Americans like values, but they don’t know which values they like best. The hype over Tim Tebow’s pro-life ad—sponsored by the conservative faith-and-values group Focus on the Family and scheduled to air during Sunday’s Super Bowl—is a case in point. When a corporation uses a television ad to sell us a product (car, gadget, hamburger) that we don’t want or need, or that harms our health, we don’t seem to mind very much. In fact, if that ad promises luscious seminudity or novel ways to crack wise, we tune in eagerly. We analyze, dissect, enjoy. We rehash at the water cooler.
But when an interest group—say, representatives of a religious faith or ideological point of view—engages in such salesmanship, we recoil. “It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way,” Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told reporters.