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GLAAD Calls on CBS to Explain Decision to Air Tim Tebow 'Focus on the Family' Super Bowl Ad

Late today, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) finally joined the chorus of those expressing concern about a Focus on the Family ad CBS plans to run during the Super Bowl featuring University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow.

2_tebow In 2004, CBS rejected an ad about tolerance from the United Church of Christ in which the UCC's inclusive policies were highlighted by showing a bouncer stationed at a church door with a velvet rope turning away gays and minorities.

Said GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson: "CBS’s decision to run a Focus on the Family ad during this year’s Super Bowl can’t and shouldn’t be considered in a vacuum. CBS spent years denying a platform to an LGBT-inclusive church that wanted to share a message of inclusion with a national audience. Now, when it happens to be financially inconvenient for CBS to hold to the standard it had previously imposed, the network’s expediency benefits a virulently anti-gay organization whose advocacy on these issues is the antithesis of that of the United Church of Christ."

GLAAD asks people to call CBS to express their concern but falls short of asking the network to reject the ad as a coalition of women's groups did this week, instead calling on the network to explain its decision.

CBS spokesman Dana McClintock explained the network's position earlier this week: "We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms. In fact, most media outlets have accepted advocacy ads for some time."

According to an AP article published earlier this week, "CBS also told the AP that, under its new policies, the UCC ads would have been accepted for airing."

Rev. J. Bennett Guess, Director of Communications for the United Church of Christ told GLAAD: "CBS’ about-face only underscores the arbitrary way the networks approach these decisions, and the result is a woeful lack of religious diversity in our nation's media. Such flip-flops only lead the public to believe that broadcasters own the airwaves when, in theory at least, they do not. This April, in an attempt to reach newer audiences, the UCC does plan to unveil a new 30-second commercial with purchased spots on internet sites; however, our media-buying plan, at present, does not include national TV. But the larger issue of access remains, not just for the UCC but for all religious groups. When and if the UCC does return again to CBS or another network, will our distinctive religious viewpoint be heard or will there be yet another policy change?"

Women's Groups Urge CBS to Scrap Tebow Focus on the Family Ad


A coalition of women's groups — the New York-based Women's Media Center, the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups — asked CBS to reject a Super Bowl ad featuring University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother placed by anti-gay, pro-life evangelical group Focus on the Family, the AP reports.

Said the coalition's letter: "By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers."

According to the WaPo, "[Focus spokesman Gary] Schneeberger said CBS officials carefully examined Focus on the Family's track record and found no basis for rejecting the ad."

Schneeberger keeps talking about the content of the ad, which is not why people are objecting. It's the organization, stupid:

Focus on the Family donated $727,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California. Its founder, James Dobson, has been outspoken against gay issues, most recently the federal hate crimes bill.

And where is our advocacy group on this? Why hasn't GLAAD fired off a letter to CBS? Where's the part in the AP story about that???

Above, Tebow at a weigh-in today for the Senior Bowl (via TMZ). Tebow defended his participation in the ad over the weekend.

Tim Tebow Shoots Super Bowl Ad for Anti-Gay Focus on the Family [tr]
Tim Tebow Defends Participation in Super Bowl Ad for Evangelical Anti-Gay, Pro-Life Group Focus on the Family [tr]

Tim Tebow Defends Participation in Super Bowl Ad for Evangelical Anti-Gay, Pro-Life Group Focus on the Family

University of Florida football quarterback Tim Tebow was asked about his participation in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial for evangelical anti-gay, pro-life organization Focus on the Family.

Said Tebow: "I know some people won't agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe, and I'm never shy about that. I don't feel like I'm very preachy about it, but I do stand up for what I believe. Unfortunately in today's society not many athletes tend to do that. So I'm just standing for something. I've always been every convicted of it (being anti-abortion), because that's the reason I'm here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it."

