Progressive groups and others are criticizing Tim Tebow's forthcoming appearance in an anti-aboriton ad during the Super Bowl. Tim Tebow will appear in a 30 second ad that will reflect on Pam Tebow's choice to give birth to Tim despite doctors suggesting she abort the pregnancy while becoming ill on a mission trip. The ad will be funded by Focus on the Family - a conservative Christian organization known as a vocal voice against gay marriage and legalized abortion. Responding to questions about the ad, Tebow stated,
"Some people won't agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe and I'm never shy about that."
Women's rights groups have criticized the ad, stating the Super Bowl venue should not be used to draw attention to such a controversial and divisive issue. The Women's Media Center protested the funding and support role of Focus on the Family is problematic and troubling, calling the group an anti-equality, anti-choice, and homophobic organization. Criticism has not been silent from the sports world either as some CBS columnists questioned whether the Super Bowl was an appropriate venue for such an ad.
Whether a political ad such a divisive issue should air during the Super Bowl is certainly a legitimate question. Other politically motivated groups have been denied air time during the Super Bowl. In the past, NBC and CBS have denied PETA and MoveOn.org airtime during the Super Bowl to avoid incendiary political issues.
Beyond the issue of whether the ad should be aired at all, the bigger issue may be Tim Tebow's alliance with Focus on the Family. In addition to their conservative political positions, Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson are known for rather polemic and controversial public decrees about the state of the America. One recent example is James Dobson's letter called "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America" where Dobson outlines a number of apocalyptic events that are more likely to occur as a result of Obama's presidency:
1) Terrorist attacks in US
2) Medical staff forced to perform abortions
3) Children forced to view pornography
4) Crime sprees due to the revoking of gun ownership
5) Nuclear bomb dropped on Israel
Dobson's potpourri of calamitous events caused by an Obama presidency reveals the deepest extent of political derangement on the religious right. Anxiety over the direction of policy and laws is natural for any political group once the opposition is elected to office, but Dobson's attempt at prophecy goes beyond the boundaries of any criticism that would lead to open and safe debate about the future of America.
Unfortunately, despite Tim Tebow's best intentions, Focus on the Family's history of belligerent political rhetoric brings into question his alliance with the organization. Tim Tebow may or may not be aware of Dobson's letter or Focus on the Family's controversial statements, but he should be prepared to answer questions about his knowledge of the organization and its positions. Tebow has every right to run an ad funded by Focus on the Family on Super Bowl Sunday, he just better be sure he knows who he is working for.
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