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The Tebow Superbowl Ad and Pam Stenzel

Tim Tebow The Superbowl ad featuring Tim Tebow (which has yet to be seen) has been causing a big brouhaha lately… with pro-choice groups opposing it to pro-life (anti-abortion) groups defending it. I’ve mostly ignored the situation, but after reading a Facebook note by Pam Stenzel and the accompanying comments, I figured it was time to toss my opinion into the mix.

Note: You can read the public Facebook note above, but you need a Facebook account to access it. You can also read the comments to the note (which I won’t address here), some of which are just as wrong-headed (if not more-so) than Stenzel’s piece.

Just to get it out of the way, I couldn’t care less if CBS shows the ad or not. I doubt if it’s anything over the top. Focus on the Family paid their $2.5 million for the ad, so bully for them. Tim Tebow sounds like a nice guy who’s done some nice charity work and is, evidently, a good football player. He and his family are overtly religious, having beliefs with which I obviously disagree, but they’re entitled to their opinions. Focus on the Family is well-known for its bigotry and intolerance toward homosexuals and pro-choice views, so I have more of a problem with them, but again… free speech.

On to Pam Stenzel’s note…

Stenzel starts with this (emphasis mine).

Tim Tebow’s pro-life ad on the upcoming Super Bowl is sure making the news and making lots of people uncomfortable. 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.

Really? We are? That’s funny, because what I normally see is people telling athletes and other celebrities to shut the hell up and stick to making movies. Since when have we (perhaps this is an exclusive “we” club) wanted our athletes to become political or social commentators?

Interestingly, Stenzel, who titles her post “Tim Tebow and the National Organization for ‘some’ Women!” claims that because of their opposition to the ad, the National Organization for Women isn’t pro-choice… they’re pro-abortion. She says…

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.

Interestingly, her piece never really explains how or why they are pro-abortion instead of pro-choice. Perhaps Stenzel’s low-tolerance worldview sees pro-choice as pro-abortion regardless of who delivers the message? …or perhaps it’s because her statement is blatantly false.

Here’s her summary of the Tebow story.

She [Tim Tebow’s mother] 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, chose life, and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her Heisman Trophy winner son.

It’s the classic “You would have killed Beethoven” argument which Richard Dawkins dissects in his Washington Post op-ed piece. It’s a silly argument for being pro-life. Aside from the fact that it could easily be turned on its head using Charles Manson or Pol Pot or any other “evil” person, it implies that, if only there would be no abortions, there would be more superstars in our midst. Dawkins does a fine job of dismissing it, so there’s no need to dwell on it here.

Stenzel does say that something we can all agree on is that everyone “wishes the ‘need’ for abortions wasn’t so great.” Yes, she put quotes around the word “need.” That aside, yes… I think pretty much everyone could agree that fewer abortions are better (they just don’t agree as to why fewer abortions are better). Stenzel’s solution is abstinence. That’s her whole shtick. However, her disgust and disapproval for anything other than her puritanical version of morality infuses her message, writing statements such as [sic]

“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.”

“We need celebrities who are self-possessed and selfcontrolled 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 until mariage, and to say it out loud.”

“Promiscuity is so the norm that if a stud isn’t shagging everything in sight, we feel faintly ashamed for him. How sad.”

Seriously? Given context, a Superbowl ad featuring bikini-clad women selling beer (I don’t think I’ve seen that one, but I’m looking forward to it) is perfectly appropriate.

I don’t even know what she means by “commitment over decadence.” Commitment to abstinence? Does decadence meaning “sex before marriage?” Perhaps it means “anything short of a Christ-like perfection.”

The absurdity of “practice sexual restraint until marriage” is perhaps revealing. After marriage, guys don’t have to have any restraint? Is that what Stenzel believes? What is bad about pre-marital sex, anyway? She seems to have a blanket problem with it and I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that it’s a biblical objection.

The last statement is an over-the-top straw man caricature that deserves no response other than outright derision.

Stenzel just keeps digging herself in deeper as she goes.

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.

Didn’t she already cover this? Didn’t I already respond with something indicating that that same list of “potential lives” could also include murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, and evil dictators? What about the mothers of those people? Stenzel doesn’t say, but if she were honest, she would include those categories in her list, too. She would also include women who don’t have sex when they ovulate… or men who masturbate.

Then Stenzel continues her rant against NOW.

But when a woman uses her right to choose but chooses life instead of an abortion, NOW has a fit!

No, Stenzel. That’s not the case. They don’t have a problem with a woman choosing to have a child instead of having an abortion. They have a problem with Focus on the Family’s bigoted, anti-choice imposition of their bronze-age values on women. Even though I haven’t seen the commercial, I can place a fairly safe bet that the message, though perhaps subtle, is “If you choose to have an abortion, you’re immoral.” That is what NOW sees as the problem and that is why NOW is actually for all women.

They promote a right to choose.

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