to agree with DonS on this one, at least in part. Anyone who grabs the ideas that you mentioned in the bottom of comment 25 has some major issues. If someone who has that twisted of a view, twists the ad so that they think it promotes what you mentioned, the problem is completely with that viewer, not the ad.

    With a half-billion people watching, chances are good that there will probably be a few people who actually do pull out the message you mention. Heck, you could show a meaningless 5 second clip of a bunny nibbling grass in a field and you will still have people pull weird stuff out of it. The problem isn’t with the ad, it’s with the people.

    As for the rest of the Law argument, I’m not even going to bother. You Lutherans have way too many screwy ideas about that for me to insert myself into one of those arguments!
    :-D

  • WebMonk

    tODD, I have to agree with DonS on this one, at least in part. Anyone who grabs the ideas that you mentioned in the bottom of comment 25 has some major issues. If someone who has that twisted of a view, twists the ad so that they think it promotes what you mentioned, the problem is completely with that viewer, not the ad.

    With a half-billion people watching, chances are good that there will probably be a few people who actually do pull out the message you mention. Heck, you could show a meaningless 5 second clip of a bunny nibbling grass in a field and you will still have people pull weird stuff out of it. The problem isn’t with the ad, it’s with the people.

    As for the rest of the Law argument, I’m not even going to bother. You Lutherans have way too many screwy ideas about that for me to insert myself into one of those arguments!
    :-D

  • Jonathan

    tODD’s view @25 reminds me of something I’ve long wondered about: why is there no difference between the Mormon church and the Christian right wing? It’s all about limited government, ‘family values,’ etc., never about anything overtly Christian. Shouldn’t believing the gospel cause Christians to see things in society even mildly differently from a nonChristian?

  • Jonathan

    tODD’s view @25 reminds me of something I’ve long wondered about: why is there no difference between the Mormon church and the Christian right wing? It’s all about limited government, ‘family values,’ etc., never about anything overtly Christian. Shouldn’t believing the gospel cause Christians to see things in society even mildly differently from a nonChristian?

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 29:

    Because two people having fundamentally different faiths have some things in common doesn’t mean there is NO difference between them. That’s quite a leap you’ve made, which is why you might be perplexed by your question. Of course, there are huge differences between traditional Christians and Mormons, rooted in the Mormons’ decision to accept the Book of Mormon and other extra-canonical writings and edicts as controlling documents shaping their faith. Similarly, there are huge differences between orthodox Jews and Christians, as well as Catholics and evangelical Christians. However, does this mean that they should never work together concerning those things which they have in common, such as the issue of life?

    I’m not sure I’ve observed people working on entirely political issues like that of limited government under the explicit banner of their faith. To be sure, those having a conservative or libertarian political philosophy include Mormons, evangelical Christians, Catholics, orthodox Jews, and others, but their commonality is their politics, not their faith.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 29:

    Because two people having fundamentally different faiths have some things in common doesn’t mean there is NO difference between them. That’s quite a leap you’ve made, which is why you might be perplexed by your question. Of course, there are huge differences between traditional Christians and Mormons, rooted in the Mormons’ decision to accept the Book of Mormon and other extra-canonical writings and edicts as controlling documents shaping their faith. Similarly, there are huge differences between orthodox Jews and Christians, as well as Catholics and evangelical Christians. However, does this mean that they should never work together concerning those things which they have in common, such as the issue of life?

    I’m not sure I’ve observed people working on entirely political issues like that of limited government under the explicit banner of their faith. To be sure, those having a conservative or libertarian political philosophy include Mormons, evangelical Christians, Catholics, orthodox Jews, and others, but their commonality is their politics, not their faith.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@26), you told me, “It’s pretty clear that you are not very familiar with Focus on the Family. It says plenty that is explicitly Christian.” I’ll admit to not having researched much of what they say (beyond what makes the news cycle), but I don’t think it’s my fault that they don’t seem to use their advertising buys, political influence, and spokesperson time to push Christian statements. If you’d like, I can ask my unbeliever friends or coworkers what they think FotF is about, and I’m pretty sure that, while they might mention “Christianity”, they won’t mention concepts like forgiveness or grace.

