Why The Uproar Over Coke’s 2014 Super Bowl Ad?

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

In Philippians the apostle Paul writes one of the most amazing passages in all of Scripture. A passage known as the “kenosis” which comes from the Greek word in verse seven often translated “humbled” or “emptied” or “poured out.” I love the conclusion of the kenosis passage as Paul contrasts the humiliation of Christ at the hands of humanity with a future day when every tribe and tongue will confess his lordship.

Now, what in the world does this have to do with Coke’s Super Bowl commercial? If you haven’t seen it, check out the video below:

What have some said about this ad?

If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing “American the Beautiful” in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you? Link

As far as the executives at Coca Cola are concerned, however, the United States of America is no longer a nation ruled by the Constitution and American traditions in which English is the language of government. It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty. It is instead a nation governed by some all inclusive multi-cultural synthesis of the various forms of government in the world, as expressed by the multiple languages used in the Super Bowl ad to sing a uniquely American hymn that celebrates our heritage. Link

Why is it that so many conservatives, many of whom would say they are Christians are worked up over people singing a traditional American song in other languages? As a Christian I look at the ad, as imperfect as it is, and see much good in it. Specifically, I think about how wondrous it would be to hear all those voices singing the words to a song like “Amazing Grace.” Or I think about that passage in Philippians and realize that at the return of Christ there will be a beautifully diverse cacophony of languages giving glory to Jesus and how much more incredible that will be than a commercial of a group of people singing a song about the virtues of a fallible nation. That ad features something we should celebrate: our diversity in culture and language. Why? Because in each culture and every language are people who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. People who lift their voices in praise to the same God and who eagerly await the return of the same Christ and who study the same Bible. Plus, it is important to remember that many people in cultures across the world still haven’t heard about Jesus. What does it do to the witness of American Christians when we respond so defensively?

Sure, the Coke ad is a bit like looking into a dirty mirror. It is the attempt of a secular company (out to make a buck) to celebrate cultural diversity. Christians should not fear this but instead should use the ad as a tool to point to something of eternal significance. Maybe it could serve as a good reminder to us that Kingdom of God is not made up of English speaking white folks but a plethora of cultures and languages. That’s not scary or un-American. It is Scriptural truth.

I know this ad also features a gay couple. I believe Scripture speaks for itself there and I chose to just address the multicultural issue in this post. Interestingly, most of the “uproar” was over the multiplicity of languages and not the gay couple. 

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