This is our truth, tell us yours
When I saw the Lord’s Prayer was trending on twitter I have to confess my first reaction was to ask younger household members if there was a new film out of that name. For a moment I wondered if Cliff Richard had re-released his version, I am a masochist after all. However incredibly the tag refers to the actual prayer due to one of the most ridiculous and indefensible decisions I have seen in a long time.
It seems that the Church of England have decided to replace their “real meaning of Christmas” campaign which is usually brought out during advent with #JustPray and have produced a series of adverts. Now there is part of me wondering what else the money could have been spent on, when we have families going hungry, but that along with disestablishment is an argument for another time. The ad has been passed by the BBFC and the Cinema Advertising Authority, but has been refused by the company who place advertising in the major cinema chains (Odeon, Cineworld and Vue) and this is where it gets very murky.
According to DCM they cannot show the advert because it is *may* offend people of no faith or none.
Lets unpick that. Firstly you should never decide what another group may or may not be offended by. It is not only arrogant and high handed, but is an attitude of white colonialism. This may seem an odd place to mention race, however in the current climate I can already see people claiming that “muslims got a christian advert banned” If something is offensive to a group, it is up to the majority to listen to that group, not decide for them what may or may not offend. By coincidence I recently looked up events at the North East feminist gathering last year where exactly these tactics were used to attack a trans woman. A white woman decided a black woman might be offended, and used this to try to silence someone else.
When those with power use those without as a shield in order to justify their decisions it is always the marginalised who get hurt. That is after all what shields are for, to take the bullets so you walk away unharmed.
It is never acceptable to use people of colour, or people of minority faiths as your shield, no matter who you are.
It might be the case that people of no faith get upset by seeing film of other praying.They do seem to get upset very easily, which is odd as they tend to insist they are rational and never use their emotions to react to anything. I do find it confusing that since they do not believe in prayer why they would find it offensive to see it portrayed. What, to an atheist is the substantive difference between Jar Jar binks talking to someone who does not exist and a weight lifter talking to someone who does not exist? I will never understand the atheist mindset it must be said.
Now, free speech, its all in the news right now isn’t it? Apparently anyone must be able to say anything no matter how offensive because it huts Dawkins fee fees otherwise. I do not actually agree with that. However I do believe that since we live in capitalist patriarchy everyone should have equal access to the tools by which capitalism operates. The Church of England have not asked for a free advert, they have not demanded a platform. They have produced an ad for which they have been willing to pay. The people responsible for deciding what is or is not offensive in advertising have passed the ad as fine. Therefore it should be shown. Not because of its content, but because it is not acceptable to ban something because of its content, be it pissing porn or children praying.
Its that simple, if you oppose the ATVOD rules, and I do, then you must oppose this too. Hell if ISIS produced an ad which got a U certificate I would insist on their right to buy advertising space as well. Deciding what can or cannot be shown on the ground it may offend mythical people is the Lady Chatterley argument, banning a book because it might corrupt those you deem weaker or corruptible.
I know that the usual defenders of freeze peach will be silent on this. That’s because they do not care about the wider issues of freedom and censorship, just the right to defend their hate speech. However if you genuinely believe that being offended is no reason to not be allowed to pay money to see something (which is very different from demanding the right to a free platform) then you must oppose this move by DCM