The Daily Telegraph ran a feature this week that is perhaps the worst piece I have ever seen in the newspaper, one entitled “No room at the cinema for baby Jesus“. It’s basically a re-hash of the old “the secularists are trying to ban Christmas” spiel, but this article came across as a sort of sub-Daily Mail treatment of the subject. I hope this doesn’t mean that the “Crimbo is under attack!” thing is coming back into style (at least within the world of right-wing journalism), I really don’t.
The story, such as it is, revolves around a 45-second advert entitled “Christmas Starts with Christ” and Digital Cinema Media, who handles commercials for most of the big cinema chains in Britain, refusing to show it. The reason for them doing so (or rather, not doing so) is given in a quote from the organisation, which in what is typical tabloid style is parked right at the very end of the piece:
“As per our policy procedure, the advertisement was referred to the DCM Advertising Policy Committee. The committee met at its regular weekly meeting today and has declined the advertisement on the grounds that it constitutes religious advertising. DCM has a long-standing policy of not accepting political or religious advertising in the cinema we represent.”
That all sounds fair enough to me. People who want to go to the cinema shouldn’t have to be subjected to a minute of why the Socialist Workers Party is the only party who cares about the NHS, or about how everyone should convert to Buddhism if they want to be happy in life. I don’t think many people would complain about this being where we draw the line, would they?
I suppose except for those who made this ad expecting to get it into cinemas and apparently, the Daily Telegraph. This is because for certain people, Christianity should simultaneously supersede all such rules while at the same time being the victim of an attempt to do it down or even destroy it. This idea is patently, obviously ridiculous incidentally. For starters, Anglicanism is the official state religion in this country and as such gets special privileges off the back of that. For instance, try telling the atheist parents who schlep down to the local church every week simply so they can get their kid into a decent school that Christianity is under attack.
The truth is, we live in a multi-faith society whether anyone likes it or not. As such, bombarding people when they go to the cinema with religious or political messaging seems wrong to me. So on that note, happy Christmas to everyone, whatever god you may or may not believe in.