I admire Florida football star Tim Tebow, both for what he does on the field and for who he is off the field. By all accounts he tries to live his Christian faith, and I’ve never been bothered by his efforts to proselytize. Even in the Biblical citations he wears in his eyeblack, he shows the good manners to proclaim his faith quietly without questioning or condemning that of others. OK by me.
Tebow is now the focus of a bit of controversy involving an anti-abortion ad in which he stars with his mother. The ad, sponsored by James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, will air during the Super Bowl, and some pro-choice groups are protesting the ad’s acceptance by CBS. They do have a point.
As the Washington Post reports, the Women’s Media Center and other groups “questioned how and why the network, which used to forbid ‘advocacy’ advertising, agreed to air Focus on the Family’s spot, which is valued at $2.5 million to $3 million.”
“The media center also noted that as recently as 2004, CBS had rejected an ad from the United Church of Christ, which wanted to use the Super Bowl as a chance to tell people it welcomes gay members. The center says CBS also has rejected ads in the past from MoveOn.org and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.”
The question of fairness is legitimate, but if this is really a new policy at CBS that will be extended to other causes as well, liberal and conservative, fine. The previous policy — designed not to offend anybody — never really made sense anyway, not in an advertising culture where discussion of four-hour erections and urinary problems have become standard.
And if Tebow wants to use his hard-earned fame to promote causes that he believes in, fine as well. I just hope he picks his spots carefully and stays wary about how others want to use him.