    “It’s difficult to see how you could twist a positive message affirming life, just because it’s given by an attractive person …” Now hold on. This commercial doesn’t just happen to feature a famous athlete (I cannot comment on how attractive he is; I have no idea). It intentionally features a successful athlete. Just like the CatholicVote video (@1) that didn’t get aired last year didn’t just happen to feature President Obama. There’s a reason ads like these always feature people who are attractive, powerful, famous, etc. If you can show me a pro-life ad that features people in miserable conditions, people who are poor, who are sick, who are stupid, who are horrible, sinful — if you can show me an ad that uses people like that to tell me that life is valuable, then you’d have a case.

    But I never see ads like that. Now why do you think that is?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@26), you told me, “It’s pretty clear that you are not very familiar with Focus on the Family. It says plenty that is explicitly Christian.” I’ll admit to not having researched much of what they say (beyond what makes the news cycle), but I don’t think it’s my fault that they don’t seem to use their advertising buys, political influence, and spokesperson time to push Christian statements. If you’d like, I can ask my unbeliever friends or coworkers what they think FotF is about, and I’m pretty sure that, while they might mention “Christianity”, they won’t mention concepts like forgiveness or grace.

    “It’s difficult to see how you could twist a positive message affirming life, just because it’s given by an attractive person …” Now hold on. This commercial doesn’t just happen to feature a famous athlete (I cannot comment on how attractive he is; I have no idea). It intentionally features a successful athlete. Just like the CatholicVote video (@1) that didn’t get aired last year didn’t just happen to feature President Obama. There’s a reason ads like these always feature people who are attractive, powerful, famous, etc. If you can show me a pro-life ad that features people in miserable conditions, people who are poor, who are sick, who are stupid, who are horrible, sinful — if you can show me an ad that uses people like that to tell me that life is valuable, then you’d have a case.

    But I never see ads like that. Now why do you think that is?

  • moallen

    Law is to act as a curb. I hope this ad does act as a curb and more children and parents come to have happier lives as a result of this curb. A doctor acted as a curb when my mother was pregnant with me and contemplating abortion. I am glad – and I had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ crucified for my sins and know the mercy of God. The law has a place in society as does the gospel – without a doctor that stood against abortion, I would not have been here to hear the Word of forgiveness through Christ and believe.

  • moallen

    Law is to act as a curb. I hope this ad does act as a curb and more children and parents come to have happier lives as a result of this curb. A doctor acted as a curb when my mother was pregnant with me and contemplating abortion. I am glad – and I had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ crucified for my sins and know the mercy of God. The law has a place in society as does the gospel – without a doctor that stood against abortion, I would not have been here to hear the Word of forgiveness through Christ and believe.

  • moallen

    I work in the advertising industry as a producer on commercials, corporate videos, and websites. I think tODD’s complaints could be expanded to include all of advertising. However there have been pro-life ads that feature an abortion survivor named Gianna Jessen. She suffers from Cerebral Palsy – although she is attractive… does one cancel out the other or does she meet the qualifications of a disadvantaged downtrodden person speaking out for life? She did have an attempt on her life – look her up on Youtube or google.

  • moallen

    I work in the advertising industry as a producer on commercials, corporate videos, and websites. I think tODD’s complaints could be expanded to include all of advertising. However there have been pro-life ads that feature an abortion survivor named Gianna Jessen. She suffers from Cerebral Palsy – although she is attractive… does one cancel out the other or does she meet the qualifications of a disadvantaged downtrodden person speaking out for life? She did have an attempt on her life – look her up on Youtube or google.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 31: OK, thank you. I am not a Focus apologist, but it was pretty clear to me that you didn’t know much about them or their ministry by the comments you were making. Needless to say, the secular media doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate portrait of them or their ministry in context, so if those are the source of your opinions, take them with a grain of salt, to say the least. I do know many nonbelieving friends and acquaintances who have read Dobson books, listened to their secular radio broadcasts, etc., and have a very favorable impression of what they stand for and what they do. I know some who have ultimately become Christians through exposure to the ministry and books. But I think Focus would say that it is not their job to do P.R., by making ad buys or influencing politicians to promote Focus for the sake of Focus, and that doing so would be poor stewardship. They have a clear idea of what God has called them to do, and they will use the resources God gives them to do those things He has called them to, understanding that we who are Christ-followers will often be hated by the world.

