The Meaning of the Super Bowl ‘He Gets Us’ Ad

During Super Bowl Sunday, a 60-second ad aired about Jesus Christ, and no one seemed angrier about it than Christians. The ad depicts a series of images of one person washing another person’s feet. Each pairing seems unlikely. An oil rig worker washes the feet of a climate activist. A cop washes the feet of a young Black man. An older woman washes the feet of a young woman outside an apparent abortion clinic while abortion protesters look on. A priest washes the feet of a young gay man. As the commercial ends, words appear on the screen: “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet.”

The ad came from a group called He Gets Us, which is running a multimillion-dollar ad campaign with the aim of essentially reintroducing America to Jesus. Its website asks, “How did the story of a man who taught and practiced unconditional love become associated with hatred and oppression for so many people?” The constant theme of the group’s ads is that Jesus knows you and loves you.

But not everyone loves the ads. First, there’s the entirely fair question of whether it’s appropriate for Christians to spend large sums of money on an ad campaign when it could be spent instead on, for instance, providing food or shelter to those in need. I’ve had questions about that myself.

He Gets Us has also come under fire from the left. Some people have criticized the funders (which include a founder of Hobby Lobby), noting that they’ve also funded conservative Christian legal causes. Americans United for Separation of Church and State goes so far as to call the ads “a front for Christian nationalism.”

Yet if that’s true, someone forgot to tell the religious right. The most radically right-wing Christians were furious at the ad, and they’ve stayed furious for days. The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh called the ads “heretical,” adding an expletive, and said, “Putting out an ad that invites narcissistic, prideful, unrepentant sinners to come and get their feet washed is bad, actually.”

The criticism kept rolling in, and much of it was not gentle. A Christian writer named Samuel Sey highlighted the segment of the ad that depicts foot washing outside an abortion clinic. The “Christlike thing to do at an abortion center isn’t to wash an abortion-minded girl’s feet while ignoring their murderous intentions,” Sey wrote. “The Christlike thing to do is to call them to repentance.”

Back to top button