Cinemas have rejected a Bible Society advert speaking of the comfort some first world war soldiers found in the Bible. The three-minute film, titled Wipe Every Tear , explains that all British soldiers were given a Bible as part of
their kit and that this was a source of hope to many.
Empire Cinemas explained that they do not take adverts from any religious groups.
The three-minute film opens with footage of soldiers in trenches. A caption explains All British soldiers were given a Bible as part of their kit. Captions continue: To many it was a source of hope. For eternal peace. The film then moves to clips
of contemporary people, often in their workplace, reciting Revelation 21: 1-7. These include a farmer, a fisherman, a hairdresser, a soldier, and a chef. The concluding captions state: The Bible. Still giving peace and hope today.
The film was intended to be shown in 125 screens at 14 venues across the country in the run-up to the armistice centenary this weekend. The Bible Society is reported to have reached agreement with cinema advertising company Pearl and Dean for the
distribution of the film. Pearl and Dean later emailed to say that Empire Cinemas had vetoed the film because they do not accept religious or political advertisements.
The National Secular Society has criticised a Brent Council in north London for removing an advert featuring a hindu temple. The council took down a poster, which advertised the area as the London Borough of Culture 2020, after complaints from
the Hindu Council UK.
Dipa Das, a councillor in neighbouring Tower Hamlets who is also a representative member of the Hindu Council, complained about the poster on Twitter. Das tweeted to Brent Council's customer services team:
Absolutely disgraceful way of promoting that you are a borough of culture, image of any place of worship on the toilet is totally unacceptable, I urge the council to take immediate action and remove the temple picture from the toilet.
In response the council's team apologised and removed the posters:
We apologise sincerely for this error as we recognise at the locations of some of the JCDecaux advertising sites were not appropriate given the content of this campaign, no offence was intended.
NSS spokesperson Chris Sloggett said the decision was a pathetic surrender to demands for a blasphemy code and a waste of council resources:
Brent Council has given in to an unreasonable religious demand. It has taken the easy way out but in the process it's placed an unreasonable restriction on the freedom to advertise. And it's weakened its own ability, and the ability of other
councils, to stand up for free expression.
Upholding blasphemy codes doesn't create social harmony. It weakens it by encouraging religious groups of all stripes, and others, to insist that their hurt feelings also be recognised. It also wastes public resources.
Councils, the state and wider society need to get much better at telling religious groups to accept the fact that sometimes in a free society they will be offended.