That was quite a Super Bowl game the other night, wasn't it? Competitive, frequent lead changes, even interesting side-stories like the New Orleans Saints' quarterback (Drew Brees) who played college ball in Indiana (Purdue University), while the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback (Payton Manning) grew up in New Orleans.
Yet, perhaps the most significant moment of the evening didn't happen on the field, but on your TV screen during a "commercial" break. And quite possibly you missed it completely, even if you were watching the commercials. I'm talking about the "Celebrate Life" ad sponsored by Focus on the Family (FOTF) and featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. For weeks the Tebows and CBS were excoriated by the "pro-choice" lobby--Planned Parenthood and its allies, "feminist" activists, "progressive" Democrats, mainstream media and academic types, a legion of "comedians," and even some athletes--for having the audacity (only liberals can have audacity, right?) to present an advertisement promoting life during the telecast of a major sports event. Outrageous! It went without saying that the Tebows and Focus on the Family are a gaggle of Neanderthal bigots who have no right to air such socially irresponsible ideas in public. What was even more inexcusable was that a once-reliably-liberal major television network--the home of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and Katy Couric, for crying out loud!--would give (well, sell, for 2.5 million dollars) them a platform from which to present those pernicious ideas in front of impressionable women, a few of whom might see the ad, go to the FOTF web site, read what it had to say about family and reproductive issues, and discover that "choice" actually includes the option to give birth. Such behavior threatened the "right" of women everywhere to a "safe, legal abortion," and would thereby force them back into the clutches of coathanger abortionists! At least one "feminist" attorney has threatened to sue CBS for misleading advertising.
Having heard that the ad was going to air during the first quarter of Sunday's game, I kept my eyes peeled--and almost missed it anyway. If you missed the ad, here it is:
If you're saying to yourself "is that all there is?", so did I. Only 30 seconds long, and the word "abortion" is nowhere to be found in it. About all the ad consisted of was Pam Tebow reflecting on how she "almost lost" Tim and giving thanks that he's still around, and Tim pretending to tackle her and the two of them hugging. And the words "Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life" under the FOTF web site address. Pretty shrill and divisive, eh? I've seen more provocative commercials for Cheerios.
CBS certainly needed and wanted the millions that were ponied up for the brief time the ad ran, but also took an enormous risk that it would alienate a substantial portion of its viewership--and struck a blow for free speech by doing so (for which I commend them). If "pro-choice" advocates came up with the money to buy some air time and presented a similarly sensitive, restrained ad, I'd have no objection, disagree with their position though I might. It would be healthy indeed for our polity if opposing points of view on controversial subjects could be aired in this way on major networks.
That so many influential people sought, and apparently still seek, to stifle such debate is shameful. I guarantee you that some of them (the older ones, anyway) were out on the streets back in the late 60s marching with their hippie friends for freedom of speech. I guess only they have that freedom. Where were the howls of protest from feminist groups at the sexually explicit, female-exploiting commercials for Godaddy.com (which shocked and disgusted me)? Where were the screams of outrage from socialists and pacifists at the dozens of Super Bowl commercials that celebrate crass materialism and violence? It would appear that to them, sexual license and irresponsibility are the most sacrosanct all values--to the point not only of snuffing out the lives of helpless children, but denying freedom of speech to any and all people who espouse a different view.
Drew Brees and Payton Manning will be great quarterbacks for years to come. Right now I'm most thankful for Tim Tebow, Quarterback for Life, and the courageous lady who dared to bring him into this world. Every woman who makes that choice should be in a Hall of Fame somewhere!