Friday, February 05, 2010

"Tebow's Super Bowl ad isn't intolerant; its critics are"

1)”Jesus and Burritos” is still on for tonight. Adoration at 6 pm, Chipotle burritos at 7 pm.

2) A few spots left for next weekend’s retreat, “No Greater Love”. Please sign up asap by emailing Meg (
The following is an encouraging, sharp, and courageous article by a columnist of the Washington Post, Sally Jenkins, regarding Tim Tebow’s pro-life Super Bowl ad. Obviously, we don’t agree with Jenkins’ position on abortion; the main point of disagreement is that babies in the womb are not just potential lives, they are actual lives…actual human beings. Overall, though, the following is a very well-written article; it’s refreshing to see a secular journalist set the record straight that pro-choice means pro-abortion. Hopefully, Jenkins will see that the crowd (NOW, et al.) that she condemns are the same ones who have fought so hard for the “pro-choice” legalization that she supports. It’s not pro-choice legislation, it’s pro-abortion. Please pray for Sally Jenkins who is most likely under heavy attack from those who are viciously pro-abortion.

Tebow's Super Bowl ad isn't intolerant; its critics are

I'll spit this out quick, before the armies of feminism try to gag me and strap electrodes to my forehead: Tim Tebow is one of the better things to happen to young women in some time. I realize this stance won't endear me to the "Dwindling Organizations of Ladies in Lockstep," otherwise known as DOLL, but I'll try to pick up the shards of my shattered feminist credentials and go on.

As statements at Super Bowls go, I prefer the idea of Tebow's pro-life ad to, say, Jim McMahon dropping his pants, as the former Chicago Bears quarterback once did in response to a question. We're always harping on athletes to be more responsible and engaged in the issues of their day, and less concerned with just cashing checks. It therefore seems more than a little hypocritical to insist on it only if it means criticizing sneaker companies, and to stifle them when they take a stance that might make us uncomfortable.

I'm pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I've heard in the past week, I'll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the "National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time." For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.

Tebow's 30-second ad hasn't even run yet, but it already has provoked "The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us" to reveal something important about themselves: They aren't actually "pro-choice" so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, post-Roe v. Wade, and while on a Christian mission in the Philippines, she contracted a tropical ailment. Doctors advised her the pregnancy could be dangerous, but she exercised her freedom of choice and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her beauteous Heisman Trophy winner son, a chaste, proselytizing evangelical.

Pam Tebow and her son feel good enough about that choice to want to tell people about it. Only, NOW says they shouldn't be allowed to. Apparently NOW feels this commercial is an inappropriate message for America to see for 30 seconds, but women in bikinis selling beer is the right one. I would like to meet the genius at NOW who made that decision. On second thought, no, I wouldn't.

There's not enough space in the sports pages for the serious weighing of values that constitutes this debate, but surely everyone in both camps, pro-choice or pro-life, wishes the "need" for abortions wasn't so great. Which is precisely why NOW is so wrong to take aim at Tebow's ad.

Here's what we do need a lot more of: Tebows. Collegians who are selfless enough to choose not to spend summers poolside, but travel to impoverished countries to dispense medical care to children, as Tebow has every summer of his career. Athletes who believe in something other than themselves, and are willing to put their backbone where their mouth is. Celebrities who are self-possessed and self-controlled enough to use their wattage to advertise commitment over decadence.

You know what we really need more of? Famous guys who aren't embarrassed to practice sexual restraint, and to say it out loud. If we had more of those, women might have fewer abortions. See, the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy is to not get the sperm in the egg and the egg implanted to begin with, and that is an issue for men, too -- and they should step up to that.

"Are you saving yourself for marriage?" Tebow was asked last summer during an SEC media day.

"Yes, I am," he replied.

The room fell into a hush, followed by tittering: The best college football player in the country had just announced he was a virgin. As Tebow gauged the reaction from the reporters in the room, he burst out laughing. They were a lot more embarrassed than he was.

"I think y'all are stunned right now!" he said. "You can't even ask a question!"
That's how far we've come from any kind of sane viewpoint about star athletes and sex. Promiscuity is so the norm that if a stud isn't shagging everything in sight, we feel faintly ashamed for him.

Obviously Tebow can make people uncomfortable, whether it's for advertising his chastity, or for wearing his faith on his face via biblical citations painted in his eye-black. Hebrews 12:12, his cheekbones read during the Florida State game: "Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees." His critics find this intrusive, and say the Super Bowl is no place for an argument of this nature. "Pull the ad," NOW President Terry O'Neill said. "Let's focus on the game."

