Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and all of us at American Life League are thrilled about it; not only because many of us love football, but because we are looking forward to two people who have shown the courage and fortitude that accompanies leadership grounded in God’s will. Of course, I am talking about Pam Tebow and her Heisman trophy-winning son, Tim.
The firestorm of controversy surrounding Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl ad featuring Tim and Pam has had an unexpected effect on the public, particularly among those committed to abortion. I suppose they never expected what has happened over the past week or so, but isn’t it about time?
To recap, on January 15, Focus on the Family announced the ad. Jim Daly, president of FOF said, "Tim and Pam share our respect for life and our passion for helping families thrive. They live what we see every day – that the desire for family closeness is written on the hearts of every generation. Focus on the Family is about nurturing that desire and strengthening families by empowering them with the tools they need to live lives rooted in morals and values."
Once the public got word of this, and the news began to spread, the pro-aborts came out of the woodwork, demanding all sorts of things, starting with a call for CBS to refuse the ad. As Los Angeles Times reporter Tim Rutten wrote, the ad “really comes down to a question of taste and civility. You don't talk politics at the Thanksgiving table, and you really ought to be able to watch a football game without being confronted with another person's views on abortion, or the treatment of veal calves.”
Describing the ad as “proselytizing,” Rutten decries it, but clearly misses the point. The Tebows are talking about affirming life, not politics. This is undoubtedly why CBS stood by their decision to run the ad. But the actual reason behind the pro-abortion hoopla is clear, isn’t it? Anytime a well-known public figure focuses on the dignity of the human person, the media goes into overdrive attempting to dismiss such affirmation as mere political rhetoric. Tragic, but on the other hand, it’s to be expected.
In this case, however, the press overplayed their hand. When the Washington Post chose to run a commentary by pro-abortion feminists Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman, they exposed the public to the truth. Perhaps not intending to do so, the newspaper gave a voice to history and revived incredible links between the Tebow family and the New York Giants. As Kissling and Michelman went to great lengths to explain what the culture of death advocates should learn from the Tebow ad placement, they inadvertently shed light not only on the successful strategy of Focus on the Family but the ad’s precursor, Champions for Life, an American Life League production unveiled in 1989 and featuring 1987 Super Bowl heroes, the New York Giants. Among those professing their pro-life convictions without apology is Phil Simms, who as it turns out will be one of the Super Bowl announcers this Sunday. Simms has already told the media that he agrees with Tebow. While this is not surprising to us, it probably is to those who do not know how Champions for Life came to be.
Post reporter David Waters tells the story best:
The year before Tebow was born, New York Giants owner Wellington Mara formed Athletes for Life, which led to production of a bold pro-life video featuring six members of the 1986[-87] Super Bowl champion Giants, including quarterback Phil Simms. Before he died in 2005, Mara became an outspoken board member of the anti-abortion American Life League. "I would like to urge the leaders of our business and professional communities to commit their time, their talents and their treasures to further the cause of the American Life League," Mara said in 1990.
Champions for Life was indeed a historic first in pro-life history, and it is with a joyful heart that all of us at American Life League welcome Tim Tebow and his mother to that elite group of witnesses to life who, even though in the public eye, never apologize for their pro-life convictions. This is as it should be, after all, in a democracy.
Oh yes, and then there is the feminist element to all of this, the reason why the Post opened an unexpected door to excellent coverage for Focus on the Family, American Life League and heroic sports figures. Responding to Kissling and Michelman, American Life League Communications Director Katie Walker put it all in proper perspective. Writing for the Washington Post, she opined,
The excitement surrounding CBS' decision to run a pro-life ad featuring star college quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother during Sunday's Super Bowl is the latest in a series of signs that the pro-life movement is in and the abortion rights movement is on its way out.
As 2009 polls by Gallup, Pew Research Center, Rasmussen Reports and Fox News all have confirmed, a majority of Americans now consider themselves to be pro-life. The entertainment industry is paying attention, as evidenced by the 2009 pro-life episode of Law & Order, a chart-climbing pro-life country song and a popular pro-life American Idol contestant.
And now Tebow, the nation's most popular college football player, is joining the list of pro-life celebrity advocates. What's happening?
Pam Tebow might have the answer. On February 7, tens of millions of Americans will hear a 30-second version of the love story of a mother risking her own life against doctors' recommendations so that her son might live. Pam's story speaks to love, courage, selflessness and the dignity of the human person. It is every mother's story, to a greater or lesser degree, and for young women like me, it's what true femininity is about.
By contrast, the feminist, pro-abortion movement has spent the past 50 years selling a philosophy that is simply unappealing to today's young women. Abortion rights leaders such as Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman just don't get it.
Feminist leaders would have us "Make the 'choice' that's right for you," but that sort of me-first mentality merely produced a generation of self-absorbed, Xanax-popping corporate climbers.
"You not only can, but should do everything men can do and more," we were told growing up. But the result is a generation of exhausted Super Women struggling to do it all and losing themselves in the process.
As Kissling and Michelman stated in their recent commentary in The Washington Post, "abortion is as tough and courageous a decision as is the decision to continue a pregnancy." Women my age have seen too many women make that "courageous" abortion decision and suffer the emotional, physical and spiritual anguish.
So what do young women want? Human rights for all human beings for starters.
Today's young women are rejecting the selfishness of the feminist "me-first" paradigm and embracing the "other." We are embracing a rational, compassionate and selfless call for civil rights — not just for me, not just for woman, but for every human being. Until all human beings — including those in the womb — are recognized as persons under law, any effort for true justice will be undermined. Young women want human personhood and they want it now.
The feminist philosophy young women have been force-fed by the media, by pop culture and by our education system for 50 years has failed in one critical way. It has not and could not dispel the searing images of the 20th century from our brains. It could not convince us that a me-first approach to life was somehow going to safeguard us from another Holocaust, from more racism, more lynchings, more genocide. It could not and will not be able to marry selfishness and love.
We've seen so much pain and suffering, and we yearn for justice. We've seen the pain, death and hatred bred by "make the choice that's right for you," and so we are drawn to the example of Pam Tebow, who 22 years ago in the Philippines chose selflessness, love and justice.
That's what we want.
Amen, Katie! Champions for Life, UNITE!