British movie theaters banned an advertisement featuring the Lord’s Prayer set to run before Christmas, saying it was too offensive.
Digital Cinema Media, a group that runs 80 percent of movie theater advertisements in Britain, said it will not run the 60-second ad because the company has a policy of not screening ads with political or religious messages in case they offend people.
The ad, which features people of different backgrounds praying as they go about their day, was scheduled to play before the Star Wars “The Force Awakens” movie. In the video, a man tends to his sheep, another places a bouquet of flowers on a headstone, and a policewoman goes about her job, each while reciting a line of the prayer. It’s part of JustPray.uk, a campaign to encourage prayer across the United Kingdom.
“We are bewildered by the decision of the cinemas, Arun Arora, the communications director for the Church of England said in a prepared statement. “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.”
British prime minister David Cameron called the ban “ridiculous.”
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, tweeted that members of Parliament recite the prayer at the start of each day.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that it was shocking that an advertisement for prayer scheduled to be shown during the week before Christmas–the celebration of Christ’s birth–would be considered offensive.
“This advert is about as ‘offensive’ as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day,” Welby said.”I think people need to watch the film and come to their own conclusions as to whether it is offensive or upsetting. Let the public judge for themselves rather than be censored or dictated to.”