Tuesday, January 26, 2010
CBS is taking heat from women's groups for agreeing to run an ad from Focus on the Family featuring Tim Tebow, whose mother rejected her doctors' advice that he be aborted:
“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 Jemhu Greene, president of the New York-based Women’s Media Center.
This is depressing on several levels:
First, from what I understand, the ad will not advocate any particular legal response to abortion; it simply will celebrate life and the personal choices that make life possible. If a message like that is too "divisive" to be expressed on a grand cultural stage, then we have a serious problem. For those who insist that the concept of the common good has become so thin that a meaningful conversation on the subject is impossible, this might be Exhibit A.
Second, the logic underlying an argument that messages encouraging others to "choose life" are "demeaning" makes me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp object. It is a message aimed at hearts and minds; it is not (as far as I know) aimed at persuading the state to criminalize abortion (I'm not saying that those messages have no place in the public square, just that those message are understandably more controversial.) But to insist that a mother telling her story of being blessed by her choice for life is "not being respectful of other people's lives" (according to Terry O'Neill, president of NOW) is to twist the concept of "respect" beyond recognition.
Third, the nature of the protest -- don't taint the sacred ground of the Super Bowl! -- speaks loudly about our society's rush to embrace events that give us a sense of community (and even transcendence), and how silly we sometimes look as a result. Perhaps at one time those events were religious, but now we're left with the Super Bowl (and maybe American Idol). As sports columnist Gregg Doyel wrote, “If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year. It’s not a day to discuss abortion."
I've opened comments.