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If you tuned in to watch the Super Bowl this past Sunday night, then you were among nearly 40% of all other U.S. households watching the big game. Super Bowl Sunday holds the record of being TV’s most-watched game day of the year; some 80-90 million Americans are watching their televisions at any given time during the game. With ratings like these, there is no wonder why some advertisers are willing to pay as much as $3 million for a 30-second commercial.
I can usually count on a few good laughs out of the commercials they play but hesitate to say so because much of the advertising these days has grown increasingly distasteful. With the overuse of sexual influence, graphic vulgarity and crude humor, much of what was completely unacceptable just twenty years ago is now completely part of our cultural norm.
And while this year was really no different than before, among some of the more controversial commercials displayed during the Super Bowl this year included one that I found intriguing in a completely different way.
The Christian-based organization, Focus on the Family, aired a commercial featuring the Florida Gators quarterback, Tim Tebow and mom, Pam, who were subtly campaigning for the right-to-life of unborn babies.
Days and weeks before its public unveiling, a countless number of people were speaking out against the commercial asserting that FF had no right to push their beliefs on unsuspecting viewers and that they should be ashamed for taking advantage of the American public in such a way. But isn’t that exactly how television advertising works?
Regardless of the claims made by those who were otherwise offended by the premise behind the advertisement, a quick recap of the thirty second television spot shows the commercial as practically harmless and possibly without a very strong argument.
In the commercial, Tebow’s mother Pam, talks about the fears she had while carrying Tim due to complications that were endured during the pregnancy. She called Tim her “miracle baby,” and said that she still worries about his health. “I remember so many times when I almost lost him. It was so hard,” says Pam, suggesting that abortion was an option she had but did not succumb to although fully aware of the possible outcome of the pregnancy. The end of the advertisement included an invitation for viewers to visit the Focus on the Family website for more information and poised a “Celebrate Life” slogan to advocate the pro-life movement.
But it makes me wonder, what message was heard more loud and clear?
Many viewers only heard the testimony of a woman whose son went on to become a Heisman Trophy winner and star quarterback because his mother chose not to abort him. But is this a strong enough argument for the right to life? Many would argue, no.
The message that I believe Focus on the Family hoped to achieve through this ad campaign is that Pam Tebow illustrates a picture of a mother with a strong will to fight for her baby’s life, even when out of her own control, because of her obedience to God to preserve the precious gift of life. After all, abortion is really not a matter of a woman’s right to choose life; but rather, a matter of life or death of a human being that has been created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27, Psalm 139:13-16).
Why this message is offensive to those standing on the pro-choice side of the fence will always be somewhat of a mystery to those of us who subscribe to the Christian faith and true obedience to God. And it is only by His great mercy and love shall this generation prevail over the tragic choice that society has been allowed to decide regarding the right to life.
There is no sin too great for the forgiveness Jesus offered when he gave his life on the cross. And rather than letting us die in our sins, God chose the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus, so we can live and be forgiven.
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