Over the next three years a $1 billion campaign – which reportedly will include funds from billionaire right wing funder David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby – will promote Jesus in ads, including during the Super Bowl on February 12. Those two Super Bowl ads to “to redeem Jesus’ brand” will cost $20 million, Religion News Service reports.
The campaign to promote Jesus includes $100 million in ads declaring “He Gets Us,” from “the Servant Foundation, an Overland Park, Kansas, nonprofit that does business as The Signatry,” RNS adds.
The “donors backing the campaign have until recently remained anonymous — in early 2022, organizers only told Religion News Service that funding came from ‘like-minded families who desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.’”
But the full list of donors remains unknown.
“Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, a branding firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan, that is working on the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign, confirmed that the Greens are one of the major funders, among a variety of donors and families who have gotten behind it.”
In a Washington Post interview last year, Vanderground “said Christians see their faith as the greatest love story, but those outside the faith see Christians as a hate group.”
But rather than try to convince self-identified followers of Christ to act as Jesus would want, right-wing interests are spending $1 billion to convince others of what Christianity is supposed to be about.
“Our research shows that many people’s only exposure to Jesus is through Christians who reflect him imperfectly, and too often in ways that create a distorted or incomplete picture of his radical compassion and love for others,” Vanderground told The Washington Post. “We believe it’s more important now than ever for the real, authentic Jesus to be represented in the public marketplace as he is in the Bible.”
Some are not impressed, and are more-or-less asking, “What would Jesus do?”
“They are latching on to this touchy-feely, conveniently vague, designer Jesus,” podcaster, author, and secular activist Seth Andrews told RNS. Andrews “poses the question of what Jesus would think of the amount of money spent on the ads. Would he prefer that the money be spent on ministering to people’s physical needs or making the world a better place?”
“Or would he say, no, go ahead and spend $100 million to tell everybody how great I am?”
On-air, CNN said, “at first blush, it can all read like a stand against radical right-wing politics and related divisiveness,” but adds that “some are calling this a ‘right-wing stunt for politics.’”
“‘He Gets Us’ is funded by anonymous donors acting through a Kansas non-profit linked to staunchly conservative causes,” CNN’s report notes, saying it “raises alarms for some skeptics.”
1/31/23 Tuesday’s Scripture: Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all our ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
(Before we became God’s believing children we lived in a world that demanded that we make choices according to it’s pleasure, for how else could we succeed? Instructions on how to live flooded our thoughts through TV, the daily newspaper, even faithless education in school and our surroundings. And God gave each of us a mind with the ability to make our own choices. Trust was centered on self, for who else could we depend on when our ship of hope was sinking? We could cry out “Self,” but we would hear no voice calling back – “Peace be still.” To trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding required a change of heart, and a God who still loved the decadent world in spite of unbelief and rebellion. Such a gift was impossible – it made the world’s wisdom seem foolish. But he did not send a sudden clap of thunder, or a frightening display of lightning to attract attention – he gave an innocent baby to be born in a stable because that same world had no room for him in the inn – or in heats that had been molded into that old promise: “You can be as God.” (Gen. 3:5). But God was not yet finished with his disobedient children, “he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16,17). The world sees that as foolishness! To send such forgiveness could be accepted because it depended only on a lack of understanding – that man could be made perfect before God through good deeds! But saving the world without condemnation is impossible since most people believe that they are living a God pleasing life, certain of eternal life in heaven when death comes, because they attend church, give a little money, and spend a little time to help the needy. But that is not a priceless gift – it is the world’s view of “religion.” That baby was God’s only Son, born to save an unwelcoming world from the devastation of an eternity in the agony of the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14). That trust that each of us needed could not come from books, it came from our acceptance of the crimson sacrifice of the Son of God on a cross, sent for ME AND that neighbor that I had judged to be an impossible sinner worthy of condemnation! As we accepted our blood bought new beginning, God sent his Holy Spirit to teach and help us understand that we are now walking on paths made straight by our repentance for our past sin, with a merciful God’s promise of a new beginning, living in the only thing that could guarantee our right to approach a holy, perfect God – our Savior Jesus Christ’s righteousness. But the Spirit came with more than just understanding, He came with power and the fruit of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22), fruit that would not shrivel and die on the vine for this fruit was enriched by the Spirit’s power to leave seed that would grow into a new crop of believers! Yet none of this perfection can happen through our own self-centered assurance, the arrogance that we can be like God! The message is loud and clear: “He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5,6). We are expected to share that good news in spite of its hatred for that wonderful Name, the message – Surrender to the goodness of his love and forgiveness before it is eternally too late!)