God made a farmer–to sell Ram trucks, according to one of the more controversial Super Bowl commercials that aired last night. And God was either playing for The Ravens, or sitting back with a bucket of wings and cheering for them, according to Ray Lewis. I’ve never been religious, and don’t even consider myself that spiritual, but even I can’t help but feel like these are fairly offensive interpretations of the role God plays in our lives.
Now, Super Bowl commercials are known for being ridiculous, so I’m not earnestly upset over the reference to God in a Chrystler commercial (I’m more disturbed by the rampant sexism in GoDaddy’s annual contribution to the roundup of most offensive Super Bowl commercials). But the company’s use of a speech delivered by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey in 1978 at the Future Farmer’s of America convention, laid over work commissioned by documentary photographers and National Geographic super stars just seems to take itself a little too seriously not to be critiqued:
And religion appeared yet again when the Baltimore Ravens won against the San Francisco 49ers: When Jim Nantz asked Ray Lewis, surrounded by purple and gold confetti in the middle of the Superdome, what it feels like “going out as a champion,” he responded first with thanks to his kind sponsor: God. “It’s simple: When God is for you, who can be against you?” Players, coaches, and owners throughout football call on their religion and spirituality to get through games all the time–many athletes in many sports do, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of or poo-poo. But if your concept of God or religion is merely that it’s there to help you win or succeed (while ignoring the losses of so many others), then somehow I feel like you’re missing the point.
Full disclosure: I didn’t watch all of the Super Bowl game last night, I’m not a big football fan, and I’m not religious. But I respect that many people are, and I respect that one of the great things about religion and spirituality is that it connects you to something bigger than yourself–and bigger than I just don’t respect the belief that God is somehow aligned with professional sports teams or corporate sales.
What do you think: Were the references to religion and God in last night’s game inspiring, or offensive?
Photo: Courtesy of Chrystler