Parents, get your kids away from the TV…

It’s just not the Super Bowl without controversial advertising! But this year’s most talked-about ad is coming from an unlikely source: 

A national coalition of women’s groups called on CBS on Monday to scrap its plan to broadcast an ad during the Super Bowl featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, which critics say is likely to convey an anti-abortion message.

“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,” said Jehmu Greene, president of the New York-based Women’s Media Center.

Exactly. Super Bowl ads are supposed to be about beer and scantily clad women. Anything else is just un-American! The Tebow ad — which the NOW president called “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning” — sounds downright nefarious:

The ad – paid for by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family – is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow’s pregnancy in 1987 with a theme of “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.” 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, who went on to win the 2007 Heisman Trophy while helping his Florida team to two BCS championships. 

CBS sports columnist Gregg Doyel puts it all in perspective:

“If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year,” he wrote. “It’s not a day to discuss abortion. For it, against it, I don’t care what you are. On Super Sunday, I don’t care what I am. Feb. 7 is simply not the day to have that discussion.” 

All kidding aside, this is likely to become more of an issue in the future. Last year, NBC rejected CatholicVote.org’s mild “Life: Imagine the Potential” spot, but theirs wasn’t the first “advocacy ad” to be turned down: In 2004, CBS nixed a spot from the United Church of Christ welcoming homosexuals (which some pro-life viewers may have been glad of). It’s a knife that cuts both ways — and as this door is opened, it might become increasingly difficult to turn down ads from either side of the aisle.

Cries that potato-chip-shoveling football fans (and make no mistake, come February 7, I plan to be one of them) will have their delicate sensibilities offended by this Tebow ad are rich. Still, it seems likely that the debate over whether “advocacy” ads have a place during these kinds of events is just heating up.

 

Margaret Cabaniss

By

Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)
MENU