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Theologian: Tebow Ad Controversy ‘Odd’ In a Society of Free Speech

imagesbannerscp_150x601Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Michelle A. Vu|Christian Post Reporter

Though people complain that the upcoming Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad is divisive and controversial, the commercial is simply allowing a family to tell its personal story, contends a theologian.

Dr. Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, said there is a push back on the ability of someone to tell a personal story, or the right to free speech.

“Some people use the word hate speech [to describe the ad] and they haven’t even seen it,” Bock told The Christian Post Friday. “This is particularly odd in a society where all kinds of free speech that would be uncomfortable for a lot of people [are aired]. But someone tells a personal story and they try to cut that off.”

Bock said the ad should be aired and be part of the continuing conversation about the issue of abortion.

Last month, Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family announced it would broadcast its first Super Bowl ad this year on Feb. 7. The 30-second spot from the pro-family organization will feature college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will share a personal story centered on the theme of “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.”

Though the exact content of the ad has not yet been revealed, many speculate the ad will recount Pam Tebow’s refusal to have an abortion while she was pregnant with Tim despite having suffered from a life-threatening infection at the time.

CBS has taken a lot of heat from pro-choice groups who call the ad “anti-choice.” They maintain the ad will alienate viewers and “ramp up the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding reproductive rights.”

“The content of this ad endangers women’s health, uses sports to divide rather than to unite, and promotes an organization that opposes the equality of Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and reproductive freedom,” expressed petitioners mobilized by the Women’s Media Center.

In response to the outcry, CBS clarified last week that its policy regarding advocacy ads has changed over the past few years and that it now considers airing “responsibly produced” ones during its Super Bowl broadcast. A few years ago, a commercial such as the one by Focus on the Family would have been turned down because of its advocacy content.

Throughout the controversy, pro-life groups have been strongly supportive of the ad. Many pro-life groups collected signatures and urged CBS to air the ad despite pressure to do otherwise. Among the groups is the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the largest pro-life women groups in the nation. The group has received so far 50,000 comments in support for the Tebow family.

“NOW (National Organization for Women) and company are on the wrong side of American public opinion,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement. “In only four days, over fifty thousand Americans have sent messages of support to the Tebow family on www.blockhardfortebow.com. The outcry of national support for Tim Tebow’s pro-life leadership illustrates the strength of the growing American pro-life majority.”

By comparison, the abortion-rights group EMILY’s List has collected only 16,000 signatures.

“NOW’s campaign against CBS, the Tebow family and Focus on the Family is going nowhere fast,” Dannenfelser continued. “Arguments that abortion is somehow as liberating and self-sacrificing as Pam Tebow’s decision to choose life in the face of great personal pain just don’t stand the straight face test. Such callous attitudes grate on the conscience and defy experience.”

This year’s Super Bowl, which pits the Indianapolis Colts against the New Orleans Saints, will kick off at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Super Bowl broadcasts are typically viewed by over 90 million people each year.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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22 Responses to “Theologian: Tebow Ad Controversy ‘Odd’ In a Society of Free Speech”

  1. And the moral of the story is, never believe anyone whose message's acceptance depends on the silencing of the opposing message. Pro-abortion types, “gay” rights activists, evolutionists… the list goes on. Such people are unworthy of anyone's support.

  2. The Women's Media Center petition states, “The content of this ad endangers women’s health, uses sports to divide rather than to unite, and promotes an organization that opposes the equality of Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and reproductive freedom.”

    That is the biggest load of garbage! Every single point is an over-the-top lie. For one thing, no one has seen the ad and can have an informed comment on its “content,” yet these leftist, anti-human radicals are screaming their heads off, not yet having seen it. So, how the heck can it “endanger” women's lives? These people are outrageous!

    Also, I can't think of many things more “divisive” than the biggest championship football game, the Super Bowl. Yes, we are divided by which team we want to win (GO SAINTS!!), not united.

