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Why Jimmy Kimmel’s Jokes About Christian Super Bowl Ads Are Weak And Ignorant

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“Where did Jesus get the $7 million for a Super Bowl commercial? Did he turn water into money []?” asked late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel while attempting to lampoon Super Bowl advertisements for the Catholic prayer app Hallow and nondenominational “He Gets Us” campaign.

The comedian went on to poke fun at Hallow’s Lent-focused collaboration with Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg by saying, “If I sign up for the app, will [Wahlberg] know I skipped Ash Wednesday? If I don’t come back with a Marky Mark on my forehead, will he rat me out to God?”

Bland jokes aside, the nominally Catholic comedian’s monologue reiterates the culture’s everpresent anti-Christian bias.

Unless it bends over backward to accommodate the whims of the era, Christianity is ruthlessly denigrated. Every major cultural institution treats it with disdain and disgust, and viewing it as a threat to its legitimacy, the federal government weaponizes itself against believers.

But even if we set aside theology and logical proofs of God’s existence, Christianity is overwhelmingly a positive influence in the world and the lives of its practitioners. We could measure its effect in terms of civilizations, hospitals, and schools built in its name, or we could just look at how it improves the lives of its adherents.

Children raised in devout households don’t just pray and attend church more often than their peers; evidence suggests they also perform better in school and “complete more college education,” thus setting them up for greater success as adults. Similarly, research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates religious adolescents and young adults are more likely to abstain from destructive behaviors like promiscuity and habitual drug use.

Research from the Mayo Clinic concluded that “religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide,” and that “addressing the spiritual needs of the patient may enhance recovery from illness.”

Further, individuals involved in religious communities are more likely to be civically engaged and more likely to be married, and people who regularly attend religious services are far less likely to get divorced.

It’s apparent that religious commitment is good for people and could remedy many of our cultural woes. Considering our nation’s Christian heritage — and that a supermajority of Americans maintains at least an identitarian association with Christianity, though many don’t actually know or follow Jesus — one could reasonably conclude that a revival, so to speak, ought to be encouraged.

This is precisely what the Super Bowl ads Kimmel mocked are trying to inspire, although some perhaps miss the forest for the trees when trying to appeal to the masses.

[Read: This ‘He Saves Us’ Ad Redeems Everything Wrong With The ‘He Gets Us’ Super Bowl Spot]

Despite offering personally manageable solutions to the things ripping our civilization asunder, Christianity remains public enemy No. 1. Unless Christians are willing to forsake their beliefs, they are not embraced in society. This isn’t new. The world has long hated Christ and His followers and sought to restrict the Truth — this is even discussed in the Gospel.

An increasing number of Americans don’t affiliate with any religion, and an alarming amount (just under 50 percent) have stopped going to church altogether. Reintroducing people to Christianity through services like Hallow could change their lives for the better and have a trickle-down effect that benefits future generations of Americans.

Cultural figures like Kimmel, however, will continue to profess commitment to the faith while openly blaspheming and leading people astray. To people like them, Christianity is little more than a label invoked to condescend to other people and something used to justify hedonistic lifestyles.


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