Atheists Launch Super Bowl Ad Mocking Hail Mary

Doug Flutie the Hail Mary Pass

American Atheists must rolling in cash. They’re running an ad at the upcoming Super Bowl.

Don’t throw your rosaries in the trash yet. There’s nothing new. It’s just the usual jibe at Christians — in this case Catholics. The ad is a pun on the hail Mary pass. It shows a man wearing what looks like a clerical collar, holding a football. The words A Hail Mary only works in football are displayed next to him.

Yuck. Yuck.

The ad will also feature a link to American Atheist’s upcoming convention, where, presumably, there will be jibes, jokes and clever puns attacking Christians galore.

From The Huffington Post:

No country combines sport, politics and religion quite like the US. Just watch this weekend’s Superbowl for a barrage of chest-beating nationalism and religious iconography pumped out before, during and after the game.

Yet atheists, one of the quickest growing demographics in the US, according to recent polls, are striking back this year with a billboard at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium mocking those who turn to prayer during the game.


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  • Dave

    Pretty clever, but they are so wrong. Too bad – they are missing out on the greatest thing in life, a relationship with God and His family, the angels and saints. Pray for them, everyone. They are generally cynical, unhappy people, as you can see even from the comments Rebecca lets through. (I can only shudder to imagine the ones she deletes.)

    • pagansister

      Glad you mentioned that atheists are “generally cynical, unhappy people” instead of assuming that all are, because many are very happy,non-cynical people. Having 2 in my immediate family and knowing others, lets me know that just like those of a faith, they are sometimes happy and non-cynical and there are times they are not happy and cynical. They are just human beings like everyone else—faithful and non-faithful.

  • Manny

    You know, if one religion or one religious denomination started taking ads ridiculing other religions or denominations, the country would rightly be appalled. I guess free speech allows atheists to do this, but it is so tacky and degrading. I would be ashamed if I were an atheist. They don’t have a positive message, only a cynical one demeaning others. File this in the despicable folder.

  • Theodore Seeber

    Must not be much cash. A billboard is far cheaper than any real ad, and if the TV networks are smart, it will only be seen locally.

  • abb3w

    Buying a billboard at the stadium seems likely to require rather less cash to roll in than purchase of a TV commercial slot during the Big Game broadcast.

    Though, if they really wanted to stir up controversy, they could try bringing up how much professional sports resemble religion.

  • Michael Lindner

    Gee, I guess that’ll be countered by the pro-life Christian ads… oh wait, those were not allowed…

  • FW Ken

    For me, the Hail Mary, and other fixed of prayer, are for veneration and adoration. They occupy my mind and voice while my heart engages in that relationship that Dave speaks of. When I seek something from God, I just tell Him about it.

    It’s always sad to see someone so anxious to be cute that they utterly miss the point.

  • Mary E.

    Actually, including the photograph of “Father Linebacker” holding the football and making the “thumbs up!” sign produces a mixed message, since he seems to be enthusiastically encouraging viewers to say the Hail Mary. At least that’s how I’m interpreting the image. You can figure out the meaning quickly enough, but it’s not the best combination of text and visuals.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Money has influenced the spiritual life of the West for the worse to an extent we still don’t propoerly understand – look at the way the Rockefeller Foundation and friends brutalized Paul VI and blackguarded the Church. But I wonder whether a law of diminishing returns is not in activity here. Certainly these fits of infantile let’s-schock-the-vicar attempts don’t seem on the same level either in reach or in ferocity.

  • FW Ken

    One Christmas a few years back, an atheist group bought and placed a”Good without God” ad on a city bus. A Christian group put a counter ad on a panel truck and followed the bus around town. I thought it was great fun, but the bus company wimped out and made a policy to decline “controversial” ads. Boring….

  • Ray Glennon

    In a narrow sense, the billboard is correct — a “Hail Mary” only works in football, because it is not a prayer at all but the name of a particular pass “play” that only occurs in desperate situations in the closing seconds of a football game.

    But how did the name “Hail Mary” come to be attached to this improbable play. Is it because of the reality that is known deep in the heart of many believers that have experienced the power of prayer in their own lives or those of their loved ones when they were confronting particularly desparate or life-threatening situations. Another example is the expression, “coming in on a wing and a prayer” that originated during World War II and refers to the improbable safe return of a badly damaged aircraft to its base. In both cases, it is a recognition that there are situations that occur that are beyond our understanding and ability to control so we turn to a higher power–to God, sometimes via his mother when we say Hail Mary–to find the peace that only God can provide.

    So if someone talks about the “Hail Mary” pass during Super Bowl XLVIII remember that football (even the Super Bowl) is just a game (or a big business) and not the eternal reality that Jesus has prepared for us in heaven. And while Mary may not intervene on behalf of Payton Manning or Russell Wilson at the end of the game on Sunday, her Son “is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you.” (Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel)

    May the Lord give you peace.

    Twitter: @RayGlennon

    • Darren

      At least according to Wikipedia, it was coined in the 1930′s, appropriately enough, at Notre Dame.