STRYPER's Michael Sweet has praised the organization behind a campaign to produce two Super Bowl ads to promote Jesus Christ on the night of the game on Sunday (February 12).
The Christian group He Gets Us reportedly spent $20 million on two Super Bowl advertisements that showed Jesus as someone with empathy for immigrants and the poor. The campaign, which its creators say will ultimately cost $1 billion, attempts to remove the idea of Jesus as being owned by conservatives or a religious denomination, replacing the hate with a human who loves and forgives.
Earlier today (Monday, February 13), Sweet — whose band became the first Christian metal act to gain acceptance within the mainstream music world nearly four decades ago — shared an article about New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying she did not believe Jesus would support Super Bowl commercials that she claims make fascism "look benign". He captioned the post: "We need more 'Jesus' ads. That was the best part of watching the game IMO. Best 20 Million spent in a LONG time".
Ocasio-Cortez was apparently specifically referring to one commercial that emphasized unity and loving your enemies.
"What if we tried to love our enemies the way Jesus loved his? How would it change the tenor of our conflicts and our conversations?" reads a description of one of the He Gets Us ads that ran during the big game.
The advertising campaign is reportedly funded in part by the family behind Hobby Lobby, as well as Christian groups and other anonymous donors. The ads were an effort to spread the message of Jesus to LGBTQ+ people and other communities that have often felt unwelcome by Christianity. The ads direct viewers to a web site that includes Bible readings, methods to chat with real people about religion and information about Jesus.
Formed 40 years ago, STRYPER is the first overtly Christian metal band to go mainstream. The group's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michael said that STRYPER was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the band's Christian lyrics.
"We've never been accepted by either side," he said. "The secular side, the mainstream, they've never accepted us to this day. We're probably that band that everyone's going to go to whenever there's a time to mock. We'll be the band used for that in most cases. Now on the Christian side, we've never really had the full support of the Christian side because we don't fit into their little club. We're not wearing suits and ties and going to every church and preaching."
STRYPER's albums include "To Hell With The Devil", "Second Coming", "No More Hell To Pay", "Fallen", "Even The Devil Believes" and the band's latest effort, "The Final Battle".
Michael is joined in STRYPER by his brother Robert Sweet (drums),Oz Fox (guitars) and Perry Richardson (bass).