It is just before Christmas, a major Christian festival, and cinemas are refusing to show this 60 second advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer, because they say it “might” be seen as offensive by some audiences.
They don’t seem to bother about any Christians who “might” think this ban is offensive. The Church hierarchy are understandably up in arms about this, as the Lord’s Prayer is just about the most basic Christian ritual there is, and even Muslim leaders and atheist Richard Dawkins say that suppressing it is a daft idea. In a news report I saw one secularist say that it was due to the fact that cinemas risk being sued if they accept the Christian advert and then go on to refuse adverts from other faiths or cults. Our discrimination laws have become a real Gordian Knot, and Christianity needs a bit of help.
We are used to hearing about things like schools refusing to put on nativity plays at Christmas because it “might” offend other faiths. However, what then often happens is that the “other faiths” make it plain that they have no objections and it is nothing to do with them. When it is investigated fully it often turns out to be militant secularists trying to suppress Christianity. Militant secularists target Christianity because it is an easy target. They don’t dare target other faiths as they are likely to reply with violence.
The whole of Western society is based on Christianity, even though many people are now somewhat neutral about religion. The Church of England is the established Church in England, and this Church, with its secular Head, The Monarch, should always have a policy of respect and tolerance towards other faiths, and have the role of guardian of religious freedom in this country. This should be what the Church of England Bishops are in the House of Lords for. The trick will be to protect Christianity without making it oppressive, as we certainly don’t want to impose religion on anyone against their will.
My suggestion would be to use the law to protect Christianity by amending such existing law as we have on religion to include a clause saying something like the following:
“Any Christian ritual, that is recognised as such by the Established Church, and is voluntarily performed in a reasonable manner, at a reasonable time of day, cannot be considered offensive by any person or organisation.”
This will hopefully be the lightest touch possible to achieve the objective. The reason any ritual involved must be recognised as such by the Church of England, even if it is a ritual of another Christian Church, is in order to weed out extreme activity by those such as cults. The ritual must be voluntary, and performed in a reasonable manner at a reasonable time of day, which should stop things like happy-clappys making a nuisance of themselves with their exuberance. Of course this will not stop rituals from being prevented for other reasons, such as the ubiquitous “Health and Safety” issues, but it will stop Christian rituals being prevented because they “might” offend someone. With such a law, the Lord’s Prayer advert would be acceptable to cinemas as they would be able to refuse adverts of other faiths as they are not covered.
This may seem unfair to other faiths, but that is just tough. Britain is a Christian country, and it would be the Established Christian Church that protects other faiths. It should also be remembered that many other faiths are not as tolerant as Christianity. Anyone who has a problem with the practice of Christianity in this country is probably living in the wrong place, and should consider relocating.