Touchdown Jesus

Nick Baker

Sorry to all of you who expected to read something about the goofiest painting of Christ ever (immaculately?) conceived.

We all know Tim Tebow, the Florida Gators outgoing quarterback known for his ability to run a football and praise God at the same time. He was the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and a member of two BCS National Championship squads.

Tebow is a staunch Christian and often speaks very candidly about his faith, his celibacy, his mission work and all that good stuff.

Well this Super Bowl Sunday, viewers will be treated to a 30-second ad that recounts the story of Pam Tebow, who gave birth to little Timmy back in 1987 while on a mission trip in the Philippines, despite advice from doctors to have her child aborted after she had been seriously ill.

The ad is sponsored by a conservative Christian group called Focus on the Family, an organization based on dealing with family issues such as relationships, parenting and “life challenges,” as it says on the group’s Web site. Of course, under those tabs are the “Donate Now” and “Store” buttons, but I guess even Focus on the Family has to get its hustle up.

I mean, it picked up the tab for a Super Bowl ad, a modest $3 million.

Tebow is entitled to his faith. I have no problems with anyone who is a practicing member of any organization, but for God’s sake (see, I appeal to your interests), not everybody shares those interests.

Now, the ethics of money and theism are irrelevant here, as are my thoughts on them.

Sure, Tim Tebow is a smug, self-righteous, God-is-on-my-side-so-I-am-a-winner type of chap (makes you wonder where He was back in December when the Gators fell to Alabama and missed an opportunity for another national championship as Tebow cried like a baby), but my real beef is with CBS, the network carrying this year’s Super Bowl.

CBS has said amid the controversy that it is happy to be carrying an advocacy ad, and in the words of spokesman Dana McClintock, “We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms.”

God, I hate public relations. What does that even mean?

What it means is that CBS is open to, and even in favor of, running more ads that advocate… something, I guess. That is, as long as that thing is not homosexuality. Not on God’s day. Not on the holiest of all the Sabbaths. Not on Super Bowl Sunday. You better not.

CBS turned down an ad submission from a Toronto-based gay dating service called this year, and in 2004 the network also turned down an ad from the liberal United Church of Christ, which welcomed gays who may have felt disconnected from more conservative Christian churches.

I am not some American idle who is so appalled that someone would bring social issues to light on Super Sunday. I will say that while I am always for a good excuse to be a glutton for a day, Super Sunday is not as hallowed to me as it may be to others. Hell, the Cleveland Browns have never been there, it must not be that cool.

But I digress.

When you have 90 million people watching, it’s not a bad thing to get a handful of them to think. But with an issue as divisive as abortion, it simply is not the time and place to offend people.

And if you want to offend, then at least be more creative. I mean, it is the Super Bowl, and those ads are not like regular ads. You have to come hard.

Here’s how I would have drawn it up, had Focus on the Family hired yours truly:

Pregnant Pam Tebow lay on her back at the line of scrimmage, somewhere inside the red zone, legs spread in the air. Gators down by three. Tim Tebow squats down to be the kick holder. Out pops the fetus. Clean snap, good hold. Tebow puts it down for the placekicker to drill it through the uprights and tie the game. But wait! Tebow keeps it! He scrambles for the end zone! Touchdown! Gators win! And Tebow saves the child from a lousy, three-point game-tying abortion! Tebow’s tears stream over the words Hebrews 12:12.

See. You should always keep your baby.


Are you offended? Yeah, me too.

Nick Baker is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].