It’s not unusual for religious entities to air ads during the Super Bowl. The Church of Scientology has done it in the past (via Newsweek). But while those commercials had clear agendas (namely, wanting people to sign up for Scientology), He Gets Us is a bit more opaque. If you go to the organization’s website, it says, “We’re not ‘left’ or ‘right’ or a political organization of any kind. We’re also not affiliated with any particular church or denomination. We simply want everyone to understand the authentic Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible.”
Of course, it always helps to follow the money in instances like this. The website goes on to say it’s an initiative of the Servant Foundation, a nonprofit based out of Missouri with predominantly anonymous donors. However, Hobby Lobby founder David Green told Glenn Beck his family had donated to the commercials. Green is a noteworthy conservative, and his business has made headlines over the years for various controversies, including fighting for the right to deny contraceptive care to Hobby Lobby’s employees. This would seem to suggest there’s a conservative agenda to the ads despite what the initiative says otherwise.
And don’t expect the commercials to stop after the Super Bowl, either. Organizers say the plan is to spend $1 billion over the next three years on similar ads (via Religion News Service). You aren’t alone if you believe the money could be spent elsewhere on truly more Christian causes. Jordan Carson, spokesperson for He Gets Us, told Deseret about those concerns, “If you look at the Bible, during Jesus’ life, people took different steps and avenues to speak out about big issues. That’s exactly what this campaign is doing. We’re utilizing these resources to be able to reach more people.” Still, Jesus was kind of all about feeding the hungry, and you could certainly feed a lot of hungry people with $1 billion.