NZ Right to Life group incensed by poster portraying the Pope blessing a gay wedding

Powershop set the cat among the pigeons with this giant gay marriage billboard

A CONTROVERSIAL billboard campaign in New Zealand depicts:

A bunch of rotten demagogues, famous the world over for their abuse of power, and recasts them as people who do decent things in their community.

Not surprisingly, some are deeply miffed that Ratzinger is one of the “demagogues” chosen by electricity company Powershop for its “Same Power, Different Attitude” campaign. It depicts the Great Dictator  blessing an inter-racial gay couple for billboards in central Auckland and Wellington with the slogan

In a blog on its website, according to this report,  the company alludes to the “rotten demagogues” , saying:

It’s satire for sure, but you could say we’ve got a bit of nerve to feature people in our ads who’ve regularly violated human rights. In truth, we think that dressing them up as humble, caring people is just about the best way possible to humiliate them.

But Powershop did not mention the Pope.

A livid Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr said Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Tony Ryall, should instruct Meridian Energy to have the “highly offensive” billboard removed immediately.

Orr also said it was insulting to Catholics and others in the community to “lampoon” the Pope, who was, ahem, the respected religious leader of the Catholic Church which upheld the institution of marriage as being exclusively between one woman and one man.

RTL wails on its website:

It is inappropriate for a State-Owned Enterprise to be getting involved in politics and taking a position on a Private Member’s Bill on a highly controversial social engineering issue that is before Parliament. It illustrates that the homosexual lobby is prepared to exploit and manipulate even State-Owned Enterprises in order to fulfil their agenda of inflicting same sex marriage on our community.

Powershop Chief Executive Ari Sargent is apparently unfazed by this silly pustule’s posturing and said the company 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 added that  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. But:

We’re certainly trying to provoke debate, we make no apology for that.

The Catholic Church in New Zealand had no immediate comment on the billboard.

Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Private Member’s Marriage [Amendment] Bill has passed its first reading and submissions are being heard by a select committee.

Sargent said it was “a bit of a stretch” to say that a few public billboards were going to influence public opinion.

People will make their own choices if they are pro marriage equality or not.

Rainbow Youth organiser Tom Hamilton said anything around diversity was positive.

If we’ve got a power company engaged in the diversity around the marriage topic, then good on them.

He didn’t believe the company was using the sign as a marriage equality initiative:

it’s just a little bit of something that’s left of field.

The billboard received mixed messages from people passing by. Clare Lenihan thought it was amusing.

It’s making fun of intolerant people. I think bigots might be offended by it.

A man who described himself as a Kiwi-Asian Baptist said it was “bad advertising” with potential religious implications.

But another passerby, Ben McKenzie, said the billboard was “pretty cool”.

Powershop has courted controversy with other billboards, such one as depicting former Iraq president Saddam Hussein collecting charity and former North Korea dictator Kim Jong-il selling hotdogs for charity.

Soon after he clinched the Vatican’s top job, Ratzinger blasted New Zealand’s proposed gay marriage plans, saying in 2005:

New Zealanders traditionally have recognised and celebrated the place of marriage and stable domestic life at the heart of their society and indeed continue to expect social and political forces to support families and to protect the dignity of women, especially the most vulnerable.

Secular distortions of marriage can never overshadow the splendour of a life-long covenant based on generous self-giving and unconditional love.

He said “correct reason” would tell New Zealanders that the future of humanity was passed on by way of the family, which offered society a secure foundation for its aspirations.

 Hat tip: BarrieJohn



24 responses to “NZ Right to Life group incensed by poster portraying the Pope blessing a gay wedding”

  1. Ed says:

    That’s an energy company that’s really switched on.
    AC&DC as standard.

  2. Stonyground says:

    How dare they portray our Evil Emperor acting like a decent human being?

    I see that the stats from the 2011 UK census have good news for the infidels and bad news for the churches.

  3. Matt Westwood says:

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

    “We’re certainly trying to provoke that stupid shithead of a fucking pope, we make no apology for that. Bring it on, ratfucker.”

  4. remigius says:

    Stonyground. Christians down by 13%. Non-religious up by 10%. Muslims up by 160%. Not really something to celebrate.

  5. remigius says:

    Oops. Meant 80%. Bloody windows calculator!

