'Make fascism look benign': AOC and others blast right-wing 'redeem Jesus' Super Bowl ad campaign
Promoting Christianity at all costs – be it the Bible or Jesus himself – while attempting to impose their personal religious beliefs on American society, the Green family’s efforts are seen as unwelcome by some.
The religious-right billionaire family who founded Hobby Lobby and the Museum of the Bible is one of the main funders of a billion-dollar campaign to “redeem Jesus’ brand,” which crescendoed with multi-million dollar ads declaring “He gets us” during Sunday’s Super Bowl. But unlike other right-wing dark money efforts to change the culture, it appears many Americans are aware of the massive money behind the efforts to polish Christ’s image, tarnished, it appears, by some including those who are trying to clean it up.
“The advertisements seem to recast Jesus for a new era, but their real purpose is rehabilitating pro-Trump evangelicals,” writes MSNBC columnist Sarah Posner, who has written about right-wing religion for over a decade. “To explain why Jesus needed the Madison Avenue treatment, Green cited standard right-wing falsehoods about the government’s supposed persecution of Christians.”
The “He Gets Us” campaign reportedly spent $20 million to help “redeem” Christ’s image, but some, like Posner and others, are pointing to the people behind the campaign, while others are calling the ads fascist or christofascist.
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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) Sunday evening in a tweet seen nearly 10 million times declared, “Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign.”
AOC wasn’t the only one to level accusations like fascism against the “He Gets Us” campaign, including exposing the types of groups and efforts they’re funding.
Popular Information’s Judd Legum notes, “Just FYI, the same group that is financing the ‘He Gets Us’ Jesus ads is also helping finance the lawsuit seeking to ban abortion medication nationwide.” That’s actually the topic of Monday’s Popular Information newsletter.
“Specifically, the group behind the ads, The Signatry, also donated $16.7 million to Alliance Defending Freedom,” Legum says on Twitter. “Alliance Defending Freedom is providing legal representation to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking a nationwide ban on abortion medication.”
Alliance Defending Freedom also appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, and has argued and won several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Burwell v. Hobby Lobby – the same Hobby Lobby founded by billionaire David Green who donated millions to the campaign to rebrand Jesus Christ. That case became a landmark decision finding that, for the first time in the history of American jurisprudence, private, for-profit corporations have a right to religious beliefs.
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“The historical-artifact-smuggling, anti-reproductive-rights family behind Hobby Lobby is also one of the largest donors to the ‘He Gets Us’ Jesus Ads in the Superbowl,” tweeted Missouri 2022 Democratic congressional candidate Randi McCallian Sunday night, tagging her post “#Fascists.”
The Green family including Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, funded and founded the Museum of the Bible in 2010. One year before it opened its doors in 2017 questions arose about the provenance of some of its items, while others blasted it for a lack of transparency.
“The Museum of the Bible in Washington, which has been working to regain credibility by giving back tainted objects in its collection,” The New York Times reported in August, “returned a handwritten gospel that is more than a thousand years old to the Greek Orthodox Church on Tuesday afternoon after determining that it had been looted from a Greek monastery during World War I.”
Two years earlier, in 2020, Christianity Today reported, “Steve Green announces 11,500 more items will be returned to the Middle East.” That same year National Geographic revealed: “‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries.”
The jaw-dropping hubris to try to rebrand Jesus has been met with not only anger, but information. Multiple news outlets, including NCRM, reported on the Green family’s ties to the campaign, which is much larger than David Green — although he appears to be the only one to admit funding the billion-dollar three-year efforts.
The Lever‘s Andrew Perez one week ago reported: “He Gets Us says: ‘We are also about sharing Jesus’ openness to people that others might have excluded.’ Its parent foundation donated $50 million to a right-wing group pushing to ban abortion and allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers.”
Indeed, Perez reports at The Lever, “The Alliance Defending Freedom says it helped draft the 2018 Mississippi abortion law at the heart of the Supreme Court decision last year allowing states to ban the procedure — and also helped argue that case before the high court. This term, the Alliance Defending Freedom is leading a new Supreme Court case arguing that businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers.”
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“The decline in American Christianity is not because Americans don’t know who Jesus is or his values,” observes Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, author of a book on progressive Christianity, Just Faith. The decline is rooted in the most visible forms of American Christianity not looking anything like Jesus. #HeGetsUs reinforces the hypocrisy and will contribute to decline.”
American Atheists’ president Nick Fish on Sunday warned, “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.”
CNN two weeks ago reported on the He Gets Us campaign “to market Jesus.”
Watch below or at this link.
$100 million campaign to promote Jesus will air during Super Bowlyoutu.be
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