Feb 2, 2010

Women’s rights group tees off on Tebow

by Mitchell Malcheff

A commercial is set to air during this year’s Super Bowl that will feature former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow along with his mother Pam Tebow. The 30-second spot, paid for by Focus on the Family, will reportedly detail Pam Tebows’s decision to carry Tim Tebow to term despite doctor’s recommendations that she abort him, her fifth child, after becoming sick on a missions trip to the Philippines.

The theme of the ad is “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life,” according to the AP. Despite its concept of celebration, New York-based Women’s Media Center, along with the National Organization for Women, is protesting CBS’s decision to air the ad, which has already been approved by the network. Center President Jehmu Greene has said that the ad will “divide” rather than “unite.” In response, Tim Tebow has asked that his views and convictions be respected.

Ironically, respect is at the heart of the Women’s Media Center. Founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan, the Center works to make women “visible and powerful in media,” decrying the small workforce of women in prominent media positions both in front of and behind the camera.

In that respect, the Center is right. Just 3 percent of “clout” positions in media are held by women despite the fact that women constitute 65 percent of all undergraduate and graduate communications students, according to the Center.

But while the Center is dedicated to reflecting the reality of today’s modern society in media, it is mistaken in attacking CBS, Tebow and Focus on the Family. In a letter to CBS, the Center wrote that Focus on the Family was “anti-equality, anti-choice, and homophobic.”

The Center’s real failing is its utter disregard of viewpoints that differ from its own. Though it works hard on the behalf of women to gain respect in a male-dominated media, its respect apparently does not extend to other perspectives. The tolerance it craves for their own beliefs is in short supply for Focus on the Family.

As the Center sees it, Focus on the Family is a Christian organization, which means it must want women pregnant and barefoot at home so that the men-folk are free to bomb abortion clinics and commit hate crimes against homosexuals.

The reality is that Focus on the Family offers counseling for those struggling with same-sex attraction instead of rejecting them outright. The reality is that Focus on the Family’s refutation of abortion is still in line with the majority of this country’s population and has less to do with women’s rights and more to do with the right to life for the innocent. Focus on the Family calls for a Biblical interpretation of gender equality.

However, because none of those beliefs aligns with the goals of the Center, Focus on the Family is wrong, and by extension, so are Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow. This could have been a unique chance for the Center to celebrate the appearance of a woman with strong convictions in front of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Instead, it has chosen to denigrate those with whom it disagrees. In its attempt to marginalize the conservative voice, it has effectively marginalized its own voice and driven the wedge even deeper between the liberal and conservative agendas.

Hopefully, CBS will air the ad and Tim Tebow’s story will be told. Hopefully, the Center will stop its protesting of an organization it disagree with. The reality, though, is that the respect the Center strives for will never come about until it is willing to extend respect to all viewpoints, not just is own.

Contact Mitchell Malcheff at

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