Cinemas – and Archbishop Welby – mess up prayer ad

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 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.

He added:

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

42 responses to “Cinemas – and Archbishop Welby – mess up prayer ad”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Justin Welby’s god is either ignorant, impotent, non-existent, or a psychopath. Take your pick.

  2. Broga says:

    I heard Justin Welby say that after Paris he had doubts about God’s existence. I suppose that implies that before Paris the suffering children of the world and the vast cruelties in nature did not make him doubt.

    This insistence that we all pray is amazing in 2015. We are urged to pray for a fiction for which there has never been any evidence that it is real. As an adjunct of the prayer we are all suppose to act as if the fiction is real. So a loving God is believed to hear millions of individual prayers and recognise the person praying.

    Welby also seems to think he can talk to his fictional God when he is walking – Welby walking, that is. All this is beyond bizarre. It is utterly bonkers. My wife tells me she heard the “clarification” that whatever the immediate suffering we can accept that everything is in the context of God’s love.

  3. Fruitpicker says:

    “The prospect of many families attending the release of the new Star Wars film had seemed a good opportunity to launch the advert”

    In other words a good opportunity to proselytize to a captive audience of kids.

    Where was god last week indeed! In the minds of the crazies who went on a shooting spree perhaps?

  4. Justin says:

    Would all you monotheistic brain-misdirecting religions just go away, please? If just one of you had “the God’s”backing, mankind would not be in this mess, would they? For he/she/it would not put up with the others’ God – not for one moment! No religions, you will go away slowly – as real-time data is being kept, while history is being made daily, yearly, millennially…your “God” will either have to show up, or his absence given enough time and record keeping, will portend his lack of relevance to what true Justice.

  5. Angela_K says:

    Where was Welby’s god during natural disasters and the first world war; could his/her absence have anything to do with non-existence? The god squad reply with the usual bland nonsensical platitudes that their god gave man free will, works in mysterious ways and other tosh. The placing of religious advertisements in Cinemas is just cynical exploitation;can’t get people into their Theatres of mumbo-jumboism so they’ll get the message across in a cinema.

  6. Ivan says:

    Would the CoE be happy for the Satanists to screen an advert in church before a sermon?

  7. barriejohn says:

    Broga: “Welby also seems to think he can talk to his fictional God when he is walking – Welby walking, that is.”

    I’m sure that his god walks with him – it’s something that I heard over and over again as a young Christian.

    “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” (Gen. 3:8)

    The god of the Bible gets hot, gets tired, loses his temper, wishes he hadn’t done many of the things that he did; you could almost be forgiven for thinking that he was an imaginary being based upon some Middle Eastern potentate.

  8. Stephen Mynett says:

    Good choice of film by the religionists, maybe they could go with the line: “Justin Welby, the Farce is strong in this one.”

    I have emailed the Cinema group to thank them for taking a reasonable secular approach and agreeing that many of us do want a pile of propaganda with our films, either political or religious. It seemed worth doing to try to offset the pile of religionist hate mail they are almost bound to receive.

  9. sailor1031 says:

    “…ignorant, impotent, non-existent, or a psychopath”

    answer = all of the above. Maybe the man and the woman would not have had to hide if doG had limited his actions to merely showing them his hind parts which apparently are much less scary than his face.

    I’m at a loss though how cinemas’ refusal to show this turgid little movie has anything to do with free speech.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Sailor: YHWH is a bit prudish, actually.

    “For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.” (Deut, 23:14)

    Amazingly human attributes, but you’d think that showing his arse would be the very last thing (figuratively) that he would want to do!

  11. Justin says:

    “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.”

    Which raises the question: why do you need to advertise it? Isn’t it more accurate to say that less and less people in the U.K. care about recitations of these words and that is why you want to show these clips?

    “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.”

    It has no impact on free speech. Cinemas can choose to screen or not screen anything they want. Don’t you mean it is having a chilling effect on your Christian privilege?

  12. Stuart H. says:

    Maybe the C of E PR mob have just been watching The Great Rock and Roll Swindle and picked up a few pointers from Malcolm McClaren. If you’ve just produced a film which small kids will snigger at before forgetting forever when the main feature comes on, what better than getting it banned so that godbothering parents who can never watch it tut-tut in the Daily Fail?
    Seriously, the prominent BBC coverage of the ban by a ‘religious correspondent’ who owes her job to her late father’s reputation, on the very day Justin Wallaby is due to be ignored by most of us on some tacky Songs of Praise Paris shootings special – coincidence?
    Doubt it. Two loser institutions covering each other’s backs more like.