Tintebow Tebow has made his role as a "servant of God" clear before. In a GQ profile, complete with shirtless pin-up photo, Tebow said: "When you die, there's gonna be a tombstone, and on that tombstone there's gonna be a name, and there's gonna be a date. And for me, it's going to be 1987, and then it's gonna have a dash.… I want that dash to mean something. I want that dash to be special. I want that dash to represent that Tim Tebow finished strong. And most importantly, when I get to heaven, I want Jesus to say, well done, my good and faithful servant."

Networks have policies rejecting issue advertising in national spots, the NYT reports: "That is one reason why the decision by CBS to sell time to Focus on the Family is raising eyebrows. Another reason is that in the past CBS has rejected requests to buy issue ads during Super Bowl games. A third reason is that the founder of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, has been a polarizing figure in recent years in discussions of social and political issues."

CBS Sports Columnist Gregg Doyel slammed the CBS decision in a column last week: "Apparently the commercial has a beautiful, undeniable message. Tebow's mother suffered a life-threatening infection during that pregnancy, and doctors advised her to abort the baby. She didn't. She named him Tim. Just typing this paragraph gives me goose bumps. The commercial might just make me cry. Still, I don't want to see. Not during the damn Super Bowl. And I'm not complaining about the ad because it's anti-abortion and I'm not. I'm complaining about the ad because it's pro-politics. And I'm not. Not on Super Sunday. If you're a sports fan, and I am, that's the holiest day of the year. That's a day for five hours of football pregame shows and four hours of football game and three hours of postgame football analysis. That's a day for football addicts to gorge themselves to the gills on football. It's not a day to discuss abortion. For it, against it, I don't care what you are. On Super Sunday, I don't care what I am. Feb. 7 is simply not the day to have that discussion."

Bounce CBS has reportedly approved the Focus ad: " CBS executives approved a script for a Super Bowl spot from evangelical group Focus on the Family, which suggests the ad will not carry a pro-life message — at least an overt one. The network has a policy of prohibiting advocacy ads, even ones that carry an 'implicit' endorsement for a side in a public debate. A CBS spokesman did say the network will review the video version of the spot before giving it the final green light, but does not anticipate any hurdles."

The rules are fuzzy enough, however, Think Progress reports, that networks can skirt them.

In 2004, CBS rejected an ad about tolerance from the United Church of Christ in which the UCC's inclusive policies were highlighted by showing a bouncer stationed at a church door with a velvet rope turning away gays and minorities. The Guardian has posted a bunch of Super Bowl ads rejected by networks.

Watch the UCC ad which was rejected, AFTER THE JUMP...

A Facebook group has been formed to demand that CBS either reject the Tebow - Focus on the Family ad or give the United Church of Christ the opportunity it was denied in 2004 to air an ad about tolerance.

Tony Joiner's Touchdown Kiss for Tim Tebow Causes Stir [tr]

Continue reading "Tim Tebow Defends Participation in Super Bowl Ad for Evangelical Anti-Gay, Pro-Life Group Focus on the Family" »

Tim Tebow Shoots Super Bowl Ad for Anti-Gay Focus on the Family


Tim Tebow, the University of Florida quarterback known to inscribe Bible verses into his eye black, has shot a commercial for anti-gay Christian group Focus on the Family set to air during the Super Bowl. The likely message of the ad, which he shot with his mother, is anti-abortion:

"Pam Tebow contacted amoebic dysentery while on a Philippines mission, and the bacterial infection sent her into a coma. Upon recovery, doctors urged Pam to have an abortion because of the damage to her body. Tebow was born healthy on Aug. 14, 1987... Jim Daly, Focus on the Family president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that the Tebows’ message about family comes at the right moment in the culture because 'families need to be inspired.' The commercial was shot in Orlando. 'Tim and Pam share our respect for life and our passion for helping families thrive,' Daly said. 'Focus on the Family is about … strengthening families by empowering them with the tools they need to live lives rooted in morals and values.' Super Bowl ads are expected to run around $2.8 million dollars for the 100 million viewers. But the Tebows produce financial draw."

Focus on the Family donated $727,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California. Its founder, James Dobson, has been outspoken against gay issues, most recently the federal hate crimes bill.

