By Cliff Kincaid (AIM.org)
A video on religious freedom and traditional values released a few months ago as part of an effort to highlight anti-Christian initiatives by the Obama Administration has now gone viral, generating over 2.1 million views on YouTube. The filmmaker, Jeremy Wiles, tells Accuracy in Media that the idea for the video came from a dream and that he now sees “God’s fingerprints” all over the project.
The 3-minute “Test of Fire” video says voting for the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom are of grave importance and poses the question, “Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?” It shows a blacksmith pounding out words signifying various election issues but putting, “life,” “marriage,” and “freedom” in the forefront and then being placed on an American flag.
The official description of the video, which includes dramatic music and a woman entering a voting booth and marking a ballot, says, “Some things are more important than high gas prices or a faltering economy. They are life, marriage and freedom. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?”
“Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity,” it says.
Wiles told AIM that he was struggling with the idea of a script when he remembered the words “life,” “marriage,” and “freedom,” from a dream he had just had. He integrated those into the video, “Test of Fire: Election 2012,” which was originally posted on the website of a small Catholic group in Florida and then picked up by commentators for Fox News, Glenn Beck, Catholic television networks, and others.
The success of the video demonstrates the power of new media in this election year and the ability of citizen activists to overcome liberal media bias.
The video, with 2.1 million views, is directed at Catholics, while another versionappeals to Protestants.
Catholics are a crucial voting bloc. In 2008, 54 percent of Catholics voted for Obama. This year, however, many Catholics are opposing and resisting Obama’s attempts to dictate church policy, especially in regard to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate under the Obamacare program that employers, including religious institutions, provide birth control and abortion-related services.
The video includes the quote, “When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead,” by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. It is from an op-ed on religious freedom.
Wiles runs Creative Lab, a West Palm Beach, Florida, film production studio. He said that he was contacted by Adriana Gonzalez of Catholics Called to Witness to do a video on threats to religious freedom and Catholic moral teachings. Catholics Called to Witness is a faith-based organization dedicated to upholding and promoting religious liberty, “our first, most cherished liberty” and three “non-negotiable principles:”
- “Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death.
- “Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family—as a union between one man and one woman based on marriage—and its defense from attempts to make it juridical equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role.
- “The protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Gonzalez also serves as the ParentalRights.org Florida State Coordinator and with her husband Manuel homeschooled their seven children, two of whom are now in college. ParentalRights.org is headed by noted conservative Christian activist and constitutional attorney Michael P. Farris.
She contacted Wiles about doing a special election year video. Her websiteexplains, “The thought of making a video came to us as a sudden inspiration from a friend. Though we had little knowledge of the video-making process, the idea made sense, and so we contacted our videographer friends at Creative Lab. We wanted a video that would powerfully communicate the non-negotiable issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty.”
Wiles said he had a mental block until deadline day, when he woke up with images from a dream of a blacksmith and the words “life,” “marriage,” and “freedom” in fire. The rest of the story is equally astonishing. He said a friend of a friend found a blacksmith shop and it was filmed in one day and edited in a short 3 hours.
“We honestly did not anticipate anything,” says the Catholics Called to Witness website. “It was simply inexperience that kept us from forming expectations. But beginning on Easter Sunday, we watched as the number of hits went up by the thousands and then the tens of thousands every day. The media caught on and aired it both locally and nationally. We heard stories of people repeatedly receiving the video, emailed to them from family and friends. The video was popping up on more websites than we could keep up with. Fox TV aired or talked about ‘Test of Fire’ five times, including a live interview on the Lou Dobbs Show. Glenn Beck posted it on The Blaze and talked about it on his radio show. And EWTN and Catholic TV continue to share it with their viewers.”
EWTN, a global Catholic television network, recently interviewed Adriana Gonzalez and her husband Manuel about their organization and how the “Test of Fire” video came about. They were also interviewed by the CatholicTV Network, an online service seeking carriage on cable and satellite services. “It was truly a work of God,” she said of the video. “We put it on YouTube and we sent it off with a prayer.”