Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls Christian Super Bowl ad ‘fascism’ and sparks a firestorm of reactions

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., holds a news conference before a Town Hall November 6, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., holds a news conference before a Town Hall November 6, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. | Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sparked a still raging firestorm of reactions Sunday night when she compared an advertisement about Jesus during the Super Bowl to “fascism.”

“Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet in response to the airing of an ad from He Gets Us, “a diverse group of Jesus followers” and supporters committed to telling the story of Jesus through "a modern lens."

In one of the 30-second ads from the Christian group called “Be Childlike” set to the soundtrack of Patsy Cline’s “If I Could See the World,” the group urges people to be “childlike in humility, compassion, and gentleness.”

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“Jesus taught, ‘unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,’” a description of the advertisement posted on YouTube explains.

A screenshot of an ad from He Gets Us.
A screenshot of an ad from He Gets Us. | YouTube/He Gets Us

Still, Ocasio-Cortez chose to brand the message as “fascism” which some experts define as “a mass political movement that emphasizes extreme nationalism, militarism, and the supremacy of both the nation and the single, powerful leader over the individual citizen.”

While there appeared to be a minority of supporters of the congresswoman’s tweet, many, like author Michael Isenberg, dismissed her criticism as extreme.

“… I watched the ads. Seems to me that if @AOC thinks the message ‘Love your enemies’ is fascist, that tells us more about her than the He Gets Us group,” Isenberg replied. “In any case, I feel strongly that members of Congress should not opine on what should or should not air. There's always an implicit threat of legislation, which is inconsistent with our great First Amendment tradition.”

Isenberg further noted that Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet “is remarkably similar to the episode in Luke 7:36-50.”

“Mary Magdalene does something nice for Jesus. A Pharisee complains that he's associating with sinners. Which puts @AOC in the role of the Pharisee. In other versions, the complaint is about the waste of money,” he said.

The He Gets Us campaign, according to its website, “is not affiliated with any church, religious denomination, or political organization.”

“Our goal is to help everyone understand and relate to Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible with a modern lens of his radical forgiveness, compassion, and love. We feel his teachings and lived experiences are as relevant to us today as they were 2,000 years ago,” the group says. “We strive to provide a safe place for people to ask questions, even tough ones, without fear or judgment.”

The He Gets Us campaign is a project of the Servant Foundation and receives funding from “a diverse group of donors passionate about freeing the name of Jesus from those who’d use it to judge, harm or divide.”

“Throughout our shared history, Jesus has represented the ultimate good that humankind is capable of aspiring to. And though some no longer believe in God, most are still compelled by the idea of a person capable of unconditional love for others despite their differences,” the organization adds on its website about its work.

“But many of us simply cannot reconcile the idea of that person with the way our culture experiences religion today. Whether it’s hypocrisy and discrimination in the church, or scandals both real and perceived among religious leaders, or the polarization of our politics, many have relegated Jesus from the world’s greatest love story to just another tactic used to intensify our deep cultural divisions.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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