Florida’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow will be starring in an ad during the Super Bowl but he won’t be talking about football. Instead, he and his Mom will be talking about abortion. Tebow’s mother had a difficult pregnancy and evidently considered procuring an abortion but she carried the child to term and gave birth to Tim. The ad will be paid for by the rightwing group Focus on the Family.
This is not Tebow’s first step beyond the normal limits of football player commentary, which is generally limited to a discussion of why a certain pass play worked or how the other team’s defense managed ten sacks. Throughout the year, Tebow would write a biblical verse in the eye black that football players place under their eyes to cut down on glare. I always find it demeaning to the scriptures anytime someone uses the Good Book in a facile way, but we make allowances for youth and Mr. Tebow is young.
Mr. Tebow is entitled to put whatever he wants under his eyes and to speak out on any issue he wishes. And, in the event, women who face a difficult pregnancy but opt to carry their child to term are real heroes and we should celebrate their heroism. But, here, the celebration of his Mom’s heroics will be heard only because of the cult of celebrity that surrounds her famous son and with which our culture fascinates itself. And, for every Tim Tebow celebrating life there will be a Tiger Woods behaving badly.
I do not really care what Mr. Tebow has to say on any political issues of the day. Nor do I care what Barbra Streisand has to say on any issues of the day. Fame is not an intellectual provenance and Bible-quoting eye black is not evangelization. I will watch the ad, and I will cheer for his Mom.