Fox Sports has rejected a Christian group's proposed Super Bowl commercial featuring the Bible verse John 3:16.
The Lookup 316 commercial by Fixed Point Foundation was refused a spot before the nation's largest TV viewing audience because it contained too much "religious doctrine," according to FOX.
"[The commercial] was deemed to be too offensive," said Larry Taunton, executive director of Fixed Point Foundation, to The Christian Post.
However, the commercial does not feature any preacher, sermon or Bible. Instead it offers a question: "John 3:16, what's that mean?" The answer is simple. Look it up.
The commercial begins by showing men and women watching a football game in a living room. The group cheers as an unidentifiable team makes a play. The television camera then zooms in on a player with John 3:16 written on his eye black. One of the fans asks his neighbor what John 3:16 means and the neighbor shrugs. A fan reaches for his cell phone and says, "I'll look it up." Then the commercial ends.
"It' doesn't sell a product. It doesn't give out the Fixed Point website," contended Taunton. "It simply links to the Lookup 316 website where there is an explanation of the verse's meaning."
The depiction of John 3:16 is not new to football. Several people such as the legendary rainbow man put the verse on signs. Former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow regularly wore the verse on his eye black until a rule was instituted to ban the practice. Now a quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Tebow wears the verse on his cuffs.
But still the 31-second ad was denied a spot during the Super Bowl while other racier ads in the past have been granted permission.
In 2007, Snickers aired the "Snickers Kiss" during the Super Bowl. The commercial featured two men who end up kissing after eating a Snickers bar from opposite ends. The video was later pulled after an uproar from viewers.
This year, Doritos introduced two gay-themed ads for the Super Bowl. One features a husband appearing to eye two homosexual men eating from a bag of Doritos chips. The other shows two bare-chested men sitting in a sauna. One of the man then reaches down into a Doritos bag that is off camera. The result is sexually suggestive. There is no word whether or not the ads were accepted.
"That's deemed OK. [But the 3:16 commercial] is deemed controversial," Taunton argued.
The Christian Post contacted News Corporation, of which FOX Broadcasting Company is a subsidiary, for a rebuttal but did not receive an immediate response.
Taunton, who has not given up, plans to air the John 3:16 commercial on local stations in Alabama, where Fixed Point is based. Taunton also plans to try again next Super Bowl.
On the Web: www.lookup316.com