Not the Center


Perhaps you caught the Super Bowl ad from Jeep that implied we are all Christians. The Freedom From Religion Foundation had an informative response as to the why that was a terrible message:

FFRF censures Jeep’s divisive Christian Super Bowl ad

The Jeep Super Bowl Sunday ad with Bruce Springsteen ostensibly encouraging Americans to find common ground has generated a lot of buzz. But, ironically, it flagrantly undercuts unity by assuming that Americans must all be Christians united under the repeatedly depicted cross.

That message is more than insulting. It actually perpetuates the Christian Nationalist narrative underpinning the Jan. 6 insurrection that this ad presumably was created to counter. Only 65 percent of Americans today identify as Christian, with religiously unaffiliated “Nones” standing at 26 percent. And even if 100 percent of Americans identified as Christian, that still would not make the United States a “Christian nation,” since our godless and secular Constitution ensures our government may not promulgate religion.

However, this point was evidently lost to the Italian corporation that owns Jeep and sought to religiously pander in a message on unity that actually further divides us. More than one-third of Americans do not bow down to a cross, and it’s impossible for us non-Christians to do anything other than take away from this ad that we aren’t true Americans.

The spot opens with a chapel and Springsteen’s narration: “There’s a chapel in Kansas standing on the exact center of the lower 48. It never closes. All are more than welcome to come and meet here in the middle.” The ad then shows the interior of the chapel with a wooden cross attached to the center of a red-white-and-blue plaque of the map of the lower 48 United States.

Springsteen’s narration continues: “Freedom is not the property of just the fortunate few. It belongs to us all. … It’s what connects us. … We need the middle.” Laudable words until the camera comes to rest on a large roadside cross.

The ad concludes with a shot of Springsteen outside the chapel, a cross in the background and then a shot of the chapel at sunset. Finally, there’s an image of the outline of the lower 48 United States, saying “To the ReUnited States of America.”

That geographical center of the United States is meaningless. It’s like saying that a word beginning with M is in the center of the dictionary. That Kansas “center” excludes Alaska and Hawaii. If you take all 50 states, then the center would be in South Dakota, close to the Montana border.

For the full reply by FFRF, see https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/38456-ffrf-censures-jeep-s-divisive-christian-super-bowl-ad

In the meantime, the center of the US remains a moving dot in more ways than one.

Mean Center of the US Population by Year

About SamStone

A Steel City Skeptic who thinks science and reason is the light that we should follow to find our way in this world.
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1 Response to Not the Center

  1. Brian Joyce says:

    I did not receive the message as religious at all. I hold, in my mind, inclusiveness as the message ‘The Boss’ inferred. Common ground and many more similarities than differences seemed the message, not religious dogma or qualification. It was geographically figurative and emotionally positive in it’s message. I am all for meeting in the middle and working on the things important to us all. I state this in no way religious in message, just truly American. Be well

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