Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow knows how to play offense. He also knows to expect opposition. Unfortunately, off the field, there's no one to throw a flag when the other side plays rough.
But that's exactly what's been happening. Earlier this week, Focus on the Family announced that University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, and his mother Pam, would appear in a 30-second commercial on Super Bowl Sunday. The theme of the ad sponsored by Focus, and now raising such ire, is simply "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life."
Focus on the Family's spokesperson, Gary Schneeberger, said the ad's goal "is to ... help folks who are watching come to us if they're struggling in their marriage or struggling raising their children." Three cheers for Focus.
While I've yet to see the ad myself, anyone familiar with Tebow's story and faith should have an idea of what to expect. Tim's parents were missionaries in the Philippines when Pam found out she was expecting. After a series of grave complications, doctors encouraged her to abort the baby. The parents refused. Born small and weak, Timmy struggled from the beginning, but overcame the odds.
In his sophomore year playing for the University of Florida he earned the Heisman trophy. He also led his team to two BCS championships during his college career.
When he's not wearing shoulder pads and his famous eye-black interlaid with Bible verses, Tebow is also shining off the field. During his college career, he spent spring breaks and summers ministering to orphans in the Philippines. Meanwhile, on free weekends, you could often find him behind bars, reaching out to prisoners.
Now as Tebow prepares himself for the NFL draft day, news of the 30-second spot is creating a terrific stir.
The National Organization for Women and a host of other organizations are pressuring CBS to pull the ad. Many, including ABC News, are calling it too "political."
Please. People need to understand one thing: The political always involves morality; but not all morality is political. When I joined with others to launch the Manhattan Declaration, the press said the same thing — just another political move by the religious right. But it's not. It's not political for the church or for believers to proclaim their deepest convictions in public.
Sadly, you could almost predict this was going to happen. Here's a young man telling his own life experience, showing the beauty of a life well-lived. And the only way pro-choice critics can attack that is to label it "political" and demand a retraction.
Thankfully, CBS executives, so far at least — you need to pray they'll stay this way — are standing by the decision to air the ad. And you can support Tim's bold stance by watching the ad on Super Bowl Sunday or going to Focus' website after the game. There you can view the ad and forward it to those who may need this uplifting message.
Tebow and Focus on the Family are calling the right play. Like any good team, they are playing offense — advancing the values of human dignity, and using one of the most watched evenings of television to open arms to those who may be hurting and alone.
That's a play Jesus called love, and it's the oldest and best play in His playbook.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.