The ad is the first Super Bowl ad in FoF's history.

News: A-Rod, Ballot Measures, Rio, The Universe, Cubs, Uganda


NYT: Six tests for equality and fairness. "Three jurisdictions — New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia — seem tantalizingly close to securing legislative approval for measures ending the hurtful and unjustifiable exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage. But in Maine, Washington State and Kalamazoo, Mich., voters are being asked on Tuesday to strip away vital rights and protections."



Adam Lambert and Ferras glam it up on Halloween in West Hollywood.


A-Rod's art collection? "He was so vain. He had not one, but two painted portraits of himself as a centaur. You know, the half man, half horse figure? It was ridiculous."


West Hollywood woos gay tourists.


LGBT liaison Dani Lee Harris wears uniform in Atlanta Pride parade: "Harris's decision comes after this week announcing she wouldn't wear her uniform due to backlash from some in the LGBT community over having the police represented in such a high-profile manner during the Atlanta Pride parade after the controversial police raid of gay bar the Atlanta Eagle.



This is the average color of the universe.


Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) urges Hillary Clinton to condemn bill proposed in Uganda that would increase penalties for "aggravated homosexuality" up to and including the death penalty. Here are some of the details on the community discussions of that bill. France slams proposal.


Hugh Jackman turns down offer to host the Oscars for a second year.



Chicago Cubs become first major-league sports franchise with lesbian owner, Laura Ricketts: "On Oct. 30, the Ricketts family were announced as the new owners of the Cubs, buying the team, Wrigley Field and a share in Comcast SportsNet Chicago for $845 million from the Tribune Co, according to MLB.com. Pete, Todd, Tom and Laura make up the board of directors, with Tom as chairman, NBC.com added. "


Study: "Illegal" music file-sharers spend more money buying music.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 video game spot pulled after outrage over "FAGS" acronym.


Gay groups to protest Focus on the Family conference in Birmingham, Alabama. In related news, James Dobson is exiting the group in February.


Robert Pattinson does Vanity Fair.


Male model fix: Matt Loewen.


NYT's Deborah Solomon interviews Maine governor John Baldacci.


Dan Savage: A Halloween tale about why we're winning.



One million celebrate rainy Pride in Rio.


NYT on Referendum 71 in Washington and the attempt by Protect Marriage Washington to keep private the names of signers of the petition to get it on the ballot: "The case, legal experts say, could chart new territory well beyond Washington State. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which had ordered the release of the signatures, said the case presented 'novel questions of whether referendum petition signatures are protected speech under the First Amendment.'”


World's largest cruise ship sets sail from Finland, heads for Florida.


Ethan Hawke praises Madonna for speaking out for Romania's Gypsies: "She transcended being a pop star. She drew international attention and shone the spotlight on a level of racism and the need for greater education."


White House visitor logs opened... BBC: "The White House put some 480 visitor records online on Friday in response to specific requests for information. The newly-released data covers a period from 20 January to 31 July and includes about 100 meetings with Mr Obama. From December, all visitor records will be posted, as part of President Obama's pledge on greater transparency."

In Cash Crunch, Focus on the Family Hands Off 'Ex-Gay' Events

James Dobson's Focus on the Family, short on funds, has made a plea to investors and ceded control of its "ex-gay" confabs to another right-wing religious organization:

Dobson "Focus on the Family, founded by child psychologist James Dobson, is on pace to fall $6 million short of a $138 million budget for the fiscal year that began last October, spokesman Gary Schneeberger said...Focus on the Family also announced Tuesday it would no longer stage 'Love Won Out' conferences across the country. The events drew both participants and picketers for their promise to 'help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome.' The events will go on, instead staged by Orlando, Fla.-based Exodus International, a network of ministries whose core message is 'Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.' Schneeberger said it made strategic sense for Exodus, which is expanding its work with churches, to take over the conferences starting in November."

The American Psychological Association announced the results of a two-year study on "ex-gay" therapy last week, saying it doesn't work, and urging doctors to tell patients to "explore possible life paths that address the reality of their sexual orientation."


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