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

The Church of England thought a prayer ad would be ideal to screen just before the Christmas release of "The Force Awakens."

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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