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Super Bowl's Slippery Slope: Advertising and Free Speech

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I have to start off with an admission. I haven't watched the Super Bowl in over twenty years. Bone crushing violence does nothing for me. I prefer the cerebral match up of a pitcher and a batter. That being said, I realize that this sporting event is a major occurrence for families all over the country. (The closest I come to that kind of extravaganza is the Academy Awards.) I appreciate the group experience that transpires as friends and relatives gather around to enjoy communal entertainment. I have heard that the match up between the Colts and the Saints could bring record viewership. Which brings me to the question, what was CBS thinking when it decided to feature an ad by Focus on the Family?

This issue has been examined and parsed since CBS announced that one of its 30-second spots had been purchased by an organization that espouses "traditional Christian values." Their morals are laid out on their website and include: "God's Design for Marriage; Counseling for Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions; The Sanctity of Human Life."

Why would CBS choose to feature a message underwritten by a group with a definitive religious agenda, in a country that is predicated on the separation of church and state? Although the ad has been under wraps, it has been widely circulated that it features the story of Tim Tebow's mother. She decided not to terminate her pregnancy, which led to Tim's birth. Tebow is a recipient of the Heisman Trophy, and as the quarterback for the Florida Gators, has set numerous records with his achievements on the field.

William Saletan, in a Slate post, took a look at the full medical complications that faced Pam Tebow. He reported that "according to Pam's account in the Gainesville Sun, she contracted amoebic dysentery and went in [to] a coma shortly before the pregnancy. To facilitate her recovery, she was given heavy-duty drugs. Afterward, doctors told her the fetus was damaged. They diagnosed her with placental abruption, a premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. They predicted a stillbirth and recommended abortion." The subtext is that she rejected that option.

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