Oh look, it’s the latest example of religious entitlement, this time coming out of jolly old England. The Church of England put together an advertisement that would never get shown on television, but now they are expecting movie theaters to show their ad and when theaters balked, they started crying it was a violation of their right to free speech.
Okay, a couple of things. First off, this is England, they have no right to free speech like we do in America. They just don’t. And if they did, it wouldn’t apply to private individuals or businesses either. Nobody in their right mind thinks that you can obligate a private citizen or a privately owned business to provide you a platform to air your religious screed. Theater owners and the overarching group that decides what can and cannot be shown as advertising in theaters rejected the ad because they were afraid that it might offend people of other faiths. I don’t know about that, particularly, but where do you stop? When the Muslims show up and want to do the same thing, do you let them? How about the Scientologists? There has to be a limit and when you’re talking about religious and political advertising, the only place to stop is before you start. That’s something that groups in America have learned as they get increasingly angry that they have to let other religions set up displays in parks, etc.
I do support the right of these theaters to decide not to go down the religious rabbit hole, I’m just a little surprised, although I shouldn’t be, at the reaction of the CoE. After all, they wouldn’t allow anyone to advertise another religion in their churches, would they? So why should they be upset that a business would refuse to advertise their religion?
Most Reverend Justin Welby said he finds the decision “extraordinary”, adding “this advert is about as offensive as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day.” Well, depends on where you put it. I’d certainly be offended if they tried to hold their church service in the middle of a shopping center, it just doesn’t belong there. I also think their threats of legal action is ridiculous. England has an Equality Act, which bans commercial organizations from refusing services on religious grounds, but wouldn’t that open up the churches, which let’s be honest are commercial organizations, open to the public and begging for money, from banning advertising from other religions? I’d say it would, although that’s just common sense and we all know that religion has none.
So please, keep your religion out of Star Wars and Star Wars will keep fun and entertainment out of your religion. It’s only fair after all. Even Carrie Fisher, speaking on this supposed controversy, thinks people ought to get a life. I agree.