The Church of England has called the decision "plain silly"
The decision to ban an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer in leading UK cinemas has left The Church Of England “disappointed and bewildered”
The Church has planned to run their advert in cinemas before Christmas in the run up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens being released on December 17.
However, the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency, the company behind advertising in Odeon, Cineworld and Vue cinemas across the UK, has refused to show the advert amid fears it may offend of upset audiences with “differing faiths and no faith”.
The advert features the Christian prayer being recited or sung by a variety of people including refugees, a grieving son, weightlifters at a gym, a sheep farmer and a gospel choir.
In a statement given to BBC News, The Church called the decision “plain silly” adding that the ban could have “chilling” effect on free speech.
Meanwhile, The Arch Bishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he found the decision “extraordinary”. “This advert is about as offensive as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day,” he said. “Let the public judge for themselves rather than be censored or dictated to.”
Digital Cinema Media maintains that their policy of not accepting political or religious advertising content in its cinemas is behind the decision.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in the UK on Thursday, December 17, a day earlier than in the US. The story takes place 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jed, though specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps. The film’s script was penned by director JJ Abrams, Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt and Star Wars franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan.
Alongside the returning trio of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, the film’s cast includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver and Andy Serkis. Abrams has recently revealed that Carrie Fisher’s Leia will not be referred to as “Princess” in the film, but has instead been given a new, more military-sounding title.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the film will feature a character apparently named after a Beastie Boys album.
Watch the final trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens below: