Lord’s prayer ad won’t air before Star Wars sequel in major British theaters

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Major British theaters are refusing to air an ad from the Church of England before the Christmas release of The Force Awakens, the Star Wars sequel. Image from the Star Wars trailer.

Major British theaters are refusing to air an ad from the Church of England before the Christmas release of The Force Awakens, the Star Wars sequel. Image from the Star Wars trailer.

LONDON (Reuters) – The Church of England said on Sunday it was “bewildered” by the refusal of some of Britain’s biggest cinema chains to show an advertisement featuring the Lord’s Prayer.

The 60-second ad, which shows a variety of Christians including a police officer, weight lifter and school children each saying one line of the prayer, had been due to be shown next month before screenings of the new Star Wars film “The Force Awakens”.

Digital Cinema Media, which provides 80 percent of cinema advertising through chains including Cineworld, Odeon and Vue, said in a statement it had a policy of not accepting political or religious advertising in case they caused offense.

“We are bewildered by the decision of the cinemas. 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,” Reverend Arun Arora, director of communications for the Church of England, said in a statement.

“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.”

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  • Jon

    Headlines:

    “Church ‘bewildered’ when treated fairly, and Christian Privilege not maintained”

    The policy is simple – no political or religious advertising. That applies to all religions. When you are accustomed to privilege, equal rights feels like oppression.

  • John Barton

    Who said anything about privilege? This is a simple matter of censorship by organisations which have themselves protested when prevented from showing grossly offensive material in the past. No one in their right mind could classify the Lord’s Prayer like that.

  • Larry

    Not being treated special is not censorship

    Its only censorship if they are entitled to provide the message on the given media and are denied. The Church of England is not entitled to put ads in front of movies. Such decisions are ultimately in the hands of the privately/corporate owned film distributors and theaters.

    “No one in their right mind could classify the Lord’s Prayer like that.”

    Except anyone outside the Church of England. Its sectarian and inherently divisive. They don’t take advertising from any religious or political source. Your argument for making an exception for the sake of a given church smacks of privilege.

  • Ben in oakland

    Just think of how many starving children could be fed for the amount of money they are going to spend to advertise at the screenings of one very hugely potentially blockbuster film.

    Priorities, priorities,

  • Bernardo

    But did Jesus even utter the Pater Nostra? Tis debatable. One NT scholar says he did not. http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb120.html. Another NT scholar says he did. Professor Gerd Ludemann, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 145-147. The consensus is that said prayer is actually a collection of Jesus utterances.

    But the prayer is vitiated by the fact there is no Father and there is no Heaven. If you have proof, list said proofs below. Please include celestial locations, addresses and phone numbers.

  • Bernardo

    Ben in Oakland,

    But just think how many children’s fathers and mothers feed their children via good paying jobs in the movie industry.

  • John Barton

    It would help if we all kept to the facts. First, the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t belong to the Church of England. Secondly, the cinema watchdog approved the one minute video. Third, at least one other religious advertisement has already been screened. No one is asking for preferential treatment.

    However, as a result of this ridiculous ban and subsequent publicity, the website to which the video was a signpost is now a massive success.

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  • MarkE

    I don’t think freedom of religious expression in the UK is the same as here in the US. The CofE is the “official” religion of the state, and its monarch is the “head of the church and defender of the faith.” Doesn’t this change some of the implications here?

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  • TRISH

    Your a fool if you think there is no Father in Heaven or Heaven…period. Soon our Heavenly Fathers’ son, Jesus will be returning (everything you see going on in the world around us has been documented and prophesied right to the ‘t’ in the book of Revelations) so you had better be ready to stand before your maker our Heavenly Father on judgement day to pay account for your verbal opinions and actions that you have not asked forgiveness for because TRUE, spiritual forgiveness only comes through the blood of Jesus and if you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart at that point there will only be ONE PLACE you will end up and it’s NOT in a celestial location of ANY kind..