Trouble is, you can't focus on the game without focusing on the individuals who play it -- and that is the genius of Tebow's ad. The Super Bowl is not some reality-free escape zone. Tebow himself is an inescapable fact: Abortion doesn't just involve serious issues of life, but of potential lives, Heisman trophy winners, scientists, doctors, artists, inventors, Little Leaguers -- who would never come to be if their birth mothers had not wrestled with the stakes and chosen to carry those lives to term. And their stories are every bit as real and valid as the stories preferred by NOW.

Let me be clear again: I couldn't disagree with Tebow more. It's my own belief that the state has no business putting its hand under skirts. But I don't care that we differ. Some people will care that the ad is paid for by Focus on the Family, a group whose former spokesman, James Dobson, says loathsome things about gays. Some will care that Tebow is a creationist. Some will care that CBS has rejected a gay dating service ad. None of this is the point. CBS owns its broadcast and can run whatever advertising it wants, and Tebow has a right to express his beliefs publicly. Just as I have the right to reject or accept them after listening -- or think a little more deeply about the issues. If the pro-choice stance is so precarious that a story about someone who chose to carry a risky pregnancy to term undermines it, then CBS is not the problem.

Tebow's ad, by the way, never mentions abortion; like the player himself, it's apparently soft-spoken. It simply has the theme "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." This is what NOW has labeled "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning." But if there is any demeaning here, it's coming from NOW, via the suggestion that these aren't real questions, and that we as a Super Bowl audience are too stupid or too disinterested to handle them on game day.


Anonymous said...

So happy this author wrote what so many must have been thinking (maybe even yelling back at our newspapers and televisions)- how are those who say they are for a “woman’s right to choose” offended by a woman “choosing” life? My 14 year old daughter said, “Those people want lots of women to have abortions so they will represent more people and be more powerful.” Outta the mouth of babes…

Off topic a little, but I really like how this kids represents himself…
A great highlight from the football season (the ‘Skins certainly offered none) was from the press conference when a reporter was looking for a “gotcha” and asked Tim the intrusive question about his virginity. How he handled that situation showed that this kid is a class act on and off the field. When he chuckled and calmly answered that he was saving himself for marriage, that “gotcha” quickly backfired, as no one in the room seemed to know what to say to that, and the spotlight was uncomfortably on them instead. It was evident to all that, though bad behavior might get a lot of attention, good values shine most brightly.

Anonymous said...

First of all... It's the Superbowl, why are people trying to overrun it with controversial ads - whether it be this, or the gay rights ad which I believe was denied?

It's an American tradition that comes once a year in which friends of ALL faiths (and those with none at all) and different belief systems come to watch football, not hear a sermon.

Secondly, I must take issue with your heavy use of divisive language, and your misinterpretation of Ms. Jenkins' piece in the Post.

"it’s refreshing to see a secular journalist set the record straight that pro-choice means pro-abortion."

First of all, Ms. Jenkins admits she is pro-choice; however, I do not think she is pro-abortion. (NOW might be a different case that goes to an extreme.) She is making the point that for the most part, WE ALL, want to reduce/find alternatives to abortions. Education (I know you don't believe in birth control, but seriously people are going to have sex, so how about a little secular wisdom. And adoption, adoption, adoption. I think we agree there.

I'll say it again, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Think about this, most of the people who are "pro-life" support the death penalty and the wars in Iraq.

I am Catholic, and I am pro-choice.
I believe in using the conscience God gave me. With respect, I don't need a priest, or a right-wing mob that gathers on the National Mall each year (Rightly exercising their 1st amendment right to do so)or a lawmaker for that matter to tell me what to do if I get pregnant. I am smart and was raised well.

You're a celibate male, in a church run by older celibate males. It's easy from your point of view to preach from a pulpit the message the Church tells you.

If I were faced with the situation of having an abortion, it would be MY decision, and whomever else I chose to seek counsel from. That is the law of the land. Would I actually have an abortion, no probably not, but it is my choice. Am I pro-abortion because I think that way? I don't think so, nor do I think God, who is a loving God does either. "Come just as you are."

I think in a university setting where you are trying to attract more souls to Christ and the Church, a more welcoming and less arcane perspective towards this difficult issue might help you.

Matt Shoemaker said...

