Okay. So we learned two things last night:
One: During the Super Bowl this year, Focus on the Family has purchased (probably for about $3 million) a 30-second commercial spot. This spot will consist of an ad starring Tim Tebow and his mum talking about how awesome it was that he wasn’t aborted, and that if you don’t abort your fetus, it’s likely they will go on to win the Heisman, too…or something. [Background–Tebow played for the Gators and often used his eye black to display his favorite bible verses. His mum is a Christian missionary who brainwashed home-schooled all her children, for religious reasons].
Two: Trijicon, the now sole provider of certain high-powered rifles to the United States marine corps and special forces, has been inscribing New Testament verses on the coding of all their rifles. This is even though the U.S. Military prohibits “proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and (the rule was) drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious “Crusade” in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.” Some of these guns are then given to the Iraq and Afghan security forces, along with copies of the New Testament translated into their language. [But no, this isn’t a crusade!]
Both these stories are disturbing–both because each group (FotF and Trijicon) are foisting bible verses/religious talkingpoints on people in ways that they cannot really avoid. Obviously, #2 is much worse, seeing as they’re basically breaking military rules (even though the military awarded them a huge contract anyway). But both messaging methods are insidious, because they automatically turn whoever is using or watching these nonreligious materials/events into a user, an unbeknownst or otherwise promoter, or at the very least making them have an opinion or reaction to something in a very inappropriate context. Hey FotF–we’d love to have an intelligent, congenial conversation with you about how we feel about abortion, but can’t we just enjoy our beer, wings, and football in peace? Just because the Saints are playing, it doesn’t mean you get carte blanche to hem and haw about what might not get you into those pearly gates. And let’s remind you that Tim Tebow’s mum chose to keep her son. In the world you’re looking to create, she would have no choice–the choice would’ve been her doctor’s. You remember them? They’re the ones who told her she should abort the baby for fear she might be in severe, mortal peril should she carry Tim to term. And what’s that, FotF? You say that abortion should be illegal except in cases of extreme risk to the mother. So puzzle that one out for us.
Basically, m.snowe doesn’t mind that people want to speak about what they believe in, even if she absolutely disagrees with their viewpoint. But there are better times and places for this. And whenever you have to employ sneaky messaging, it’s like you’re sticking children’s medicine in applesauce–only this medicine might be poison. The examples above aren’t the right times or places. But if you’re going to play that way, m.snowe has a few new business ideas (if any of her readers are feeling philanthropic and want to be an investor for any of these ideas, please let m.snowe know):
–Condoms and Day After pills that have bible verses about the angel’s visitation to Mary printed on them.
–Communion wafers with the Planned Parenthood logo secretly stamped into the corners.
–Pro-Choice ads to run before all Disney animated features.
–Richard Dawkins quotes used as hangman answers on the back of Frosted Flakes cereal boxes.