A new advert which was due to be aired in cinemas across the UK has been banned because it may cause offense.
The advert which was due to be played before showings of the new Star Wars film has been banned on the grounds that it could offend those of other faiths and no faiths.
The 60-second advert featured the Lord’s Prayer being recited by many different types of people. The Church of England warned the ban would have a “chilling” effect on free speech.
The advert, which is aimed at encouraging people to “just pray” was passed and given a U certificate by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) and cleared by the CAA (Cinema Advertising Authority) but it was banned by the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency, the company which administrates the advertising for the UK’s big brand cinemas including Odeon, Cineworld and Vue.
Speaking to the BBC the director of communications for the Church of England, the Reverend Arun Arora 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.”
The advert is for a campaign called #JustPray and carries the names of The Church of England and All Churches Trust Limited.
The Church of England were strong opponents of the same-sex marriage law when it was being debated and passed as law in 2013 and issued a response informing the Government that it could not “support” the law calling it “divisive” and “unwise” and threatened that any change in the law could and adversly affect the Church’s placement in the legal system. It said,
“The Church of England‘s unique place in the current marriage law of England means that the proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on our ability to serve the people of the nation as we have always done.”
The response from the then coalition Government was to place a legal “lock” on the Church, meaning it would never have to allow same-sex couples to be wed within any of its Churches, effectively banning LGBT people from using the Church in the same way heterosexual people have access to the Church.