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LAS VEGAS (ChurchMilitant.com) - An ad aired during the Super Bowl game in Sin City on Sunday is igniting a storm of controversy.
A group called He Gets Us ran the ad during the game, considered the most watched sports program in the United States.
The commercial features scenes of diverse people washing others' feet, presumably in imitation of Jesus Christ on the night before He was crucified.
In John's gospel, Jesus humbly washes the feet of his disciples prior to establishing the Holy Eucharist.
The one-minute ad shows 12 different scenes of foot-washing, for example, an older White woman wiping the feet of:
The last image features a white priest washing the poised foot of someone who appears to be a member of the LGBT community.
The ad ends with these words: "Jesus didn't teach hate. He washed feet."
According to the group's website, the purpose of He Gets Us and the ads is to spread an all-inclusive message about Jesus.
We hope to remind everyone, including ourselves, that Jesus' teachings are a warm embrace, not a cold shoulder. That he didn't let pro-this or anti-that opinions prohibit him from seeing the value in all people. He Gets Us invites you to explore Jesus' story on your own terms and at your own pace. Our message isn't from a particular church nor is it affiliated with any one denomination.
The group also issued a video post of the ad on X accompanied by these words: "Jesus washed the feet of friends and enemies. No ego or hate. He humbly loved his neighbors. How can we do the same?"
The Super Bowl commercial rankled many social media users.
One X user posted that the ad was "Blasphemy," and advised readers not to "fall for this satanic symbolism."
Another posted, "Pretty sickening to see Christianity used to promote an obviously leftist political message. It cheapens and debases the spiritual significance of Jesus Christ."
Another asked, "Who's funding this? It appears to say, 'Christians must be slaves to the 3rd world.'"
Lifenews.com cited the disdain Joel Berry, the managing editor of the Babylon Bee, has for the ad.
There's a reason the "He Gets Us" commercial didn't show a liberal washing the feet of someone in a MAGA hat, or a BLM protestor washing an officer's feet. That would've been actually subversive. Because they were strictly following oppressed v oppressor intersectionality guidelines. This tells me they were either: A) trying to sell Jesus to Leftists by hinting Jesus thinks just like them, or B) cynically using Jesus to sell a political movement.
A Catholic priest, remaining anonymous, found the ads theologically troubling.
He told Church Militant that the images reduced Jesus to "being just a nice guy, a politically inoffensive figure," adding,
The ad focuses merely on the physical act of humility omitting the deeper, more spiritual meaning demonstrated when Jesus, the Son of God, said to Peter, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."
It also takes the washing of the feet out of context. What follows in John's gospel is the institution of the Holy Eucharist, i.e., when the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus, the source of summit of the Catholic faith. Jesus washed feet before that historically supreme act.
He Gets Us, the group behind the ads, according to Forbes, is "a limited liability company that says it's an initiative of The Servant Foundation, a public charity and Christian foundation based in Kansas that last year launched a $100 million effort to improve the image of Jesus."
One of the backers of the initiative is billionaire David Green, the founder of craft store chain Hobby Lobby, whose real time net worth is $15.3 billion dollars.