Super Bowl ads promoting Christianity and Jesus Christ drew several negative reactions after days of anticipation on Sunday night.
The family behind religious craft store chain Hobby Lobby, as well as Christian groups and other anonymous donors, announced a $20 million campaign to purchase two Super Bowl ads on Friday. These ads primarily focused on the idea that “He Gets Us,” a message to reach out to millions of viewers about Jesus Christ.
Prior to the ads’ debut, they were hotly debated on social media as one portrayed Jesus as an unfairly stereotyped refugee to reach out to other marginalized groups who in the past have felt distant from Christianity. By contrast, the other ad advised viewers to “be childlike” in accepting Christ.
As the night continued, reactions to the ads became more negative as Twitter users blasted or mocked what they saw as an insincere attempt to promote religion.
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Conservative podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey wrote, “While I pray God uses the He Gets Us ads to bring people to Christ, the campaign presents a false, worldly Jesus instead of pointing people to the true gospel.”
“As you’re watching the #SuperBowl, just a reminder that the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign is bankrolled by the same people who have funded anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, anti-immigrant, and anti-democracy extremism from the Christian Nationalist movement,” American Atheist president Nick Fish tweeted.
“Aa a proud Christian, I found the Jesus Super Bowl ad pretty cringey,” Biden DNC delegate Christopher Hale remarked.
Former Obama staffer Tommy Vietor joked, “Jesus has a big marketing budget.”
“Imagine how much food you could have bought hungry people for the cost of a Super Bowl ad. Do *that* in Jesus’ name,” Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis wrote.
However, some social media users complimented the ads and promoted them.
Pastor Max Lucado promoted the ad writing, “Jesus welcomed all to the table.”
Disney heiress Abigail Disney commented, “The first Jesus ad was cool with me. I hate that the Christian right has me assuming their gonna day something awful all the time.”
“Loved the @HeGetsUs commercial. Best one so far,” Communications strategist Karen Dumas tweeted.
“Two best ads so far belong to @HeGetsUs & @MichelobUltra,” CNN contributor Scott Jennings wrote.
“Aww that ‘He Gets Us’ ad was very sweet, freelance journalist Martine Paris exclaimed.
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The campaign was originally announced in March 2022 with a plan to spend $2 billion over the next several years to promote Christianity.
“We think Jesus is a big deal and we want to make a big deal out of it,” campaign spokesperson Jason Vanderground said. “What better way to do that than to put him in the biggest cultural moment that we have the entire year?”