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He Gets Us Super Bowl Ads About Jesus Spark More Controversy Than Rihanna’s Halftime Performance

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L: Screenshot from YouTube / @NFL R: Screenshot from YouTube / @He Gets Us

The Super Bowl event that seems to be generating more criticism from Christians (and non-Christians) than the halftime show this year, was the airing of two ads from the He Gets Us campaign. The first was titled “Be Childlike,” while the second, more visceral ad was titled, “Love Your Enemies.”

“*Sam Smith performs at Grammys* ‘it was demonic!’ (I agree here but I wasn’t shocked),” tweeted author and podcast host Ameen Hudson. “*Rihanna performs at Super Bowl* ‘This is worldly and demonic too!!! She wore red!!’ *He gets us ads show* ‘These suck! Worst ads of the night! No one likes these weak and woke Jesus ads! They’re not preaching a solid Gospel anyway!’ Or ‘Why spend this much on ads and not do something else with the money!?’ *sigh*”

He Gets Us Super Bowl Ads Under Fire

The Philadelphia Eagles faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on Feb. 12. Despite a high ankle sprain that was clearly causing him pain, two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to their second Super Bowl win in four years with a final score of 38 to 35. 

Amid the buzz about the game, some reacted to Rihanna’s halftime performance, which featured the singer in a vivid red outfit performing her hits while surrounded by dancers dressed in white. During the performance, in which the singer revealed she was pregnant, Rihanna grabbed at her crotch and butt. This prompted controversial pastor Mark Driscoll to tweet, “If Rihanna & Sam Smith had a baby the first name would be Anti & the last name Christ.”

Pro-life advocate Abby Johnson’s take on the performance focused on Rihanna’s pregnancy: “Dear Pro-Abortion Mob: Rihanna didn’t need to kill her unborn children to be successful. She’s a billionaire and just performed at the super bowl while pregnant with her second child. Take a couple lessons from her.”

“Of course White evangelical men are calling Rihanna demonic,” tweeted author Kyle J. Howard. “She’s Black, beautiful, & they ‘want her’ while knowing they can’t have her. Y’all ain’t know? Women they lust after & can’t control or ‘have’ are always labeled demonic; especially if they are melanated.” 

However, two ads seeking to point viewers to Jesus have arguably generated more controversy, including among non-Christians, than Rihanna’s performance. Both were from the He Gets Us campaign. The first ad, shows a series of images and a video of children and concludes with the text, “Jesus didn’t want us to act like adults. He gets us. All of us.” The screen then shows the word, “Jesus” and directs viewers to the link, “HeGetsUs.com/BeChildlike.”

The second ad, titled “Love Your Enemies,” shows a highly emotional series of images depicting discord and violence over issues such as race, politics, and pandemic lockdowns. “Jesus loved the people we hate,” says the ad, again concluding with the words, “He gets us. All of us. Jesus,” and directing people to the link, “HeGetsUs.com/LoveYourEnemies.”

“How did the story of a man who taught and practiced unconditional love become associated with hatred and oppression for so many people?” asks He Gets Us on its website. “How did we get here? And what might we learn from the example of Jesus to help move beyond the  animosity we feel for one another? How can we rediscover the life and teachings of Jesus, the world’s most radical love activist? That is our agenda at He Gets Us: to move beyond the mess of our current cultural moment to a place where all of us are invited to rediscover the love story of Jesus. Christians, non-Christians, and everybody in between. All of us.”