Church of England says it is bewildered by leading chains’ stance on advert that was intended to play before new Star Wars film.
The UK’s three leading cinema chains have refused to show an advert by the Church of England that features the Lord’s Prayer, citing fears that it could offend people.
The 60-second advert was due to be shown before Star Wars: the Force Awakens, released on 18 December and which has smashed records for advance ticket sales at UK cinemas.
It was cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority and the British Board of Film Classification, but the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue chains – which control 80% of screens around the country – have refused to show the advert because they believe it “carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”.
The church warned that the move could have a “chilling effect on free speech” and said it was at a loss to understand the logic behind the decision.
Arun Arora, director of communications for the Church of England, said: “The prospect of a multigenerational cultural event offered by the release of Star Wars: the Force Awakens on 18 December – a week before Christmas Day – was too good an opportunity to miss and 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. Prayer permeates every aspect of our culture from pop songs and requiems to daily assemblies and national commemorations. For millions of people in the United Kingdom, prayer is a constant part of their lives whether as part thanksgiving and praise, or as a companion through their darkest hours.
Read more at TheGuardian.com…