Today’s news that the Church of England has had its latest ad campaign banned by the cinema advertising authority has an irony to it.
Anyone who has seen the advert will realise that it’s harmless. In fact, it’s so anodyne that it even got a ‘U’ rating from the British Board of Film Classification before it was stopped. Compared to a lot of the horrific and gory images which flood Facebook these days it’s like banning the Countryfile calendar.
Ban the Facebook post which is titled ‘Terrorists playing football with the heads of Christians’ (which I was shockingly naive in believing was going to be a nice interfaith football match involving Christian leaders). Forgive the black humour as we forgive those who write black humour against us.
Of course, I’m being disingenuous – it isn’t discrimination because no faith (or political party) at all is allowed to advertise in the cinema. You can aggressively recruit young people into the army in cinema adverts. But some things are not allowed and so they are not truly ‘banned’ or ‘censored’ so much as subject to a kind of strange cinematic tradition. Like so many of the arbitrary rules which fill our lives.
You know, sometimes I feel alienated from my own culture. It shouldn’t be that way. But when a harmless advert gets stopped it simply makes you question why these rules and traditions are there.
Come to think of it – isn’t the C of E supposed to be broke? Where did it get this advertising money from? How much does it cost to advertise before the new Star Wars film? What would Han Solo do?
It all makes me want to turn to the dark side.