Anything but God goes in today’s media world. There are very few limits to to the garbage that can be promoted in in music, movies, television and advertising, but when it comes to the message of Jesus Christ, given by God to save the world from their sins and give those who believe in Him eternal life, that’s taking things a bit too far.
Just before the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers game, the
30-second biblical spot popped up to the surprise of football fans in Washington, D.C.
It also aired in Birmingham, Ala
Ads aired during the Super Bowl are especially expensive and high profile, and there tends to be at least some controversy over ads put out each year. Last year, pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood had a total conniption over an ad with a very simple pro-life message featuring NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother. The ad was backed by Focus on the Family and was themed “Celebrate family, celebrate life.” News media went above and beyond to highlight criticism of the ad, but foes were unsuccessful in preventing it from airing.
This year, Fixed Point Foundation, a group that sponsors debates between Christians and atheists at universities around the nation, put together a “LookUp 316” ad that would bring the gospel message to over 100 million viewers tuning in for the big game. This time, it didn’t even take a big stir by outside groups to put a stop to this message; Fox Broadcasting rejected the ad all on their own stating in a letter to Fixed Point that they “would not air anything with religious doctrine.”
“If I had 30 seconds to say anything I wanted to an audience of millions, what would I say?” writes Larry Taunton, executive director of Fixed Point, in a blog post explaining the Super Bowl ad. “I put this question to my friends. As we considered the question thoughtfully, we concluded that we would want to deliver a message of hope.”
He continues, “A year and a tremendous amount of work later, we are close to airing a commercial that advertises no products, asks for no money, promotes no political platform and doesn’t even mention the sponsoring organization. It has a simple, yet direct message: Hope. The ‘hope’ on offer in this commercial centers around the message of John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only son.'”
Fixed Point released a statement criticizing Fox’s decision:
“It seems one can advertise just about anything else. Few movie trailers are deemed too violent or beer commercials too sexual for primetime. But religious messages, particularly Christian ones, well, that’s just too controversial.”