  13. Trevor Blake says:

    There is not a human being of sound mind on the British isles who is not aware of Christianity. It is known. Some believe, some don’t, but all know. The superficial purpose of such an advertisement, to inform, has already called through redundancy. The unspoken purpose is to beg theater attendants to find Christianity relevant or desirable by parasitically attaching itself to a popular film. What a sad display.

  14. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Walking with Jesus. A Christian told me this story years ago. A Christian had died and gone to Heaven. Looking back on his life he saw two tracks in the snow. Jesus told him that on that trip when the snow was deep Jesus had walked beside him for company. The Christian then saw a single track and asked where Jesus was then.

    Jesus replied, “That was when I carried you.”

    The Christian who told me was delighted with this. They do love these childish fairy stories.

  15. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Hahahahaha. I knew many Christians (the soppy, sentimental type, of course) who had this in their home:


  16. barriejohn says:

    Broga: The same people would also be likely have one of the following on display.

    Most of us would just pull a face and say to one another: “No way!”

  17. andym says:

    They’ve just shown the advert on the News. So it’s got more publicity than it would otherwise have got in one day. More than anything, it reminded me of a Songs of Praise condensed into a minute. That’s Songs of Praise , the free propaganda slot the BBC gives weekly to the religious, chiefly the C of E . Not as if they’re denied a platform.

    Just another case of special pleading from the religious, wanting a private company to suspend their rules that apply to everyone else.

  18. Vanity Unfair says:

    Freedom of speech is wasted if all you can say is what you are allowed to say.
    To that extent, I favour allowing the advertisement.
    The Advertisement supplier is a limited company so must have its profits in mind when deciding which advertisements to accept. Sometimes it will make a decision that errs too far in caution.
    For misleading advertisements see ASA BCAP S3.4
    Obvious exaggerations (“puffery”) and claims that the average consumer who sees the advertisement is unlikely to take literally are allowed provided they do not materially mislead.{b2afbd30-68e8-4d67-aa91-100eda87add9}

  19. barriejohn says:

    @andym: A particular bone of contention with me is that BBC School Choir of the Year, which I used to enjoy very much, has now mysteriously become a part of Songs of Praise, presented by Aled Jones (of course), and no one bats an eyelid. How did that happen?

  20. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Well done. That’s it. My recollection was from years ago but you have produced the original. I liked the “precious, precious child” and I suppose that’s how they see themselves. Their sensitivity to embarrassment seems low to non existent.

    I have also come across the “unseen guest” one as well.

  21. AgentCormac says:

    The sadness is that for just one moment there Welby almost, almost saw the light. He very nearly, just about conceded that in fact there is no such thing as god and that religion is a man-made concept created with the specific objective of controlling the minds and actions of others who would rather keep their heads attached to the rest of their bodies. But instead of facing up to the obvious he then decided to get back in his warm bath of faith. What a wanker. His god doesn’t exist any more the Norse, Roman, Egyptian or Greek gods. And he bloody knows it! But just when the world needs someone to step up to the plate and admit that religion has all been a terrible, terrible mistake, he bottles it. Big time.

    So fuck off Welby – your inability to come out and say what you clearly, obviously think makes you absolutely complicit in every atrocity that is perpetrated in the name of religion. And I despise you for your spineless, craven refusal to denounce all religion for the sham it really is.

  22. Broga says:

    @AgentCormac : I think Welby believes in God as much as I do. And I think the same goes for most bishops, priests etc. These clergy are not all stupid. But they have jobs and to keep the job and enjoy the status, such as it is, they have to go through the motions.

  23. AgentCormac says:

    Agreed, it is indeed a job. But the decisions these people make and the rules they demand their followers live by have profound consequences, not just for themselfves but the rest of us and the rest of the world.

  24. barriejohn says:

    Believe it or not, The Daily Mail (not the MailOnline) is making this front-page news tomorrow; yes – the most important thing that is happening in the world! Evidently, the CofE is going to sue somebody over it – maybe themselves over their utter stupidity:

    They are even going after the “multi-millionaire, tax exile” boss of Odeon in a separate article, as if he used some magic spell to force the church to overlook the ban on religious or political advertising. And I just love the photo of Welby as one of those notorious “local resident says council won’t fix overflowing drain” types!

  25. barriejohn says:

    Someone actually had the gall to post this comment on the MailOnline site:

    Why isn’t this a top news story, DM? Quit your morbid obsession with Paris terrorism. This is PC madness and Christian persecution on our own doorstep. Even the BBC made it a top story.

