The Rejected John 3:16 Super Bowl Ad

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the proposed John 3:16 Super Bowl ad that Fox rejected because it was too religious. A lot of Christians are up in arms about the “censorship,” “intolerance,” and “unfairness” that Fox’s decision supposedly represents. Yet, I seem to recall lots of Christians expressing similar outrage when atheists began running pro-atheism ads on buses and billboards. So, what exactly do we want? Is it okay to run overtly religious ads in public spaces or not? Because it sure seems like we’re trying to have our cake and eat it too.

(By the way, that always strikes me as an odd saying. Why would I want to have the cake if I wasn’t going to eat it?)


About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on February 2, 2011, in Culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. How does one demonstrate that the group of Christians upset about the atheist ads are the same as the ones crying “censorship” this time around?

    • Call it a hunch. You’re right that there’s no way for me to know for sure, but previous experience with similar issues suggests that there is probably considerable overlap. I’ve seen a parallel reaction with people who support prayer in school (and they mean Christian prayer) but throw a fit if they think teacher is promoting atheism or a non-Christian religion in the classroom.

      • Maybe the Christians in New England are just different.

        I don’t remember a lot of protest about the atheist ads, to be honest. What I did hear, however, was the complaint that explicitly Christians ads would probably be rejected, while these were accepted. That may not be true, of course, but it’s a different argument from the one you mention.

      • Wait, are you saying that there are Christians in New England? 🙂

        Actually I didn’t hear that much about the atheist billboards locally. I’m sure it does make a difference if you’re in New England or the NW where the proportion of Christians is relatively low. Most of what I saw was online or in the Christian media.

  2. FOX is smart to avoid these ads, or ads for atheist, or political ads, or most anything that is not common football related entertainment. They have a set audience. Keep those people happy.

    • No question that this is a business decision for Fox. They’ve made a similar decision on the other end of the spectrum by rejecting the Ashley Madison ads.

  3. Yah, that’s what I’m talkn. Give me some real football action like GoDaddy.

    Don’t want to think on something inane like Tim Tebow’s mom (actually embarassing) or John 3:16 (not bad) even if somebody paid to provoke me beyond myself.

    Can I sit by Putin in my man cave though?

  4. Yeah, we need more beer ads during ball games. **sarcastic grin**

  5. As much as I would love to see scripture openly promoted in advertising. I can’t help but feel a small bit of relief that this super bowl ad didn’t make it. In my paranoid imagination, if the ad would have run, I can see Bubba turn to Skeeter and ask, “Hey whatever happened to that clown wig guy?” To which Skeeter replies, “Yeah, Rainbow Man, I remember him. Wonder where he is now?”

    Not exactly the best effect, IMHO. I salute the creativeness of the ad but I would suggest that the message of the text is what should be displayed not merely a pointer or reference to it. I believe our culture has lost the ability to put the two together.

  6. I made fun of a bunch of Superbowl ads, this one included. If you believe in something, more power to you! But the Superbowl is about football, beer and food. Not really a great place to try to change peoples minds. I mean shoot the Superbowl has almost become as commercial as Christmas!

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