Friday, December 14, 2012

Lucia Powershop advertisement offensive to Catholics [UPDATE]

Thanks to John Stringer for pointing it out, in his post: Elton John opposes gay marriage. No, Elton John does not oppose gay marriage, but imagine if his image was being used to advertise that view. It would be propaganda of the worst kind, using a culturally iconic individual to potentially influence people who admire and respect Elton John's opinions with an outright lie.

Likewise with this advertisement by a state owned power company, Powershop. Pope Benedict XVI, whether you are Catholic or not, represents in the mind of many, the Church and Church authority. It is highly offensive to use him in this way, to suggest that the Church and he could ever change his mind about the redefinition of marriage, and that he would be right to do so, that his current stance is wrong.

Images form subconscious ideas in the mind, that's why so much money is spent on them in advertising, for advertising works. So, Pope Benedict XVI in a picture approving of a same-sex "marriage" is placing a lie in the minds of everyone who looks at the image uncritically and without much knowledge of the pope or the Catholic faith.
Electricity company Powershop says a billboard depicting Pope Benedict XVI marrying a male couple is not targeted at Catholics.

The four-and-a-half storey billboard is part of a campaign by Powershop, with the slogan "Same Power, Different Attitude".

The signs have recently been put up in central Auckland and Wellington.

Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent said it had received a mostly positive reaction from the public.

The billboard's message of freedom of choice and equality aligned with the company's values, he said.

He said the billboard was not targeted at Catholics "per se", but the Pope was an analogy of big power companies.

"(It's) making the point that some larger institutions can often lose touch with their constituents."

It was never their intention to offend anyone, he said.

"We're certainly trying to provoke debate, we make no apology for that."
I, for one, think it's very, very wrong of the state to support this type of obvious propaganda. At the very least, as a head of state, and highly influential person, loved by millions, the pope should not be mocked by New Zealand in this way.

This post is intended to send a message to Ari Sargent, that the billboard is offensive to Catholics.  As a Catholic, I was horrified when I first heard about it on the radio, and my opinion hasn't changed after seeing it.

UPDATE: The Catholic Bishop of Auckland has written to Powershop and asked them to take the outrageous and highly offensive billboards down: RNZ Morning Report Audio.  Hattip: Bob McCoskrie.

Related link: Pope gay marriage ad not targeted at Catholics ~ New Zealand Herald

7 comment(s):

DrCP said...

I went to Catholic boys high school with Ari Sargent (he was a year ahead).

This kind of rubbish from him does not surprise me.

Sad really.


Valtandor Nought said...

I've seen these posters appear in central Auckland (I work there and just moved into the area). They certainly do catch the eye.

I confess that I didn't recognise the Pope as such. I thought the celebrant was just a representation of a bishop. The message I took away was this: "Powershop thinks that conservative high-church bishops, and by extension all conservative Christian leaders, are old fuddy-duddies who need to get with the times by supporting same-sex marriage."

If I were a Powershop customer (I'm not), I would be ticked off that the revenue from my power was so obviously being used to support a cause with which I disagree. And if I were a Powershop shareholder (I'm obviously not), I'd be demanding to know why some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to have the company officially support a contentious political cause that has nothing whatsoever to do with electricity.

But if even a power company thinks it can get public support by coming out, as it were, as pro-SSM, I think it's safe to say the PR battle is over.

ZenTiger said...

Nice commentary by John Stringer. I went to their website and left a message:

Message for the CEO.

Looking forward to you putting up a billboard saying that Elton John opposes gay marriage to generate the debate in exactly the same style and tone you decided to use the Pope.

After all, isn't it all about equal opportunity?

Anonymous said...

ZT - In what way would your Elton John "idea" fit with the Powershop "Same power, different attitude" theme. Do you somehow thing that Sir Elton is in the same despotic mold as those who have gone before Bennie in these ads?

This ad is not about homosexuality, just as the one featuring Saddam Hussein was not an endorsement of the US's "War on Terror" or the Kim Jong Il one was a review of "Team America World Police".

Anonymous said...

LM, as much as you'd like us to live in a catholic Theocracy, we don't. We do get to mock, point and laugh, especially at the things we find silly.

At the very least, as a head of state, and highly influential person, loved by millions, the pope should not be mocked by New Zealand in this way.

Well, here's one of those millions who love the pope.

And the pope "blessing" this piece of dross means that we actually need to do more than point and laugh at him, we need to bring charges against him for bringing his office in to disrespect and for endorsing crimes against humanity.

By their works ye shall know them, and by all that is human, we know him!

Lucia Maria said...


ZenTiger said...

LRO, the Pope blessed a lot of people in those meetings, and a blessing might be just the thing to ensure that lawmakers consider Christian principles of love and charity when making laws.

This anti-gay law up for voting in a "democratic parliament" does not pass the test of authentic Christian principles, as already said by a Ugandan Bishop.

The Pope has affirmed that he is against unjust discrimination of gay people. I think you'll find if you stop reading the rather extremist gay lobby sites, you will find the Pope does not support any bill that would see people persecuted for their sexual orientation.

I note that the death penalty is targeted at those people who are HIV-positive, is a parent or authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances to then commit sexual acts on minors or people with disabilities.

Do you think HIV positive people (gay or straight) need to fully disclose their condition to potential sexual partners, and be allowed to engage in sex with minors?

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