Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Test of Fire" Goes Viral


A political video created by a conservative Catholic group has gone viral over the past few weeks. The Advocate and Huffington Post report that Catholics Called to Witness commissioned a video called "Test of Fire: Election 2012." Produced by Creative Lab, the video urges Catholic voters to vote for "life" and "marriage" in November, although it does not mention presidential candidates by name. According to its website, Catholics Called to Witness is a faith-based organization that encourages Catholics to be active in the public square. Its political leanings are decidedly anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, and pro-parental rights.

“Test of Fire” depicts a blacksmith hammering metal words in his forge amidst swelling music, as messages about principles and voting appear on the screen.

"In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. This generation of Catholics must do the same."
At first, the blacksmith forges words such as JOBS, TAXES, and ECONOMY as the video discusses issues at stake in the 2012 presidential election. "But some issues are not negotiable," the video asserts as the blacksmith forges new words such as LIFE, MARRIAGE, and FREEDOM. "Forcing the Church to buy insurance that goes against her teachings is a violation of religious freedom," the video insists, reminding Catholics that their votes will be "recorded in eternity."

The message, in a nutshell, is that Catholics have a religious obligation to vote against reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality. One cannot wonder if the video's repeated use of fire imagery is a reference to hell. Frank Cocozzelli, writing at the Daily Kos, came to this very conclusion. The Slog's Dominic Holden came to this conclusion when he summarized the video's message as "Vote correctly or you will go to hell."
"What two votes can save Catholics from eternal damnation? Demoting the rights of gay Americans and stripping women of their own health-care choices, of course! And by all means, let's enrobe it in the pretense that Catholics have lost their liberty (in fact, their liberty is only constricted when they seek to use public funds for their anti-gay, anti-women agenda). But the Catholic Church is the victim here, we're told, so American Catholics need to rise up!"
The video will not doubt appeal to members of the Religious Right who oppose reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights, but will it resonate with a wider audience? Given that LGBTQ equality is becoming more and more accepted in the U.S., and that most Americans (including many Catholics) support contraceptive use and contraception coverage, I wonder how well “Test of Fire” will be received.


To learn more about Catholics Called to witness, visit their website at www[dot]cc2w[dot]org

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

Shakesville: A Subtle Message: Vote for Obama, Burn In Hell


16 comments:

  1. Last night we watched the old classic "Inherit the Wind" about the Scopes trial over teaching evolution in the public schools. I was struck by how similar the RR rhetoric was to today's political discussion.

    I also noticed how the above video depicts the Catholic Church as a "victim."

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    1. Donna -- I remember the film fondly -- the parade in which anti-evolutionists sing "Gimme That Old Time Religion" really stands out in my mind. I amazed at people who wallow in their own ignorance.

      Back to the "Test of Fire" video, I agree that too many Religious Right people (regardless of demonination) have a victim complex.

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  2. Catholics in Canada would never attempt that--I'd like to believe.

    It's a blatant threat of hell, in my opinion. Quite blatant.

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    1. Lorena -- I hope so, for Canada's sake!

      If they did intend all that fire and "eternity" talk to be threats of hell, what a rotten thing to do. Eternal damnation shouldn't be used to influence voting!

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    2. Well, they don't want clubs with the word "gay" in the name in taxpayer-supported Catholic schools.

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  3. I'm just guessing that Catholics don't NEED insurance because the Vatican will cover it. Of course the non-Catholics working for them might not be covered. I also think that they should no longer receive tax exempt status. Maybe I should talk to the Pope about that.

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    1. Jono -- I'm getting tired of religious organizations retaining their tax exempt status while wading into politics. They can't have their cake and eat it too.

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    2. You got that right! The Code only prohibits them from endorsing a particular candidate, but they exert such extraordinary influence on ISSUES, e.g. abortion, that they should be prohibited from propagandizing on that, too.

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  4. Somebody once asked me "Why'd you drop out of the Catholic Church?" I replied that I too much self respect. That got them kind of mad.

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    1. Anonymous -- As an ex-Catholic myself, I can relate.

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  5. Is it just me or does this video remind you of the Spanish Inquisition? I kept expecting the blacksmith to start torturing people with his red-hot irons.

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    1. Postmormon Girl -- :: snickers ::

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  6. The video isn't even a realistic image of the way a blacksmith works. The flames are only for emotional effect. My grandfather was a blacksmith. A blacksmith's forge does not have flames. Holding metal in flames would never heat it to the point where it could be worked.

    Sure this is a picky point but it shows the video was made by someone who has no idea how the world actually works. It was made to please a religious figure who thinks of hell when he thinks about a forge. Hell equals flames. In a real blacksmith's forge the metal is put in glowing coals to heat. But that would not make anyone think of hell.

    While my grandfather used to make horse shoes dressed like the man in the video a blacksmith today would be wearing safety glasses or probably a face shield.

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    1. John -- I suspect that the creators were striving for an emotional appeal rather than accuracy. You're right, though, about the video forge reminding people of hell.

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  7. The Vatican enjoys diplomatic immunity by virtue of a treaty with the U.S. That means it is a government. Someone should bring suit against them for being a foreign power deeply involved with law-making and interpreting in a sovereign nation. They claim to be non-profit and tax-proof, but they are in violation of I.R.S. laws and just as there is no way for the government to know what is put in collection plates, there is no way to know how much of it goes to Rome. Recent revelations (not to mention old Francis Coppola movies) have shown that the Vatican Bank is a money laundering scheme, an international scandal. They're only against abortion because they fear no new little Catholic suckers to indoctrine with the silliest mythological dogma ever invented. The murderous zealot Paul had his revelatioin on the road to Damascus that the could extract shekels from the gullible by founding a relgion. What a con man! And then there is Joseph Smith...but that is another story.

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    1. "They're only against abortion because they fear no new little Catholic suckers to indoctrine with the silliest mythological dogma ever invented."

      James -- I suspect that this is why they're against contraception and non-procreative sex as well. Fortunately, more and more people are seeing through them.

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