The agency that handles the advertising for three British movie theatre chains has banned an advertisement that features the Lord's Prayer.
The ad, “Just Pray,” was produced by the Church of England and features people saying the Lord’s Prayer or “Our Father,” a traditional Christian prayer.
Those featured in the ad include refugees, a grieving son, weightlifters, a sheep farmer, a gospel choir and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.
The Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency, which handles British film advertising for the major movie chains, Odeon, Cineworld and Vue, refused to show the 60-second film because it believed it would risk upsetting or offending audiences. In a statement, DCM said it had a policy of not accepting political or religious advertising content. The statement said that "some advertisements - unintentionally or otherwise - could cause offence to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith," and that "in this regard, DCM treats all political or religious beliefs equally".
On Sunday, Church of England Archbishop Welby offered a statement to the Daily Mail: ‘I find it extraordinary that cinemas rule that it is inappropriate for an advert on prayer to be shown in the week before Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Billions of people across the world pray this prayer on a daily basis. I think they would be astonished and deeply saddened by this decision, especially in the light of the terrorist attack in Paris where many people have found comfort and solace in prayer. This advert is about as ‘offensive’ as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day.”