So many illogical points from the previous post. First, since when has the Super bowl ever not been about controversial ads or controversial performances at the half time show? Controversy boosts sales and gets people talking, which is what is happening now.
Secondly, we, as Catholics need to stand up for the Truth. Real unity is not achieved by lowering our standards to the lowest common denominator just so people can feel 'happy and fuzzy' inside; instead we would just facilitate a false sense of unity and that would be a lie.
The Truth has always been persecuted both from inside and outside of the Church throughout history. Unfortunately, many of the politicians that call themselves 'Catholics' have no problem leading other Catholics away from Christ's Church and are perfectly happy with separating themselves from the Body of Christ.
The inherent moral evil of abortion is masked by a false concept of what some people call 'freedom of choice.' But a choice to do what? A mother killing her own child so that the mother can live how she chooses? What a poor choice that is and results in the destruction of the soul's union with God.
Unfortunately, nothing in the previous comment speaks to charity, love, faith, patience, or any of the virtues we as Catholics are called by God to speak the truth about. If our job is to begin ushering in the Kingdom of God on earth, how is it possible to do that by only thinking about what we want to do? How is charity and love expressed when a mother kills her child or when we help abortion to continue?
Finally, to the argument that a celibate male priest has no right to talk about this is one of the most disrespectful, untrue, and theologically ignorant argument against the Church today. Does a doctor need to have cancer in order to know how to treat it?
We should thank God and our priests every day that the priest has answered God's call. Without the priests would would never be absolved of our sins, receive the Blessed Sacrament, or be brought into the Body of Christ in Baptism. Thank you Fr. Greg. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

In response to the last post that said "a more welcoming and less arcane perspective towards this difficult issue might help you"... I couldn't disagree more.

People want the truth. The truth is abortion ends life, and that is wrong. This truth should be proclaimed all the more "head-on" on a campus where there are so many misconceptions. I applaud you for addressing this important topic, with the Church's teaching.

Anonymous said...

“I know you don't believe in birth control, but seriously people are going to have sex, so how about a little secular wisdom.”

Secular wisdom- now there’s a contradictory term. Wisdom should lead us to a good place, yet the example you give here conforms to pretty base and often irresponsible human behavior. Using your example again, several forms of birth control are abortafacients. So, educating (which, if you’re willing to look at it honestly, has become a euphemism for encouraging) the masses on the use several forms of bc induces more abortions. Yet, you stated that we ALL want fewer abortions. Additionally, the majority of people seeking abortionsdo so after their birth control fails. So, wouldn’t wisdom really dictate that if one does not want to have an abortion, presumable b/c she/he don’t want to have a baby, they shouldn’t be having sex?

Anonymous said...

One more thing anon 1:20,

Maybe I read him wrong, but I didn’t think FG was being judgmental but rather matter-of-fact in his statement that being pro-choice is being pro-abortion. The Catholic stand is pro-life. From our stand, abortion is not an acceptable option, therefore we are also anti-abortion. When one is pro-choice, they are saying that abortion is an acceptable option, thus favorable to its existence. Those who are pro-choice are, correctly, pro-abortion.

Anonymous said...

Consider this:

Your friend comes to your door, carrying her 1 year old baby in her arms. She is distraught, she is crying. Times are tough. Money is scarce. She says she cannot deal with a baby. She does not know what to do. She is thinking of taking the life of the baby.

You talk to her calmly. You ask how you can help, and offer different types of support. You tell her you know she would never harm her child, gently taking the 1 year old from her arms. She looks at you, shocked. She says, " I am not talking about this baby. I am pregnant."

Would you really give your friend a "choice" at this point? Would you really return the baby to her arms and tell her the choice was hers?

What is the difference between the baby she carries in her arms and the baby she carries in her womb? Why is this about choice?s

Anonymous said...

For some reason "Jesus and Burritos" tickles my funnybone.

Anonymous said...

So, I saw the ad and thought: huh? what was THAT about?

Anonymous said...

"So, I saw the ad and thought: huh? what was THAT about?"

Talk about media savvy. How many hits do you think FOF's website got? The build up to the ad brought out PP and NOW's true colors in their hysteria over others labeling life as good. I gather that some people were disappointed in the subtly of the message, but who could watch that and say it was offensive to family programming? Its subtlety made the spotlight on the vocal opposition bright.

Anonymous said...

I would hardly call the Tebrow ad than ran a "sermon". And FYI, most religions, not just Catholics are against abortion. Abortion is a "choice", so if you're pro choice, then you most certainly are pro-abortion. Don't kid yourself.