Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad Controversy
Tim Tebow: Know Who, and What, You Are Cheering For
Over a year ago, on September 27th, 2008, Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow stood before a crowded press room. The Gators, preseason favorites to win the BCS National Championship, had just lost a 31-30 marathon game to conference rival Ole Miss. With a loss within their first four games, the Gators’ hopes of appearing in the title game seemed doomed. Gathering himself, Tebow declared to the whole press room, and the entire nation, that his Gators would not lose another game from that point forward. After living up to his promise, Tebow was given the opportunity, despite the loss, to play in the big game and won his second (and ultimately final) National Title.
Such dogged persistence, even in the face of adversity, is to be admired. And admired it is: the first paragraph of this piece follows the script of hundreds of articles detailing the heroic speech that pulled the Gators from losing purgatory to twenty two consecutive victories. But, while Tebow’s positive qualities-his football skills, extraordinary collegiate achievements, and sheer determination to win-should always be duly noted, the sheer amount of praise heaped upon the Florida quarterback seems to have successfully stifled any criticism of the famous Gator’s less admirable qualities; in particular his intolerance of the beliefs and values of others.
Some time ago, Tebow declared his intention to serve as the centerpiece of a Superbowl ad advocating against abortion. While the specific details of the commercial are thus far unclear, what is known is that the group financing the expense, Focus on the Family, is one of the most intolerant groups in the United States. The group’s beliefs include, amongst other elements, the following: American identity is exclusively Judeo-Christian in nature, homosexuality is a crime against God and the “homosexual agenda” in the United States must be opposed at all cost, and that abortion, feminism, the separation of church and state in public schools and extra-marital sexual activity have no place in American society.
Please, please don’t just take it from me. Instead, please take a second, open your internet browser, and type “Focus on the Family” into www.google.com. If you go to the “About Us” section, you will find a listing of the group’s guiding principles and beliefs. I cannot quote them here, as that could get me into a large amount of legal trouble for plagiarism and unofficial citation, but I think the reader will find the blatant intolerance in the group’s statements striking.
However, that said, Tebow’s possession of such beliefs, in and of itself, would not warrant this article. Everyone, and I repeat EVERYONE, is entitled to their beliefs, regardless of how intolerant or terribly misguided they are; so long as they do not harm others. That right is protected by the First Amendment and is a central tenet of our Constitutional Bill of Rights. However, Tim Tebow not only holds these intolerant beliefs, he also spreads them in evangelical fashion. Yet, despite this, almost no one is aware of either Tebow’s beliefs or his desire to spread them because he receives almost no negative press in the media. EVER.
If people want to root and cheer for Tebow, even though they know he holds to these intolerant tenets, then that is their prerogative and it is only right that they should be allowed to do so. That’s what tolerance is. But, they should know exactly what he believes in-and the intolerance he advocates-before choosing to do so. If you are non-Christian, or gay, or aborted a child, or do not go to Church on a regular basis, or do not actively spread the word of Christ forcefully to others, or support a woman’s right to choose, or are divorced, then Tim Tebow disapproves of your life choices and of who you are. Root and cheer for him if you like-that’s your choice-but at least know beforehand that he believes your lifestyle is a stain on the earth and has devoted himself to either converting you to his beliefs or, at the very least, making sure that others understand your ‘immorality’ and don’t follow.
However, that, by itself, would still not be enough to warrant this article. After all, there are many evangelical Christians in this country, including two of my own uncles and an aunt, and as long as they try to spread their beliefs in non-harmful fashion then that should not be condemned. It may be distasteful, and people have a right to know about those beliefs and who they cheer for, but no one should stop Tebow from advocating them.
What puts this advertisement in particular over the edge is that it advocates against abortion EVEN IN THE EVENT OF A HEALTH CONCERN FOR THE PREGNANT MOTHER. It is rumored to use the famous story of Tebow’s mother’s decision to have him despite great risk to her health as an example of why women should never abort even if their lives are threatened. In short, an ad broadcast to a billion people, including tens of millions of impressionable teenage girls, will feature Tim Tebow quietly suggesting that his extremely lucky - and unlikely - birth story means that they should put themselves in danger in all cases and never, ever, consider abortion. And that decision - the one to use his influence to spread his intolerant beliefs even if they endanger the lives of young women - is unacceptable.
Root for Tebow if you feel you must but please, please, at least do your research and know who, and WHAT, you are cheering for.
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