Celizic: CBS Making Huge Mistake With Tebow Ad

Pro-life ad doesn't belong on Super Bowl broadcast

I know why CBS is running an ad sponsored by Focus on the Family and starring Tim Tebow. It needs the money.

There is no other reason — and certainly no good reason — for anyone, including a television executive, to decide that the ethical standards which had stood for generations are suddenly no more worth preserving than that hairball the cat just coughed up. Advertising revenues are down throughout the industry, and one way to combat that is to accept ads you used to refuse from organizations dedicated to bigotry and divisiveness.

And so we get an anti-abortion ad by a homophobic organization during the biggest sporting event of the year. At a time when we’re all sitting together watching the big game, we’ll have another reason to argue and yell at each other.

Thanks a lot, CBS. Hope it’s worth the $2.5 million.

CBS will still have standards, except they’ll be based on money and who’ll be upset. Focus on the Family can run its ad because everyone likes Tim Tebow, and the anti-choice agenda is buried underneath the feel-good story of the kid who wasn’t supposed to be born but grew up to be a hero. But neither they nor any other network will take an ad from an atheist group whose message is there is no heaven, no hell and no god. That would tick off the paying customers.

This makes me wish an atheist organization would do just that. And if not a Super Bowl ad, maybe one college kid could be persuaded to write “There is” and “no God” on his stripes of eye black. Either that or “Allahu” and “Akhbar.”

Can you imagine the uproar either one of those messages would inspire? The good folks at Fox News would be apoplectic. James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren and everyone else who has reaped millions by telling people what God wants them to do would start preparing for the rapture.

The NCAA, which has turned a blind eye to the biblical messages Tebow inks under his eyes, would need all of three minutes to decide to ban all messages on players’ bodies and equipment.

Pro leagues have long banned such personal messages. You don’t want to allow them and wait for someone to come up with something that’s going to offend three quarters of the planet.

This is the real problem with the growing numbers of American sports stars who feel obliged to use what they do as a pulpit. You might think there’s no harm to it, but that’s only because none of them have said anything that steps on your beliefs. It’s a trend we just don’t need.

Tebow is the poster boy for the breed, which has made him a target for criticism. But he’s not the problem. He’s just doing what he was raised to do, which is to try to make everyone believe the same thing he does.

If he’s hitched up with Focus on the Family, it suggests he believes in some things that are repugnant to many Americans.

This is the outfit Tebow has chosen to represent, and that’s his right. His parents are missionaries, and he’s got their holy zeal. Like so many evangelical athletes, he believes that he is obliged to use his fame to spread his beliefs.

The Super Bowl ad will apparently feature the quarterback and his mother, who was advised to abort the pregnancy that resulted in his birth. But she refused, and, lo, unto her a quarterback was born. It will no doubt be a very heartwarming spot. I guess the point is that if Tebow’s mother had followed the doctors’ advice, the world would have been deprived of a desperately needed football player and there would not have been a Heisman Trophy winner in 2007.

The Super Bowl doesn’t need it, and neither do we.

You want to stuff your religion down my throat, have the decency to come and ring my doorbell like a good Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness. Then I can at least share with you my own fervently held belief:

You are a presumptuous and pompous gasbag.

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