Focus on the Family's upcoming Super Bowl spot featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow has been met with a flood of complaints over its controversial subject matter before the ad has even aired.
Tebow and his mother, Pam, will appear in the ad, sharing their personal story about how she opted not to abort him, despite doctor's warnings that he might be stillborn.
Tebow, a senior at the University of Florida, is known for his Christian beliefs and writing Bible verses on his game-day eye black. Focus on the Family is known for lobbying against gay rights, including marriage and parenting rights, to name a few.
To add insult to injury, many are crying foul since CBS refused in 2004 to air a commercial from the United Church of Christ that
promoted the denomination's willingness to accept gay and lesbian members; the network cited its policy against "advocacy advertising." The same
year, during the Super Bowl, CBS also refused to air an ad from
MoveOn.org, a liberal group, which criticized former president George
W. Bush over the growth of the federal deficit.
Some groups are taking action. Change.org has so far recruited more than 1,100 people to contact CBS about its decision to air Focus on the Family's $2.8 million ad. The ad will air once preceding the bowl and again during the big game.
A Facebook group, consisting of nearly 2,200 members as of Thursday
afternoon, is also asking people to contact their local CBS affiliates
to share their displeasure with the decision.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation did not reply to Advocate.com's request for a comment by press time.
A spokesman for CBS told Advocate.com the network would not comment on decisions made in the past.
"Our standards and practices process continues to adhere to a policy
that ensures that all ads on all sides of an issue are appropriate for
air," he said, regarding the Focus on the Family ad.
Despite Focus on the Family's financial troubles — the Colorado
Springs, Colo.–based organization laid off approximately 540 employees
in the past few years — the pricey ad was paid for by a group of "very
generous and committed friends" who pooled funds to put it on
the air, according to a press release. The ad, which will be the
group's first Super Bowl spot, has already been shot.
Since Tebow is no longer an active college football player — though
still a senior at the University of Florida — he does not violate NCAA
rules by appearing in a commercial to denounce abortion.