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Advertise on the Tentacle

February 26, 2010

Focus on the Message

Joe Charlebois

Celebration of family and celebration of life are not family values, they are views filled with hate and discrimination. Huh?


Just this week, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) removed a banner ad from its website. It was sponsored by the organization Focus on the Family.


Focus on the Family is a traditional values organization that “… is a global non-profit Christian organization with a vision for healing brokenness in families, communities and societies worldwide through Christ. The purpose of the ministry is to strengthen, defend and celebrate the institution of the traditional family and to highlight the unique and irreplaceable role that it plays in God’s larger story of redemption.”


The “offensive” message that Focus on the Family created, and which has subsequently been pulled from the NCAA website read: “All I want for my son is for him to grow up knowing how to do the right thing.” It was followed by a tag line – “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.”


The message of this ad as well as the Super Bowl ad featuring Pam Tebow and Florida Gator’s quarterback, Tim Tebow, are as generic and positive as any on the air.


Last month the uproar over CBS’s decision to air the Focus on the Family ad was met with outrage from left-wing critics who – without seeing the ad or reading the script – branded it as controversial, anti-abortion, anti-woman etc. N.O.W.’s (The National Organization of Woman) Erin Matson in an interview with ABC’s Brinda Adhikari stated, "This ad is frankly offensive. It is hate masquerading as love. It sends a message that abortion is always a mistake."


What is this hate that this organization promotes?


Pam Tebow: “I call him my miracle baby… He almost didn’t make it into this world…. I can remember so many times when I almost lost him… It was so hard… Well he’s all grown up now and I still worry about his health… You know with all our family has been through we have to be tough…. (Mrs. Tebow tackled by her son) Timmy! I’m trying to tell our story here.”

 Tim Tebow: “Sorry ‘bout that Mom.”

(Cut to Focus on the Family website information on the Tebow story)

Tim Tebow: “You still worry about me, Mom?”

Pam Tebow: “Well yeah you’re not nearly as tough as I am!”

The Super Bowl ad was not hate filled, it was a message of a mother’s love. The banner ad that ran on several of CBS directed websites including the NCAA site was even less “controversial.” Yet it did not meet the NCAA’s standards as positive.


The opposition to the NCAA-pulled banner had more to do with the sponsor than the message. The message, as innocuous as it is, had many opponents to Focus on the Family attempting to read between the lines of the message. “Life” obviously means anti-abortion and “Family” obviously means Mom, Dad and child.


Even though this Christian organization is Pro-Life, and against gays marrying, doesn’t mean that these ads are offensive or even hate-filled or discriminatory. To the contrary these ads are positive messages.


Who doesn’t want their son growing up and choosing to do the right thing? Would you rather he makes a bad choice? Who doesn’t celebrate the fact that Pam Tebow made the tough decision contrary to medical advice and chose to keep her child?


The fact that the NCAA would pull this banner from its website is cowardly at best. It bent to the voices of a few.


From Eric Gorski’s Associated Press report on February 24th, the NCAA’s spokesman, Mr. Bob Williams stated: “The NCAA made the decision after some of its members — including faculty and athletic directors — expressed concern that the evangelical group's stance against gay and lesbian relationships conflicted with the NCAA's policy of inclusion regardless of sexual orientation.”

Further in Gorski’s piece, Mr. Williams notes that advertisers "should be generally supportive of NCAA values and attributes and/or not be in conflict with the NCAA's mission and fundamental principles.”


Where does Focus on the Family differ from the fundamental principles and values of the NCAA?


When such a simple message of right and wrong is deemed as hate speech by the NCAA simply because the promoting group is Christian and holds to traditional values, what type of message does that send to our collegiate athletes?


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