    As for your other point, I don’t get it. As Webmonk says above, apparently the Tebows have a powerful pro-life story to tell. Focus has chosen to have a famous football player tell that story during a football game, presumably because it will draw the most attention to the message. If you think there is a better way to express the message, do it. I guess I don’t see why it is all the fault of Focus that you “never see ads like that”. It’s the fault of those who think there SHOULD be ads like that, but haven’t lifted a finger to put them on the air. I guess that would be you and Anon, wouldn’t it?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 31: OK, thank you. I am not a Focus apologist, but it was pretty clear to me that you didn’t know much about them or their ministry by the comments you were making. Needless to say, the secular media doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate portrait of them or their ministry in context, so if those are the source of your opinions, take them with a grain of salt, to say the least. I do know many nonbelieving friends and acquaintances who have read Dobson books, listened to their secular radio broadcasts, etc., and have a very favorable impression of what they stand for and what they do. I know some who have ultimately become Christians through exposure to the ministry and books. But I think Focus would say that it is not their job to do P.R., by making ad buys or influencing politicians to promote Focus for the sake of Focus, and that doing so would be poor stewardship. They have a clear idea of what God has called them to do, and they will use the resources God gives them to do those things He has called them to, understanding that we who are Christ-followers will often be hated by the world.

    As for your other point, I don’t get it. As Webmonk says above, apparently the Tebows have a powerful pro-life story to tell. Focus has chosen to have a famous football player tell that story during a football game, presumably because it will draw the most attention to the message. If you think there is a better way to express the message, do it. I guess I don’t see why it is all the fault of Focus that you “never see ads like that”. It’s the fault of those who think there SHOULD be ads like that, but haven’t lifted a finger to put them on the air. I guess that would be you and Anon, wouldn’t it?

  • Wyldeirishman

    Well, if this 30-second spot is going to pass judgment (albeit in a back-door kind of way) by stating that choosing life is th eway to go (thereby implying that choosing abortion is choosing death, and, therefore, the wrong choice), does it truly matter from whence it comes?

    And since when is it wrong to display someone (a spokesman or woman) who’s lost weight by diet, exercise, and whatever little metabolic wonder of a pill, juxtaposed with their “before” photo? Have we truly become so spinally gelatinous that no one can dare say that a thing (or a state of being) is healthier, stronger, or better than another?

    There’s a word for that sort of “thinking,” but propriety (and filters) prevent its use here. Just as well.

    Nowhere are we told NOT to judge. Does that sound radical or unloving? Or does it simply echo the words of Christ, who admonishes us to “stop judging by mere outward appearances and make a correct judgment.”?

    Either it’s judgmental to state that life is better than death, or it’s not.

    You choose.

  • Wyldeirishman

    Well, if this 30-second spot is going to pass judgment (albeit in a back-door kind of way) by stating that choosing life is th eway to go (thereby implying that choosing abortion is choosing death, and, therefore, the wrong choice), does it truly matter from whence it comes?

    And since when is it wrong to display someone (a spokesman or woman) who’s lost weight by diet, exercise, and whatever little metabolic wonder of a pill, juxtaposed with their “before” photo? Have we truly become so spinally gelatinous that no one can dare say that a thing (or a state of being) is healthier, stronger, or better than another?

    There’s a word for that sort of “thinking,” but propriety (and filters) prevent its use here. Just as well.

    Nowhere are we told NOT to judge. Does that sound radical or unloving? Or does it simply echo the words of Christ, who admonishes us to “stop judging by mere outward appearances and make a correct judgment.”?

    Either it’s judgmental to state that life is better than death, or it’s not.

    You choose.

  • John C

    If the nation’s attention can be drawn to Focus on the Family’s position on homosexuality and intelligent design , then the add may achieve more than it intended.

  • John C

    If the nation’s attention can be drawn to Focus on the Family’s position on homosexuality and intelligent design , then the add may achieve more than it intended.

  • DonS

    John C: First, I’m not sure why an ad on pro-life values would draw attention to homosexuality and intelligent design. Second, I believe that Focus’ positions on those issues are conventionally biblical, so I’m not sure what you’re driving at.

