So unless you’ve been hidden under a rock or in a country where the internet really is censored, you’ve probably heard of the decision by Digital Cinema Media (DCM) refusing permission for the Lords Prayer advert to be screened in cinemas.
Claims of pandering to political correctness and rampant secularism to claims of violating freedom of speech and the crowd favourite, persecution have been plenty in Christian media. Now admittedly the way DCM have handled this has not helped. Claiming the ban is because “it could cause offense” is just petrol on the fire for those who already feel marginalized because they think they’re banned from saying Merry Christmas.
But the simple fact is, it’s nothing of the kind. First off, they’re not banned from making the video in the first place. Secondly, they’re not banned from distributing the video freely on the internet which has a far bigger audience than all the cinemas in the world combined. Third, no one is now calling for them to be arrested or worse. Fourth, DCM reserve the right to decline any advert on the grounds of if they feel the video is pushing political or religious agenda. Fifth, Christians are free to complain about the decision and indeed appeal it.
So there’s no freedom of speech issues, no persecution. An authority governing aspects of cinema has made a decision regarding a piece of marketing material and deemed it inappropriate. If Muslims or atheists tried to make a similar video I’d expect the decision to be the same. But the biggest thing for me is that it’s a video advertising prayer and as soon as I saw that, the below popped into my mind:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:5-6
We don’t need to advertise prayer in an entertainment venue, I think everyone knows that Christians and people of many other faiths pray. There’s a lot of confusion over why people pray but the website seems geared towards helping people pray. I don’t know for sure but my experience is that if atheists are interested in prayer, they’re going to go to a Christian they know and if Christians are struggling to pray, they’re going to go to Christians they know. Now the site does offer some advice on what prayer is (how good the advice is is another matter) but if someone is having questions about prayer, chances are they’ll know someone who they can speak to and besides, the above passage is probably the best advice. But sadly it has once again shown Christians completely backward priorities. With many homeless this winter, refugees seeking asylum plus numerous other issues afflicting millions (which Churches do a great job with by the way), we’re up in arms over the fact an ad won’t be shown in a cinema.
So whilst I get the reason behind the campaign, I think it’s very misguided to try and put it in cinemas even though it is actually very good and the DCM could have handled it much better. It’s certainly isn’t a restriction on freedom of speech and because I’m free to do so, I’ve pasted the video below.