I am very thankful to be a part of the Feminism and Religion project. My blog this week is featured on their site and I wanted to showcase it on my own as well. I hope you enjoy it and please visit: www.feminismandreligion.com to comment and join in the discussion about the f-word in both religion and practice with me and other scholars.
I have to admit, I am the last person that really cares about football. However, when every blog, tweet, and facebook post I read are stating that God is back and He has chosen Tim Tebow as his chosen vessel, I take notice.
For those who may not know, Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Before, he was the starting quarterback for the University of Florida and was the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy (the MVP award for college football). In recent weeks Tim Tebow has led his team to countless victories against innumerable odds while making sure to “Tebow” after every achievement.
“Tebowing” is an action that consists of Tim crouching on one knee, putting his fist to his forehead, and closing his eyes in prayer while he thanks God for everything he has been given. His constant annunciations of his Evangelical faith in the end zone, has created the orotundity in vast media and religious outlets that he is “The Chosen One,” born of a woman of pure faith and conviction because she chose the “right” path when she decided to give Tim life whether than exercising her right to a legal abortion.
“Tebowing” is not Tim’s first encounter with the public regarding his Evangelical faith. In 2010 Focus on the Family, a conservative Evangelical group with ties to anti-gay and anti-femininst campaigns, bought air time to show a controversial and much anticipated commercial where Tim Tebow’s mother talked about why he was her “miracle baby” and why that was a direct result of her choosing “life.”
The actual language of the commercial reads:
PAM TEBOW: I call him my miracle baby. He almost didn't make it into this world. I 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. Everybody treats him like he's different, but to me, he's just my baby. He's my Timmy, and I love him
The slogan for Focus on the Family is “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.” The language of both the commercial as well as the actual organization promotes a negative image to women who chose to have an abortion. Furthermore, the emphasis on life and its “amazing” possibilities, place women in precarious situations. If women choose the “right” path, as Focus on the Family would have you believe, the possibilities for women (read: mothers) are endless! Their tag line should read as: “Don’t Abort! You too could have a Heisman Trophy winning, All-American, quarterback son if you chose life!” However, if women do not buy into this idea and choose to exercise their constitutional right to abortion then they will just end up sad, alone, and without the perfect son.
Focus on the Family even stresses the importance of the gender of the child. Women are supposed to have SONS who will go on to do great things, unlike daughters who will, like their mothers have, produce and care for more children and families. Focus on the Family would not have paid the 1-2 million dollars that advertising space costs during the Super Bowl is Pam Tebow would have had a daughter who was an All-American Volleyball player who now played for the women’s national team resulting in a gold Olympic Games medal.
Focus on the Family creates a negative image for women who are contemplating abortion. In an attempt to undermine a woman’s personal agency, Focus on the Family would rather cloud a woman’s judgment into believing that they too could have the next “Tim Tebow.”
Although the commercial did not live up the media firestorm that preceded it, Tim Tebow’s recent resurgence into American popular culture as God’s “Chosen One,” ultimately reemphasizes the fact that women should choose life no matter what circumstances might be facing them. Whether or not a woman is choosing to carry a child to full term or exercising her constitutional right to have an abortion, Focus on the Family uses Pam Tebow and her son Tim Tebow as tools to drive their message in the hearts and homes of women and families everywhere.
However, the only question they are not asking is: “What happens when your son does not end up like Tim Tebow?”
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