Cinemas – and Archbishop Welby – mess up prayer ad
Before the Paris atrocities of September 13, an outfit called Just Pray UK produced a Lord’s Prayer cinema ad which opens with the words ‘our father in heaven’ spoken by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Then things went badly wrong. First, UK cinemas refused to screen this crass piece of Christian propaganda, then Welby told the BBC’s Songs Of Praise that the terror attacks in Paris made him “doubt” the presence of God.
Saturday morning, I was out and as I was walking I was praying and saying: ‘God, why – why is this happening? Where are you in all this?’ … Yes, I doubt.
Commenting on the cinema ban, the Church of England has said it is “disappointed and bewildered”, called the the decision “plain silly” and warned it could have a “chilling” effect on free speech.
It had hoped the 60-second film would be screened UK-wide before Christmas ahead of the new Star Wars film.
It was passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification and given a “U” certificate, as well as receiving clearance from the Cinema Advertising Authority.
The Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency, which handles British film advertising for the major cinema chains, Odeon, Cineworld and Vue, said it had a policy of not accepting political or religious advertising content in its cinemas.
It said that “some advertisements – unintentionally or otherwise – could cause offence to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith,” and that “in this regard, DCM treats all political or religious beliefs equally”.
The Reverend Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England, said:
We find that really astonishing, disappointing and rather bewildering. The prospect of many families attending the release of the new Star Wars film had seemed a good opportunity to launch the advert and a new website justpray.uk to promote prayer ahead of Christmas.
The Lord’s Prayer is prayed by billions of people across the globe every day, and in this country has been part of everyday life for centuries.
In one way the decision of the cinemas is just plain silly, but the fact that they have insisted upon it, makes it rather chilling in terms of limiting free speech.
He encouraged people to visit the incredibly messy website, watch the film and make up their own minds as to whether they are upset or offended by it.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn and AgentCormac