ESS Letter: Church of England’s Lord’s Prayer Advert

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The recent refusal of Digital Cinema Media (DCM) to show the Church of England’s Lord’s Prayer advert brings up some interesting issues.

The DCM have cited their policy on having no political or religious advertising as reason to turn away the business but an outraged Church of England has claimed religious discrimination, victimisation and is threatening to sue.

I can’t help but ponder if there are similarities here with the Asher’s gay cake row of a few months ago. Should the Irish bakers have been similarly entitled to turn away the work of a cake advocating marriage equality? There is surely a difference between turning away customers who choose to believe in an invisible supernatural being and discriminating against gay people because of who they are.

The concluding tagline of the church’s ad  “Prayer is for everyone” betrays a certain arrogance. Would those who are “bewildered” by DCM’s saying no thanks to the ad still be citing free speech were cinemas to be filled with Islamic ads or atheist ads? At what point would bombarding their patrons with a multiplicity of religious proselytising simply be bad for business. Surely in a free market economy Cinemas should have the freedom to choose?

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society

Published Edinburgh Evening News –  Tuesday 8th December 2015.

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