What Tim Tebow Should Have Said
Hi, my name is Tim Tebow, and I’d like to tell you my story.
When my mother was pregnant with me, she suffered a dangerous pregnancy complication called a placental abruption. The complication put not only my life in serious danger, but hers as well. The doctors counseled an abortion, as they always do when a pregnancy puts the life of the mother at risk. My mother faced a difficult and painful choice.
She decided to continue with the high-risk pregnancy. The doctors worked very, very hard to keep my mother and myself healthy and alive. Fortunately, they were successful. My family was very lucky. Many others in that situation aren’t.
Since then, I’ve tried to see every day of my life as a gift. I’m blessed to have the support of my friends and family, and everything I’ve accomplished on the field and off has been a reflection of their love and devotion.
Recently, my family was approached by a large right-wing political group, asking for us to tell our story as part of a larger initiative to turn public opinion against the currently legal practice of abortion. My family and I obviously have strong feelings on the subject, and as Christians we have a special fellowship with the organization in question.
Nonetheless, I have declined their offer, and I’d like to tell you why.
My family’s story is real. It is the story of unimaginable agony, sleepless nights, countless tears and silent prayers. It is a story of the beautiful, fragile triumph of hope over a despair that seemed insurmountable. It is a story shared by many people, repeated countless times over the globe, every day. Many times these stories don’t end happily.
So I cannot in good conscience allow any organization, however well-meaning, to manipulate my story into a cheap morality tale for the furtherance of a political cause. How could I? How could I look my mother in the eye, and tell her she made a “right” choice as opposed to a “wrong” one, as if it were a simple binary equation? To look my mother in the eye is to see a woman whose love was so strong, she was willing to sacrifice her life for a child she might never meet.
I wonder if Focus on the Family, nominally a Christian organization, is familiar with a certain individual who made a similar choice, some two millennia ago.
In a perfect world, perhaps.
The actual Focus on the Family Super Bowl commercial was tame (ironic when a FotF ad is among the least overtly misogynistic ads in a given time slot), erring on the side of vague flufferies and subtext. I haven’t bothered to see the continuation of the Tebow story on their website, partly due to fear of driving up their web traffic, and partly as a self-preservation measure designed to stop me from throwing up. I doubt I’m missing much, but if you’ve a stronger constitution than I, let me know if I’ve missed some startling plot twist.
So what should we do with you, Tim Tebow? It’s cute that FotF thinks your ability to accurately throw an oblong ball over long distances somehow qualifies your conviction that 50% of the American population should be stripped of their reproductive sovereignty as “worthy of consideration in the public discourse”, but… but YOU, Tim Tebow. You you you. What should we make of you?
It’s easy now, +2 decades after the fact, to reflect and think “My mother made a moral choice in accordance with God’s will, and she was blessed because of it.” Easier still, perhaps, because the situation turned out in your favor. The storm passed, the clouds broke, everyone survived. Hosanna.
But to acknowledge the danger of the situation is to acknowledge that people frequently perish in said situation. Did they all make the “wrong” choice, Tim? Would you tell that to my aunt and uncle, holding their stillborn daughter in their arms for the first and last time? Would you tell that to a would-be father coming home to a silent house and a sweet-smelling depression in the sheets where his lover used to lay?
And are you wondering, Tim, why Focus on the Family isn’t talking to those families?
There were a million reasons to say no when Focus on the Family came knocking, only some of which I mentioned in my idealist counterfactual exercise above. All of the reasons valid, not all of them pro-choice, some of them even *GASP* biblically sound!
But no. You hocked your family’s suffering to the highest bidder; you allowed them to commodify that suffering and sacrifice it on that high altar of mass consumption – a Super Bowl commercial break. Which, I suppose, was the Christian thing to do.