  • DonS

    John C: First, I’m not sure why an ad on pro-life values would draw attention to homosexuality and intelligent design. Second, I believe that Focus’ positions on those issues are conventionally biblical, so I’m not sure what you’re driving at.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Bruce,

    I may be misapplying the theology of the Cross here, but I can’t seem to ignore the way we glorify celebrity. Athletes, TV anchors, politicians, CEOs become celebrities sometimes at the expense of their true vocation. All this glorification seems to fly in the face of humility and service. Having said that, perhaps Tebow is properly using his inevitable celebrity status to serve others, namely the unborn.

    I reiterate that I hope CBS stands firm. If a small handful of children are saved the executioner, that is a good thing indeed. I look forward to seeing the game and the ad, for I am an American who bathes daily in the pop culture that is utterly fallen.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Bruce,

    I may be misapplying the theology of the Cross here, but I can’t seem to ignore the way we glorify celebrity. Athletes, TV anchors, politicians, CEOs become celebrities sometimes at the expense of their true vocation. All this glorification seems to fly in the face of humility and service. Having said that, perhaps Tebow is properly using his inevitable celebrity status to serve others, namely the unborn.

    I reiterate that I hope CBS stands firm. If a small handful of children are saved the executioner, that is a good thing indeed. I look forward to seeing the game and the ad, for I am an American who bathes daily in the pop culture that is utterly fallen.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    I think it is a great (but inadvertent) example of Christians engaging the culture from a two kingdoms perspective. Most of the viewers of this ad will not be swayed by the use of scripture or theology, but may be swayed by an example provided by someone they like and respect. The purpose of the ad is to get people to consider options other than abortion and thereby reduce the numbers of abortions. The purpose IS NOT to evangelize or provide a solid philosophical foundation for opposing abortion.

    A thirty second ad featuring one of the most popular and skilled young sports personalities in the world during the most watched sporting event in the world urging people to reconsider their pro abortion positions = a win by any measurable standard.

    Also a brilliant move by FOTF whether you agree with them or not.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    I think it is a great (but inadvertent) example of Christians engaging the culture from a two kingdoms perspective. Most of the viewers of this ad will not be swayed by the use of scripture or theology, but may be swayed by an example provided by someone they like and respect. The purpose of the ad is to get people to consider options other than abortion and thereby reduce the numbers of abortions. The purpose IS NOT to evangelize or provide a solid philosophical foundation for opposing abortion.

    A thirty second ad featuring one of the most popular and skilled young sports personalities in the world during the most watched sporting event in the world urging people to reconsider their pro abortion positions = a win by any measurable standard.

    Also a brilliant move by FOTF whether you agree with them or not.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    An addendum to my previous comment. Advertising works, whether we like that fact or not. (Hence the billion dollar industry.) Even crappy ads sell millions of dollars worth of stuff and shape our attitudes and choices in a lot of areas. Probably because we are more sheep like than any of us is comfortable admitting, but nevertheless it is an effective way to disseminate your ideas. Good on FTOTF. This one ad will probably do more for the pro life cause and prevent more abortions in 30 seconds than any of us reading this blog have done in our entire lives.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    An addendum to my previous comment. Advertising works, whether we like that fact or not. (Hence the billion dollar industry.) Even crappy ads sell millions of dollars worth of stuff and shape our attitudes and choices in a lot of areas. Probably because we are more sheep like than any of us is comfortable admitting, but nevertheless it is an effective way to disseminate your ideas. Good on FTOTF. This one ad will probably do more for the pro life cause and prevent more abortions in 30 seconds than any of us reading this blog have done in our entire lives.

  • Carl Vehse

    The domestic genocidal terrorist group, NOW, is demanding that CBS yank the pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow…

    … or else?!?

  • Carl Vehse

    The domestic genocidal terrorist group, NOW, is demanding that CBS yank the pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow…

    … or else?!?

  • Wyldeirishman

    Or else they’ll support the killing of people who disagree with them?

    Whoops. Too late on that score.

  • Wyldeirishman

    Or else they’ll support the killing of people who disagree with them?

    Whoops. Too late on that score.


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