Monday, November 23, 2015

That Church of England ad

Yesterday, on Facebook, I shared a post from the Iona Institute about the news that the three largest cinema chains in England have refused to screen an ad, from the Church of England, promoting the Lord's Prayer.

Then I took it down, partly because I get tired of all the indignation on Facebook, and partly because the explanation of the cinema chains-- that they don't take ads promoting any particular belief, political or religious or otherwise, after complaints during the Scottish independence campaign-- seemed reasonable. (I am literally the most fair-minded person I've ever met, it is almost an affliction.)

However, then I found myself rethinking it and I thought: "No, really, that's not good enough". I find it offensive to sit through ad after ad for make-up and cars and sports drinks, with all the various unsavoury subtexts that go with them. I could complain, but who would listen? Personally I would rather sit through ten ads about political and religious (and anti-religious) beliefs than ads about washing powder and toothpaste.

And I don't think Christians should let their religious freedoms be eroded purely out of a desire to be uncontroversial. Religious freedom is something complex and it's as much about what's allowed to be said in the public sphere as it is about truncheons and concentration camps. So yes-- it IS something to be aggrieved about, and those cinema chains should be criticized.

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