    Do you ever feel like giving up?

  26. gedediah says:

    As usual, the Christian persecution complex on display. A violation of free speech is when government stops you from expressing your opinion, not when a private company decides your prothlesizing message is innapropriate for its audience.

  27. Broga says:

    I heard a bit more of Welby this morning. He said something along the lines of “our tears being stored up by God” so everything is taken care of eventually. It is so totally bonkers that it is off the scale and beyond even the furthest margins of common sense.

    This craziness is being broadcast by the BBC whose religious mafia refuses to allow a secular comment of Thought for the Day.

  28. barriejohn says:

    “Prayer; it’s the very least you can do.”

    I also like this one:

  29. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn: My mom has the very same footprints picture with quote on her wall. She loves that kind of religious treacle. So god must have been walking with all those victims in France and every woman raped and every child abused and every innocent killed, yet he did nothing. Is it just me or doesn’t this make god look like an asshole? Of course, the god deluded will say “god moves in mysterious ways” and “it’s all part of god’s plan” or other such nonsense.

    I really liked the last link, having given only money myself, when I could have made a meaningless and useless gesture like praying.

  30. Peter Sykes says:

    Barriejohn the quote I have:
    “Rihanna and Beyonce are sending prayers to the Oklahoma victims. Now I feel like a right idiot – I’m only sending money”. – Ricky Gervais

  31. Stephen Mynett says:

    I can understand some gods ignoring rape but surely Allah needs to be careful as he needs all the virgins he can get to pay the suicide bombers and other mass murderers. Perhaps this is why we all too often see stories of rape victims being flogged as a Sharia punishment, the devout are obviously pissed off at losing a potential reward.

  32. AgentCormac says:

    ‘our tears being stored up by God’? What effing planet is the man living on?

  33. Cali Ron says:

    AC: Hasn’t he heard Eric Clapton? No more tears in heaven! ‘our tears being stored up by God’?-What does that even mean?

  34. Stephen Mynett says:

    Welby is a pillock. The doubting his faith thing was probably only a stunt, I know it used to be very popular among some Christians, basically they did it as part of their bible study group and, surprisingly, all came out agreeing they were wrong to doubt but that it had made them stronger believers and closer to their god. It is all a total fix to keep the sheeple in line.

    Come to think of it though, there may be something to this doubting lark. I am now doubting whether I should go and open my new bottle of Bowmore . . . Just off to get a dram, cheers evryone.

  35. barriejohn says:

    S.Mynett: I don’t believe the old fraud either. I was told many a time by older Christians that “It’s good to have doubts”- as you say, in a strange, confidential manner – and always thought that it was a trick, either to get me to confess to wicked unbelief, or to make me more receptive to their overtures. They could never adequately explain to me how having doubts made my faith “stronger”, just as they could never properly explain this business of “temptation”, which is what you refer to. They tie themselves in knots over that one, but I wouldn’t waste too much emotional energy resisting the urge to crack open a bottle if I were you. What’s the point in congratulating yourself over your display of moral fibre if you step in front of a bus tomorrow and never get to enjoy the sweet liquid? Your dying thought might be: “Drat; I might as well have drunk it when I had the chance”!

  36. Stephen Mynett says:

    Barriejohn, on the line of drinking and such,there was a great line in an Andy Capp cartoon years ago, Andy said: “I have plenty of will power I just refuse to be a slave to it.”

  37. barriejohn says:

    SM: The early Andy Capps ( a Daily Mirror cartoon series by Reg Smythe, for the benefit of our American cousins!) were brilliant.

    Florrie: “Andy only drinks to steady his nerves. Sometimes he’s so steady he can hardly move.”

  38. chrsbol says:

    “Sometimes he’s so steady he can hardly move.”
    I always think of Jackass 2 finale at the very end. Not everybody’s cup of tea I know and they murder that great song from La cage aux Folles.

  39. Cali Ron says:

    My local newspaper used to carry Andy Capps in the funnies and they were always funny in a witty sort of way. 2 of my favorite quotes:

    “You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.” Dean Martin

    “Drinking is my religion. Care to join me in prayer.” From a sign in a pub in Ireland, I especially like that it’s sacrilegious.

  40. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: They could be very witty. Like Andy coming home and saying to Florrie: “I bought us a bottle of ale each pet, but I dropped yours.”

  41. andym says:

    Some rare sense from a practising Anglian. As suspected, it appears the whole thing is manufactured PR, with them knowing long ago their ad probably would be rejected. They’re talking of using the Equality Act-yes, they act from which they made sure to be exempt.