  6. JohnMWhite says:

    As ever, Catholicism demonstrates its inability to comprehend a world where people don’t respect them and don’t do as they demand. Their desperation to persecute others and claim persecution for themselves blinds them to the simple fact that public feeling has moved on and morality means more than hating the right people and fawning over the other right authorities.

  7. remigius says:

    Back on topic, I have to agree with the protesters. Portraying Ratzinger as a decent, tolerant, humane human being… it’s just wrong!

  8. Stonyground says:

    I suspect that the increase in Muzziness is due to immigration from Pakistan. I doubt that they are making many converts.

  9. remigius says:

    ‘I doubt that they are making many converts.’

    But they are making many babies!

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    Jesus said [Matthew 5:18-19] that inter-racial marriage is wrong [Number 12:1] and homosexual men should be killed [Leviticus 20:13] so I can see how the above could cause some concern. To say that the Pope supports anything else is false advertising.

  11. Barry Duke says:

    “The watchman’s walls have been broken and breached, the village is in flames, and triumphal ‘gay’culture warriors are leading a long string of young prisoners by their necks into the woods. Most disturbingly, many of the captives, including some of the children of these still sleepy-eyed Christian parents, seem happy to go.
    – the barking mad Scott Lively on Stephen “Birdshit” Green’s webshite (

    Lively is back in the news here:

  12. Matt Westwood says:

    Lively’s words can be construed as direct incitement to violence. I can tell you, I am directly incited to violence by his words. I want to rip his fucking face off with my teeth.

  13. Barry Duke says:

    Take it easy, Matt, you don’t want to get rabies!

  14. Daz says:

    Methinks Orr needs to get ‘imself a sense of humour.

  15. Robster says:

    I want a “pope on a rope” for xmas. Shower with Ratzilla hanging off the tap. Or, they could nail the old twerp to a stick like thay do with their baby jesus. They could make a set like a collection, this week a saviour on a stick, next week pope on a rope after that a reverend on a rock, priest on an 8 year old and so on. They’d sell real quick.

  16. jay says:

    I have problems with this on several levels.

    As a state run (if that is correct) organization, getting involved in this contentious religious discussion is inappropriate (and would be illegal in the US–as it should be). They can support gay marriage by offering benefits for employees, featuring gay employees in advertizing and public relations etc., but this is over the top.

    How would we react if a state run company featured anti choice ads, or ads critiquing prominent atheists?

    Besides it’s not good business (unless you are as state protected monopoly, then you can do whatever you want) to insult your customers (even if you disagree with them).

  17. remigius says:

    Jay. Why is it wrong for the state, or any subsidiary, to promote equality?

  18. Stephen Mynett says:

    It is not promoting gay marriage. The company have run a series of ads with famous dictators in unusual scenarios, a couple featured Saddam Hussain and Kim il Sung as charity workers. The ads are satircal and showing things that are strange because they would not normally happen.

    The pope is just another dictator, that is fact, so he is a valid target.

  19. Georgina says:

    Actually, the bible is PRO homosexuality. Jonathan and Saul anyone?

  20. barriejohn says:

    Georgina: Ruth and Naomi, the Centurion and his “servant”, and other relationships alluded to in varous places. However, “The Bible” is not one book but a collection of writings by many different people, collected at different times and then rewritten, so it reflects only their views and the views of the redactors.

  21. sailor1031 says:

    I seem to remember some young man in a linen cloak and nothing else being with Yeshue, ostensibly to be initiated into “greater spiritual insights” and running away naked when he was seized by those who arrested Yeshue……so, was Yeshue (and therefore doG) gay too? sounds rather like it doesn’t it?

  22. barriejohn says:

    There is also the rich young man whom Jesus looked upon and loved, and the disciple whom he loved and who “leaned on his bosom”, but these are hardly historical records, so it’s difficult to know what to make of them. Inferences have also been drawn regarding the steadfastly heterosexual and fanatically homophobic Apostle Paul’s attachment to younger men, especially Timothy, towards whom he shows particular affection. Many have suggested that the great weakness with which Paul obviously had a constant struggle may have been same sex attraction, and as a former gay but closeted Christian zealot I can see what they are driving at, but who can be sure about any of this?