Christian Retailing

Focus’ Super Bowl ad stirs controversy Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 04 February 2010 03:35 PM America/New_York

Focus on the Family's first Super Bowl ad in the history of the ministry has stirred controversy for its pro-life message.

Along with his mother, Pam, former University of Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow will appear in the 30-second commercial, telling their story of his birth, during CBS Sports' coverage of Super Bowl XLIV, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 7, in Miami.

Pam fell seriously ill during a mission in the Philippines, while pregnant with Tim--her fifth child. Pam's condition was so severe, doctors told her to have an abortion. She refused, and Tim was born healthy Aug. 14, 1987. One of the most decorated players in college football history, Tebow has been outspoken about his faith and has inscribed Bible verse references on his eye black on game days.

"Tim and Pam share our respect for life and our passion for helping families thrive," said Jim Daly, Focus' president and CEO. "Focus on the Family is about ... strengthening families by empowering them with the tools they need to live lives rooted in morals and values."

Centered on the theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life," the ad--which cost about $2.5 million and has been paid for by Focus donors--has sparked a firestorm of controversy. Feminist groups, including the National Organization of Women, and the media have criticized the Tebows for ruining the Super Bowl--which typically draws more than 100 million viewers. CBS has been called hypocritical because the network, in the past, has declined to air advocacy commercials during Super Bowl Sunday.

Meanwhile, Pam Tebow's book, Courageous Parenting: Raising Great Kids in Tough Times--which was scheduled for release this month--has been "put on hold with no date in the future at this point," Zondervan Director of Public Relations Karen Campbell told Christian Retailing. "We have not scheduled this book for publication at this time."