The Equality and Human Rights Commission is set to investigate the banning of the Lord’s Prayer from being shown in movie theaters, on grounds that the ban may restrict religious freedom.
According to Christian Today, an advertisement featuring the Prayer and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was scheduled to be shown before screenings of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Digital Cinema Media chose not to screen the advertisement, however, due to the fact that advertisements promoting “any religion, faith or equivalent systems of belief” are prohibited.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is set to examine the validity of showing the advertisement in a public setting as part of a larger investigation into the effectiveness of the law protecting religious freedom.
“We strongly disagree with the decision not to show the adverts on the grounds they might 'offend' people. There is no right not to be offended in the UK; what is offensive is very subjective and this is a slippery slope towards increasing censorship," said the chief executive of the Commission, Rebecca Hilsenrath.
The Church of England is also baffled by the decision not to screen the advertisement.
“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," a statement from Rev. Arun Arora, director of communications for the Church of England, said.
“In one way the decision of the cinemas is just plain silly,” the statement continued, “but the fact that they have insisted upon it makes it rather chilling in terms of limiting free speech."
It has also been reported that cinemas have allowed the screening of a short film which promotes Hinduism, even though they want to ban Christianity in the form of the Lord's Prayer.
Publication date: December 14, 2015