- The Washington Times - Monday, February 13, 2023

Those Christian ads that ran during the Super Bowl may have looked like they were endorsing humility and goodwill, but as far as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is concerned, they were actually marketing “fascism.”

The congresswoman took a drubbing after taking to social media to blast the two spots that aired Sunday as part of the multi-million-dollar “He Gets Us” ad campaign.

“Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign,” the New York Democrat tweeted late Sunday.

Her theological credentials were called into question by defenders of the ads promoting the relevance of Jesus in modern society. Funders include the Green family of Hobby Lobby fame.

“That’s your take from a great Super Bowl ad reminding us of the truth, universal to all religions and all wisdom, that hate is bad?” lawyer Eric Owens tweeted. “Are you serious? You have jumped the shark.”

Hydra Host CEO Aaron Ginn tweeted at the lawmaker: “Are you a theologian now? What can you not do?”

Former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones replied to the congresswoman: “Then you don’t know how Jesus works!”

The two $10 million ads that aired Sunday extol biblical values. The first ad, “Be Childlike,” showed images of children being helpful with the caption: “Jesus didn’t want us to act like adults. He gets us. All of us.”

The second ad, “Love Your Enemies,” ran black-and-white news-style photos of people angrily confronting each other at protests and other public venues with the caption, “Jesus loved the people we hate.”

Catholic League President Bill Donohue called the congresswoman’s criticism a sign of the times, saying, “Had these ads run on TV decades ago, few would blink. But not today.”

“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez channeled Jesus, saying he would not ‘spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign,’” Mr. Donohoe said in a statement. “AOC did not explain what was fascistic about either of the Christian commercials.”

Among those baffled by the congresswoman’s take was Americans for Prosperity Vice President Casey Mattox, who tweeted: “I am perplexed by the idea that these ads are ‘right wing.’ But I’m seeing it from AOC and other Dems today.”

Said the conservative website Twitchy: “Something tells us AOC has no idea what the word fascism actually means.”

Twitchy pointed out that AOC wasn’t the only Democrat offended by the ad campaign. Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett called the commercials a waste of money.

“With the money the ‘He Gets Us’ people spent on their right-wing Jesus ads, they could permanently house 1,563 people experiencing homelessness,” Mr. Hackett tweeted.

Also not a fan was Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, who tweeted: “It takes some gall to run an ad about how Jesus would be against all this political divisiveness after you spent the past 20 years bankrolling that divisiveness as a political tool.”

Journalist Judd Legum added: “Just FYI, the same group that is financing the ‘He Gets Us’ Jesus ads is also helping finance the lawsuit seeking to ban abortion medication nationwide.”

He referred to the Alliance Defending Freedom’s case challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. Among the ADF’s donors is The Signatry, a foundation and donor-advised fund that also supports the ads.

Mr. Donohue said that the left’s ire was directed at Hobby Lobby, which won a 2014 Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.

“Both AOC and Fish made it clear, without being explicit, that they are perturbed because one of the organizations supporting the Jesus ads is Hobby Lobby, the evangelical-run store chain that won an important religious liberty victory in the U.S. Supreme Court,” Mr. Donohoe said.

The ads created by the Michigan-based marketing firm Haven are part of the $100 million “He Gets Us” campaign that launched in March.

The He Gets Us website insists that “we’re not ‘left’ or ‘right’ or a political organization of any kind. We’re also not affiliated with any particular church or denomination.”

“We simply want everyone to understand the authentic Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible — the Jesus of radical forgiveness, compassion, and love,” the website said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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