All essential problems run the risk of leading to death or intensify the passion of living. —paraphrasing Albert Camus
If the French existentialist were alive today, he would certainly agree that abortion and homosexuality are two such "essential problems." These are not trivial subjects—life and death are very much at stake in both cases.
Abortion is obvious; if you don't believe homosexuality has mortal consequences, check the suicide rates amongst gay teenagers.
Consequently, neither belongs anywhere close to the National Football League's crown jewel. Many call the Super Bowl the biggest and best sporting event, period. I'll stick with Major League Baseball's World Series, but I can't mount an entirely persuasive argument.
Regardless, the point is that nobody wants what should be an exercise in entertainment ruined by having volatile political issues forced down our throats.
But that's exactly where we are thanks to CBS, Focus on the Family, James Dobson, and Tim Tebow. The conspirators have successfully dropped two of the liveliest political grenades of the 21st Century smack-dab in the middle of America's living room.
On Super Bowl Sunday.
I can't wait.
For the record, this isn't a liberal/conservative thing (at least for me)—I wrote almost the exact same thing when PETA pulled its similar stunt last year. Clearly, both sides of the aisle deserve blame for seeing the world through the lenses of their own hindquarters.
On this occasion, however, it's the conservative Christian right that's bumbled its way into the crosshairs. Even worse, they've managed to hijack college football's golden boy, who is already facing a difficult transition into the professional ranks, before he takes an NFL snap.
This will not help Tim Tebow, not at all. I doubt there were too many pro-life/anti-gay football fans who weren't already on Tebow's side, so this publicity isn't going to swell his ranks.
You can be damn sure it's going to drive some people from his camp, though. There are fewer men and women today than yesterday who will be sympathetic should Tebow struggle out of the NFL gates.
Not a catastrophic development by any means, but it certainly won't make his life easier.
The story about his mother's perseverance through life-threatening illness coupled with pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but it is only half of the story. Holding it up before the public as a celebration of family has a natural and obvious implicit message—those who opt or are forced to have abortions have done something wrong.
If the Tebows have honored the fabric of true family, what have those who made the opposite decision done to it?
Try as they may to spin it, Focus on the Family can't make the argument that the message stops at "hooray for the Tebows."
Another group? Sure. But Focus on the Family is staunchly anti-abortion so obviously they are championing one story to condemn the other with silence—to argue otherwise belies common sense.
Complicating matters is the fact that the Tebows have chosen to align themselves with James Dobson via his brainchild.
Whether the overall organization is a force for progress is debatable; the jury has more than enough evidence to answer the question regarding Dobson.
He's not quite a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson, not yet. Sadly, he is precariously close. This is a bitterly homophobic man—despite all the compelling evidence to the contrary, he still promotes the idea that homosexuality is a learned characteristic trait.
Capable of being "remedied" and a necessary target for treatment because it is fundamentally wrong, i.e. sinful.
Forget James Dobson's stance on gay marriage—many fair and reasonable people are against extending the definition to include same-sex couples. In truth, there is merit to both sides of the argument (as there usually is when "essential problems" arise).
What makes the man dangerous is the "learned trait" school of thought. It at least contributes to suicide rates amongst gay teens that are (at minimum) triple those for heterosexual teens because it presents some teens with a sophisticated question before they are prepared to handle it.
That is, "what do I do if there is something morally 'wrong' with me that I cannot change?"
Some teens are not equipped to fundamentally rebel against the teachings of their church and/or parents. It's no stretch at all to imagine this inability provoking tragic consequences for children.
Perhaps Tim Tebow and company disagree with James Dobson's stance on homosexuality, but the issue is almost moot. The divergence would be a tough sell—endorsing the organization he founded and led until 2003 without endorsing the man is a pretty subtle distinction for a public obsessed with headlines.
Really, exactly who believes what about abortion and/or homosexuality is irrelevant. That the subjects are now part of the discussion is the problem.
Because Super Bowl XLIV should be about the National Football League, its two best teams, and the glory of the gridiron in its purest form.
Instead, the spectacle has been soiled by Red and Blue agendas.
And the former Florida Gator makes sure the mud will stay front and center.
Which means Tim Tebow's mechanics might not be the only area that needs work before he's ready for the League.