Boston, MA -- Aug 6, 2008 -- Catholic Democrats is calling on Senator John McCain to pull an advertisement that mocks people of faith and their support for Senator Barack Obama's campaign for President of the United States. "Senator McCain and his staff described this ad as a stab at humor, but there is nothing light-hearted about using religion to belittle your opponent or his supporters," said Dr. Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. "This advertisement mocks a central tenet of Christianity, the Divinity of Christ, for political gain. Through an ad that plays on people's emotions, Senator McCain has betrayed his own vow to run an honorable campaign by hiding behind sarcasm in belittling the judgment of Senator Obama's supporters."
The McCain advertisement uses religious language and imagery, including clips from the film The Ten Commandments, to suggest that supporters of Senator Obama believe that the Democratic candidate is a Messiah-like figure. It also takes Senator Obama's words completely out of context in short snippets to make its argument.
Some analysts have found a peculiar pattern of imagery in the ad that ties into the popular "Left Behind" series of books by Tim LaHaye, who has spoken publicly in very harsh terms about Catholicism. It will be interesting to see if any of the conservative Catholics who have condemned the LaHaye books will ultimately criticize the McCain Campaign for indulging in this form of manipulative sublimininal advertising. Christina Bellantoni from the Washington Times points out that the McCain ad (coincidentally?) uses only scenes that include black audience members.
"It is amazing that Senator McCain, who claims to be concerned about global warming and who describes himself as a 'straight talker' on the issues, would allow his staff to create an ad that demeans the religious beliefs of Americans while ridiculing Senator Obama's call to address the climate crisis," Whelan continued.
"The sarcastic tone of the advertisement really demonstrates a lack of sensitivity by Senator McCain toward the religious sensibilities of Catholics and other people of faith," said Whelan. "This ad suggests that his Campaign is determined to focus on the politics of personal destruction rather than the abundance of pressing moral issues, like climate change, that face all Americans."
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