Now that the controversial Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad featuring Pam and Tim Tebow has aired, the general reaction from most people is, “What was the fuss all about?” I know that was my thinking after watching it. If you missed it because you got up to go to the bathroom or get a snack or – gasp! – you weren’t watching the Super Bowl, check it out and draw your own conclusions.
The answer to that question reveals more about the individuals and organizations who opposed it than they may like. When liberal allies in the press, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, are critical of your reaction to a television ad, it’s a sure sign you’ve miscalculated pretty badly.
Groups like the Women's Media Center, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Organization for Women – or, as sports columnist Sally Jenkins refers to them in her scathing opinion piece in the Post, the “National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time" - were strident in their insistence that CBS pull the ad, using phrases like “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning” to describe something they’d never seen and for which they’d never read the script. They suggested the Super Bowl broadcast was an inappropriate venue for such a controversial topic.
Let’s put this into perspective, shall we?
There is no rule, written or otherwise, that says the Super Bowl is off limits for politics or controversial social issues, like some kind of “no free speech” zone.
While watching the pre-game show yesterday, the network aired a lengthy live interview featuring news anchor Katie Couric with President Obama. I thought perhaps since the pre-game host referred to him as the “First Fan,” they were going to talk about the game.
Instead, the interview was all about the President’s political agenda and would have been perfectly at home on 60 Minutes or the CBS Evening News. I don’t know if they ever actually discussed the game – after several minutes of policy discussion, I asked my son to switch to the NFL Network.
Now, did I like the fact the network and the President intruded on my Super Bowl Sunday with a lot of policy palaver with which I disagree? No. Would I have campaigned against such an appearance? No.
You see, there’s this inconvenient addendum to the U.S. Constitution called The Bill of Rights, and one of its amendments, the very first one, in fact, states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
No wiggle room in there that I can see. Rights are inconvenient things, especially when they are extended to people or ideas we don’t like. If anything, that is when our commitment to these rights is truly tested.
I wouldn’t deny those Super Bowl fans who dig President Obama the opportunity to get their “hope and change” fix. President Obama is perfectly entitled to speak his piece to the American people, even on Super Bowl Sunday. I am equally entitled to prefer Rich Eisen, and express my preference with my universal remote control.
The more disturbing aspect of this episode, however, involves the selective outrage of these organizations, who consider themselves “pro-woman,” over a commercial about a woman who chose to give birth to her child despite her doctor’s recommendation that she abort.
Her son grows up to be the most celebrated college football player of our generation, a young man with high moral standards in an age where athletes consider women one of the indulgences to which they are entitled because of their fame and prowess on the playing field.
The “women’s groups,” however, claim this is not the kind of topic a commercial should be addressing during the Super Bowl.
On the other hand, ads about beer-swilling guys partying with bikini-clad women in hot tubs, or making out in an astronomical observatory because they think an earth-destroying meteorite is headed their way, are perfectly acceptable.
The promotions of an Internet domain service provider, in which another famous sports figure, Danica Patrick, plays on her sexuality while other women stage impromptu “auditions” for her by ripping off their blouses to reveal their ample cleavage, are A-OK with them.
Yet they have the nerve to excoriate an ad about a mother who acts on her faith in God and her love for her unborn child, making a decision which gave life to an extraordinary young man who neither swills beer nor has sex with women at will, who declares without shame that he’s still a virgin and intends to remain so until marriage?
Ms. Jenkins of the Post declares:
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.
How “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning” are this ad and its athletic young champion, especially when compared to beer and bikinis!
There is a word for that kind of twisted logic.
The term “hypocrisy” is incorrectly used in American society today. Hypocrisy is not, as we tend to think, believing in one thing and doing another. Call it sin because that’s what it is, and we are all guilty of it, but it’s not hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is when someone pretends to hold a particular set of beliefs when, in fact, they don’t embrace them at all. The nuance is difficult to explain, but I’ll try.
A man who believes that cheating on his wife is morally wrong yet succumbs to temptation is not a hypocrite.
A man who pays lip service to his marriage vows but doesn’t genuinely embrace fidelity in belief or action is a hypocrite.
The word is a derivative of a Greek word which means “play acting,” “to play a part,” or “act out.” Hypocrites are pretenders – they don’t believe in what they’re promoting and never did. They’re putting on an act.
In reacting as they did to this ad, the so-called “women’s groups” may have revealed more to the world than they intended.
Before seeing the ad myself, I thought they were wrong on First Amendment grounds, and I suspected they were hypocrites who pretend to be pro-choice but whose actions suggest choice is really an act to fool the public. After seeing it, in the immortal words of football coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were!”
With their reaction to this ad, and their undisguised contempt for pro-life women like Sarah Palin, supermodel Kathy Ireland, actress Patricia Heaton of I Love Raymond fame, and others who buck the radical feminist orthodoxy, they have effectively removed their mask and revealed to the world that, in the words of Ms. Jenkins, “They aren't actually ‘pro-choice’ so much as they are pro-abortion.”
Ms. Jenkins, a self-proclaimed pro-choice advocate, states “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.”
No, the problem is “women’s groups” who have tried for decades to disguise their contempt for women who believe they have a special, even sacred, obligation to the human life inside of them, that don’t consider their unborn child “a clump of cells” because they know the truth – there is no other “clump of cells” on the planet that possesses the entire blueprint for the fully developed human being they are destined to become, a blueprint that is distinct from that of the father or even themselves.
These women, who refuse to refer to their unborn child as a baby when they’re wanted and a fetus when they’re not, despite the fact nothing in the child’s makeup has changed, are consistent in word and deed.
“Women’s groups,” on the other hand, must now figure out how to retreat back to the innocuous language of choice, which sounds so right and proper in a democratic republic, when it’s clear the only choice that is acceptable to them is one that demands a woman have their unborn child dismembered in the sanctuary of its mother’s body, and the body parts reassembled outside the womb so they’re sure none are left behind to cause an infection.
Oh, forgive me – there is another choice. Extract the baby in its late second trimester or early third trimester, as if the woman is giving birth, so its skull can be punctured and its brain suctioned out.
As a student of history, it was incomprehensible to me that nations like Germany and Russia, which pride themselves on their culture and have given the world some of its most beautiful art, literature and architecture, could also be capable of the world’s greatest barbarisms like the Holocaust and the Great Purge. I now understand that barbarism is intrinsic to man’s sinful nature, and no culture, no matter how sophisticated, is immune to it.
Dehumanization, whether to justify slavery, genocide or abortion, is a narcotic for our consciences, and once ingested, there is no atrocity outside the bounds of our imagination, values or will.
Was my expression of free speech “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning”? No more so than these “women’s groups” who find repulsive the thought that many women like Pam Tebow, whether they decide to raise their child or surrender them for adoption, choose life over death.