A Christian campaign planning to air two Super Bowl ads to promote Jesus as a loving and accepting figure is reportedly affiliated with anti-LGBTQ+ causes.
The “He Gets Us” campaign, which is not affiliated with a specific church or denomination, has already been airing ads during NFL playoffs. One of the ads says “Jesus disagreed with loved ones. But didn’t disown them.”
Trying to connect him to the modern age, one ad also says Jesus was “an influencer who became insanely popular” but was then “canceled” because he “stood up for something he believed in.”
The ads are designed in such a way that viewers don’t know they are religious until the end.
“We simply want everyone to understand the authentic Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible — the Jesus of radical forgiveness, compassion, and love,” states the website of the campaign.
And yet, He Gets Us is a subsidiary of the Servant Foundation, which, according to Lever, has donated over $50 million to the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom.
Alliance Defending Freedom identifies itself as a “legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.” The Southern Poverty Law Center describes it as a hate group. ADF has joined with like-minded organizations in Europe in support of forced sterilization of transgender individuals and has represented numerous anti-LGBTQ+ plaintiffs in pivotal legal battles for LGBTQ+ rights. The organization has also been a large force behind the anti-abortion movement.
According to Christianity Today, the Super Bowl ads are part of a three-year, one billion-dollar campaign, with $20 million of that going toward its two-game day ads.
And according to Jason Vanderground, President of the branding firm Haven that is working on the campaign, “That is just the first phase.”
Among the donors to the campaign is billionaire David Green, co-founder of Hobby Lobby.
In addition to being called out for its affiliation with the Alliance Defending Freedom, the ads have been criticized by some Christians as well, who say that encouraging people to identify with Jesus is not as important as promoting his divinity.