    Then there's the libelous statement about Focus on the Family. It's such a desperate lie that it would be laughable, if it weren't so evil – “opposes the equality of Americans?” What rot!

    I'm tired of these people being labeled “pro-choice.” They are NOT pro-choice; they are pro-abortion, or the opposite of pro-life: pro-death. If they were truly pro-choice, they would be just fine with Tebow's mom CHOOSING to have her baby instead of kill him.

  3. Until about 17 years ago, I was pro-abortion. I even had the gall to admit I was and called myself pro-abortion back then.

    I'm glad someone finally helped me get beyond the “mainstream” media pap about “choice” and examine the real facts of the issue; I have been pro-life and anti-abortion for the past 17 years because of that personal investigation of the facts. But it'd be refreshing if the rest of the pro-abortion crowd would actually have the honesty to admit they are pro-abortion.

  4. Right! You know, those on the left are the kings of euphemism.

    Bob Ellis wrote, in response to WXRGina:

    Until about 17 years ago, I was pro-abortion. I even had the gall to admit I was and called myself pro-abortion back then.

    I'm glad someone finally helped me get beyond the “mainstream” media pap about “choice” and examine the real facts of the issue; I have been pro-life and anti-abortion for the past 17 years because of that personal investigation of the facts. But it'd be refreshing if the rest of the pro-abortion crowd would actually have the honesty to admit they are pro-abortion.

  5. dcm

    You mentioned on your 'list' that evolutionists were unworthy of anyones support. Anyones ? Nobody's support ?You sure have excoriated millions and millions of people, many of which are Christians, simply because they disagree with your views on evolution.

    I don't agree with your views on creationism, but wouldn't say you're unworthy of 'anyones' support. I would have to ask you ' What is it exactly that makes me unworthy of ANYONES support, just because I believe in evolution '. Sounds like you're saying that if someone doesn't agree with you, then their voice is unworthy of even considering.

    Why not just say ' It's my way or the highway ' .

  6. This is not a black or white issue and I know that abortions are done when the pregnancy is not risking the mothers health at all. That type of abortion bothers me greatly. But what about the pregnancy that is risky to the mothers health? Should the mother have a choice to abort or be forced to deliver ?

    If there is a complication, a doctor can tell a pregnant mother that there is a risk to her life, but that doctor can't tell her how much risk in all circumstances. The doctor might say it is low, medium or high or even toss out some percentages, but it always comes down to the mothers CHOICE. Some mothers who are told they have a 'moderate' risk of dying will abort and some will deliver and take the chance.It is a choice.

    Even if Roe v. Wade got overturned, most in America would agree that if a mother's life is at risk, then she should have a choice on what to do.But how much risk to the mother makes an abortion okay ? 20% 50% 80%. Who would decide ? Doesn't it then still go back to the doctor stating their concerns and the mother then making a choice. You can't have some committee decide, but I don't think some doctor running an abortion clinic should be left unchecked either.

    So that is why I say I am Pro-Choice and anti (indiscriminate) abortion

  7. You don't have to take it so personally or put words in my mouth. My point is simply that proponents of evolutionism (as opposed to those who simply “believe in it”) are, like pro-abortion types, etc., among those who are routinely caught using deception and censorship to further their views. That's just one of many, many reasons why I have come to recognize “molecules-to-man” evolutionism as a falsehood. What “my” personal views are on it doesn't even come into play.

  8. Valid points there. I doubt that many “pro-lifers” would deny that there are times when abortion is in fact medically necessary. But such cases comprise an extreme minority of all abortions. Most pro-abortion people (particularly your actual providers) would never accept limiting abortions to such cases; in fact, we don't see them accepting *any” limit on abortions. And that's what most of your “pro-lifers” have a problem with.

