The conservative nonprofit Catholic Vote knows a thing or two about advertising, that much is obvious. Its new PSA opposing the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality could easily be mistaken at first for a new Dove ad, or, indeed, for one of the many brand ads espousing equality. The casual, confessional setting. The real people a bit unsure of opening up on camera. The soundtrack straight out of the Dove Beauty Sketches Guide To Music.
The racially and gender diverse group of six adults are unsure of revealing their true selves. Society, y’know? At this point viewers could be forgiven for thinking these people are talking about their looks, or even coming out as part of the LGBT community. But no, they’re Catholics who are afraid their views on the definition of marriage will go over with their secular friends and colleagues like … well, a fart in church.
“I’m a little bit nervous about people hearing that I am this way and thinking, ‘Oh, well, she’s not welcome here.'”
“It’s pretty scary, y’know? You wonder how many people can I truly, honestly be open with?”
“At the end of the day I don’t think we should be ashamed with how we really feel about things, so be you.”
The group has used, and amplified, all the visual and audio cues of ads created to fight genuine oppression–the teary-eyed revelation, the affecting show of vulnerability–and twisted them into the service of positioning bigots as put-upon heroes. It’s a soft approach to turning intolerance into tolerance and it’s much easier to play the victim than acknowledge these views have led to the misery of so many.