It features the Archbishop of Canterbury, a grieving man, bodybuilders, a festival-goer, emergency workers, a cattle farmer, a choir, refugees, a commuter, schoolchildren and the audience at a baptism. They say the words of the Lord's Prayer.
Official advertising rules are aimed at preventing misleading, or causing harm or offence. Advertisers must take care not to incite hatred or promote discrimination on religious grounds
Three of the UK's biggest cinema chains - Odeon, Cineworld and Vue - have banned the advert from being shown on the same bill as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, due to open just before Christmas.
DCM, the agency handling these matters for the cinemas, argues it could offend those of "differing faiths and no faith".
The Church of England says this is "plain silly" and could have a "chilling effect" on free speech...
The Advertising Standards Authority, which ensures the CAP's rules are followed, has so far received no complaints about the Lord's Prayer advert and the dispute remains solely between the Church of England and the cinemas."
BBC, Lord's Prayer Advert
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.
It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be—a little here, a little there—there is no justification.
What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.”
The New Atheists embrace a belief system as intolerant, chauvinistic and bigoted as that of religious fundamentalists. They propose a route to collective salvation and the moral advancement of the human species through science and reason. The utopian dream of a perfect society and a perfect human being, the idea that we are moving towards collective salvation, is one of the most dangerous legacies of the Christian faith and the Enlightenment.
Those who believe in the possibility of this perfection often call for the silencing or eradication of human beings who are impediments to human progress. They turn their particular good into a universal good. They are blind to their own corruption and capacity for evil. They soon commit evil, not for evil's sake but to make a better world.
Reigns of terror are thus the bastard child of the Enlightenment. Terror in the name of utopian ideals would rise again and again in the coming centuries. The Nazi death camps and the Soviet gulags were spawned by the enlightenment. Fascists and communists were bred on visions of human perfectibility. Tens of millions of people have been murdered in the futile effort to reform human nature and build utopian societies.
The danger is not Islam or Christianity or any other religion. It is the human heart—the capacity we all have for evil. All human institutions with a lust for power give their utopian visions divine sanction.”
Part of me says this is of no consequence, but it is a sign of the times, of a world that has forgotten its weakness and seeks to become perfectly powerful on its own terms.
God has a way of standing before the nations in judgement.
And for that, I tremble for the world, and ourselves.
The way to answer this is not to take action against the cinemas, or those who would ban prayer or any mention of God on their media or in their presence.
The way to answer this is to make this Christmas a special season of prayer for peace in the world, to join hands spontaneously, and recite the Lord's Prayer. Not to provoke anger, but to witness for the good news. They may have their god of the markets, or their god of themselves. But we will not be silenced.
And much more importantly, without which all this is just vanity, we must take those words to heart, and not let them become a charade. To do this we must make them a living part of our daily routine and interactions with others, so that our lives themselves become living prayers, and we do not fall into a pious hypocrisy.
Answer harshness with kindness, anger with peacefulness, and indifference with caring.
'Your love for one another will show to the world that you are my disciples.'
Of course we do not do this well. Like the Lord's own apostle Peter we are tempted to anger and violence, tempted to deny our relationship, often confused and uncertain. And he had seen with his own eyes, and heard directly with his own ears, our Lord as He walked on the earth.
And so we gather ourselves up, acknowledge our faults, and go forward again, and again, in grace, ever-growing, ever becoming as He wills us to be if we do but accept his commandment to love one another as we love Him, and He us.