Faith for Sale

Okay, so I know this happened a while ago, but do you remember this past Super Bowl™? More importantly, do you remember that Jesus commercial that aired?

When it first came on, it was quite moving and it had me from the jump, wondering which company’s ad this would be. I thought, wow, this advertising firm really did a hell of a job. As it continued to play, it really had me wondering which company’s logo was going to show up at the end. A litany of ideas ran through my mind. Some person announcing that they’re running for President? No. A Kia ad? I mean, nowadays the best ads don’t have anything to do with the actual product or company, so I thought this was as good a guess as any. But then, the end of the commercial came and I was shocked. It was Jesus. It was an actual ad for Jesus. Jesus just ran an ad during the Super Bowl™. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that’s ever happened before. Jesus usually isn’t interested in or moved by the Super Bowl™ despite what fans desperate for a win might think.

Am I wrong in thinking that if any church or faith-based group has the millions of dollars needed to buy airtime during the Super Bowl™, they shouldn’t do that. I’m not religious – like at all, and I’m definitely not a gazillionaire, so I don’t know what it’s like to have that kind of money, but I feel like the millions of dollars this group just threw at a marketing campaign should’ve been used for things that Jesus would actually condone.

I don’t have the Bible memorized word-for-word, but I sure don’t remember a passage like this:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son five million dollars to advertise on national television during the Super Bowl™.”

Seriously, how about housing the homeless? Feeding the hungry? Giving everyone clean drinkable water? More money and humanitarian aid for countries that start with the letter U? You know, good Christian things? Things that will help make the world a better place.

Jesus doesn’t need an ad campaign. You know how I know that’s true? Any time you ask someone, who is Jesus, it’s a solid bet that they’re going to know just who Jesus is. Whether they believe in him heart and soul or whether they don’t believe in him just as strongly, they’re gonna know. And likely have a lot of opinions that they’ll happily share with you. The one thing Jesus doesn’t need is a brand recognition campaign.

And… AND… here’s the sketchy part. The progressive messaging in the ads seems to be at odds with the conservative beliefs of those who actually funded it, which leads me to really question the reasoning for these ads in the first place. The campaign has connections to far-right ideologies, not least of which are anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion laws. They’ve donated tens of millions to an ultra-conservative legal group who is working diligently to curtail LGBTQ rights and promote legislation that would allow for discrimination of marginalized communities. Hobby Lobby is one of their largest contributors. Enough said, if you ask me.

So why then, are they spending millions on Super Bowl™ ads espousing trumped up messaging like “He gets us. All of us?” Is it some convoluted plot? Are they pretending to be a part of the progressive movement to somehow discredit it? Maybe they hope to drive good people who are rightfully incensed at this frivolous spending by a presumably liberal group more towards the alt-right party? Or maybe it’s just all an elaborate scheme to garner donations for programs that are the exact opposite of their televised messaging. Using good folks to fund bad legislation. The irony that what I’m claiming sounds like an alt-right conspiracy theory is not lost on me, but things like this really make me wonder about ulterior motives.

If I’m even a little bit right, the fact that so much money was spent on such a thing is disgusting. If I’m wrong and this is purely a religious group trying to spread the word of God, the fact that so much money was spent on such a thing is disgusting.