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WATCH: Fox Sports Rejects "John 3:16" Super Bowl Commercial

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We've all seen the ubiquitous presence of "John 3:16" at NFL games since time immemorial.

On signs:

On shirts:

Even on quarterback Tim Tebow's eyeblack:

But one place you won't be seeing it is during this Sunday's Super Bowl commercial breaks. According to Politics Daily religion reporter David Gibson, Fox Sports has rejected a spot from the Fixed Point Foundation, a Christian organization located in Alabama, in which a bunch of guys watching football see a reference to John 3:16, wonder what it actually means, and look it up on a smartphone.

Larry Taunton, the head of Fixed Point, told Gibson, "We thought in this case, let's put forward something that is understated, that feels secular... Our thought was this: We're not trying to import Christianity into a sport or into part of the culture where it isn't. We're trying to draw people's attention to the fact that it's already there . . . John 3:16 has become so ubiquitous in the game that people sort of become numb to it." (As has the Nike "swoosh" which, as Taunton points out, represents the Greek goddess of victory, and could conceivably be viewed as a piece of religious iconography by those who choose to do so.)

Apparently, it wasn't secular enough to slip past Fox's standards and practices department, which "does not accept advertising from religious organizations for the purpose of advancing particular beliefs or practices."

"The Fixed Point Foundation was provided with our guidelines prior to their submission of storyboards for our review," the company said in a statement. "Upon examination, the advertising submitted clearly delivers a religious message and as a result has been rejected."

Here's the ad:

Gibson notes that Taunton was quick not to lay too much blame on Fox.

"They were very courteous and gracious," he said. "Fox Sports isn't the enemy. We aren't out to demonize them. We think this is more of a cultural issue than it is a Fox Sports issue. Their solution was just to run from it because they think this is something that would offend their viewership. I think we have become so utterly sensitive and politically correct that the result is we end up doing absurd things like this."

In any case, the ad will air on two Fox affiliates--one in Alabama, and one in Washington, D.C. (insert your own government gag here...)

Of course, the whole situation got me thinking--what ever happened to the rainbow-wigged guy that used to show up at every sporting event imaginable? Yeah, that guy up there above the shot of Tebow.

It turns out, things didn't go so well for him, as the only sporting events he gets to see these days are ones of this nature:

Rollen Stewart is Rainbow Wig guy's name, and he is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in Mule Creek Prison in Ione, California.

A few years ago, Monte Burke of Forbes detailed Stewart's downward spiral:

"When the 1980s came to a close, he became more volatile, ramping up his antics. 'He became convinced that God had given him a sign to use more negative tactics,' says George Winter, who is working on a biography of Stewart and acts as his unofficial spokesman. In 1991, at the Masters, he blew an air horn as Jack Nicklaus lined up a putt, then detonated a stink bomb. Later that year he detonated four more stink bombs in Orange County, Calif.

"His personal life was a wreck as well. Stewart claimed he never made any money (his tickets to sporting events were believed to have been bought by sympathetic Christians). By the 1990s, he was homeless and living in his car. His wife and one-time signage partner had left him--she claimed he choked her when she didn't hold her sign in the correct place during a game.

"Finally he went over the edge. In September of 1992, Rollen locked himself in a hotel room in a Los Angeles Hyatt and made threats to shoot at airplanes landing and taking off at nearby LAX Airport. He held a Hyatt maid hostage in his room. He plastered religious verses on the windows. After an eight-hour standoff, SWAT teams broke into his room and found a handgun, two ammunition clips and 47 live ammunition rounds."

Joseph Price, a religion professor at Whittier College, told Burke that the new generation of John 3:16-ers is quite a bit more sedate than Stewart in getting their message across.

"His wig and tie-dyed shirt and jumping around seemed to be about getting attention for himself. It was more ego-driven than an affirmation of religious invitation."

In any event, the Fixed Point Foundation's Taunton said "he'd be happy to have some serious competition for the best religion-themed Super Bowl ad."

"If the Hindus want to put out an ad, I'm all for it," he told Politics Daily's Gibson. "Muslims? Bring it on. I'd love to see it. It'd make the Super Bowl a whole lot more interesting."
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