  9. Actually, yes, this is very much a black or white issue.

    The “health of the woman” argument is the one that pro-abortion people always latch onto. But, thanks to the marvelous advances in medical technology, the number of times a woman is truly in danger of her life by giving birth is so small, it's statistically insignificant. If a woman actually WAS in danger by giving birth, there is always cesarean section.

  10. Gina,

    If what you say is true about medical technology and statistical insignificance, then why is anyone praising Pam Tebow ? And if you look at the argument, wasn't she making a 'choice' when it came right down to it. No one told her she had to deliver or abort. She decided. That is pro-choice

  11. Brian, I know nothing about Mrs. Tebow's pregnancy, except what little has been written about her having some sort of infection and the doctors advising abortion. Well, there is a case where the doctors were obviously wrong.

    About “choice:” One of my original points on my first post was that pro-abortion people are NOT pro-choice. They are rabidly against anyone promoting life over killing your baby. That is not pro-choice; that is pro-abortion. I don't agree with choosing to kill your baby, and I never will.

  12. dcm

    I know the point you are trying to make, but still disdain being referred to as someone who uses deception and censorship simply because I am a proponent of the belief in evolution. Why not take that personally when it mischaracterizes me and many other friends and family I love and respect.

    I would only ask those who make the 'deception claim' about an evolutionist, as you did, to consider that I actually BELIEVE 100% in evolution. I am not trying to deceive anything or anyone. I think the creationists believe their side as well.

    When you truly believe something, you're not trying to deceive.

  13. Gina

    Maybe I am confused about what you are saying. I thought you were saying that anyone and everyone who is Pro-choice is not that at all. ' Every and ALL WOMEN that say they are
    pro-choice are really pro-death ' Is that what you are saying ? Or are you just referring to the zealots ?

  14. I'm saying that the “pro-choice” label is a euphemism that should instead be “pro-abortion.” Like I said, most of the pushers of abortion are not “pro-choice” at all!

  15. Gina,

    Your first sentence is what concerns me i.e. pro-choice is a euphemism for pro-abortion.Period. black and white. My wife and I have an adopted daughter and my wife is very active in several local community services whose goal it is to educate young, single pregnant women about the option of adoption. They are even making some headway into Planned Parenthood about letting them talk about such options like adoption to these young girls..

    My wife is not 'pro-abortion' or 'pro-death' in the least and is actively involved in adoption options, but still believes the final choice belongs to the woman.That is one reason I cringe when someone makes the blanket, black and white statement, that women who are pro-choice are really pro-abortion or pro-death( as some even say)

  16. Brian, I'm sorry you are concerned with my statement about abortion supporters. Your mind is made up, and so is mine. I will not equivocate on what the reality is here. Abortion kills a baby person every time it's done. There is not a “gray” area here, but there IS plenty of room for self-deception.

  17. Gina,

    I understand you view. I will never understand how you can lump a person like George Tiller, who indiscriminately performed abortions and someone like my wife who doesn't lobby,campaign for or give money to, preach for or march for or support abortion in any way.She does have a quiet personal view on choice however. She works hard to keep abortion from happening. Most in her service groups are pro-life.

    They have found common ground. If you want to persist in calling her pro-abortion or pro-death, then I understand, but her actions speak otherwise and she is at least out there DOING SOMETHING to prevent abortions. To me that is where the rubber hits the road.

    Maybe it is self-deception, but at least it is for a good cause:-)

  18. I think it's really fine that your wife works to encourage adoption. That would seem to indicate that she sees something wrong with abortion, otherwise, why bother trying to save an unborn baby from death if you think abortion is just fine?

  19. If I wanted to kill my daughter because she was bugging me, would I be exercising my choice? And could you support my decision to kill my daughter as a pro-choice person?

  20. Right, Bob! If abortion is okay, why not extend legality to “late-term” abortions up to, say, 48 months?

  21. I know of some Islamic terrorists in their 30's and 40's that I'd like to see aborted right now.

  22. But they, unlike the unborn, are not innocent.