miss_s_b: (Mood: Oh dear)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

The picture above is an excerpt from DCM's standard terms and conditions for accepting advertising. They have been this way for a year or so, when they were changed to remove "party" from before "political" after so many people in Scotland complained about the Yes and No referendum campaign adverts. You will note that the small change I mention happened before the CofE even thought about filming their advert.

I am sure you are all aware of the maxim that one doesn't talk about religion or politics in public because someone is bound to get upset? DCM have this policy for that reason: whatever religion (or lack thereof, you'll note) is mentioned, someone is bound to get upset, demand their money back from the cinema, start protests, whine on social media, etc, and it's just not worth it. From a commercial point of view, if the money you make from accepting an advert doesn't cover the cost of the trouble the advert will cause, why would you even bother? As Ian Dunt points out here, it's not like the British Humanist Association, among others, haven't fallen foul of the same policy*. How anyone can claim with a straight face that this is discrimination is beyond me.

So no:
  • the CofE are not being discriminated against: this policy applies to groups of all religions and none. As LegionsEagle put it earlier, it's a category-based exclusion, not a content-based one.

  • this is not a new policy, nor should it have been a surprise to the CofE, nor was it suddenly brought in for some nebulous reason to do with muslims (try not to let your naked islamophobia show there)

  • The church of England is not some persecuted minority. They have a reasonable percentage of the legislature of the country all to themselves

I've spent half the day telling all and sundry from BBC Radio Leeds to everyone on twitter that this is a big fuss about nothing, is being massively misrepresented by the church for whatever ends, and it annoys me that the media are falling for it like they did for the sodding Winterval Myth; and so now I have typed it all out in a blog post I can just C&P the link.

*it's a shame Ian doesn't make the intellectual leap to apply the same logic to the other frozen peaches he's been trying to stop from thawing recently, but I think Ian and I just fall on different sides of the fuzzy-like-peach-skin generational divide line so eloquently described by Andrew here

Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2015 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"the CofE are not being discriminated against: this policy applies to groups of all religions and none."

It's not quite as simple as that. If everyone is treated the same, that means that in legal terms it's not _direct_ discrimination. But if treating everyone the same puts some groups of people at a disadvantage, it could still be _indirect_ discrimination. That could be argued, because the policy means a church isn't able to place an advert for its "product," whereas a brewery is, for example.

But for indirect discrimination the defence that the policy is a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim" is available. That would be for a court to decide, though.


Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2015 07:55 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
Not my field, but my understanding is that given
In relation to the protected characteristic of religion or belief—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular religion or belief;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same religion or belief.

the CofE would have to prove not that "we don't show political or religious ads" was the practice, but "we don't take ads from Anglicans", surely?

Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"We don't take ads from Anglicans" would be direct discrimination. I don't think there can be any doubt about that.

But the argument that the policy amounts to indirect discrimination would be that although they treat everyone the same, their policy has the effect of disadvantaging a group of people who share some religion or belief, compared with people who don't. I don't see that it has to be a particular denomination. It could be "people who believe it's a religious duty to convert unbelievers," for example.


Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The point I'm trying to get across is that there can still be unlawful discrimination even if you "do the same" to everyone. Just not unlawful _direct_ discrimination.


Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 08:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Good. So the crucial points aren't really the ones you made in your original blog post, but centre on the questions of whether religious groups are disadvantaged in practice, and whether the policy is justifiable.

On the first, this might be a relevant analogy. Suppose a company was providing a blogging platform, and it stipulated that the blogs shouldn't mention homosexuality. It could argue that this didn't disadvantage anyone, because it applies to straight and gay bloggers alike. But would that really be true? The policy would prevent gay bloggers from discussing something of direct interest to them, but straight bloggers from discussing something only of indirect interest to them. It wouldn't be hard to argue that the disadvantage to gay bloggers was greater. The company could even point out that the policy disadvantaged homophobic bloggers just as much as gay bloggers, but that wouldn't negate the disadvantage suffered by gay bloggers.

In its essentials, I think this is a valid analogy to the cinema ban on religious advertising. But perhaps in the cinema the argument for justification could be stronger.


Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
No, your analogy is bunk. The analogous case would be banning all discussions of sexuality, which clearly would be permitted. I mean banning people blogging about their weddings might be unpopular, but it's not discriminatory.

Now you might argue that it discriminates between people who care about religion and people who don't (ie people that don't can advertise things they care about; people who care about religion can't). But caring about religion isn't a protected characteristic, so the Equality Act doesn't apply.

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
The ban applies to religions, atheist groups, political parties - in short to any group or person trying to persuade others to adopt their opinion. Your claim that this is analogous to people of one sexuality being prevented doesn't work, as it is not just one belief that is affected. As po8crg states, a closer analogy would be barring all discussion of sex in a particular place - the significant words being "in a particular place". There are still many other places the discussion can be continued.

Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2015 04:40 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
It's a particularly bad look on a Church which has this very month successfully relied on its own exemption from the Equality Act to discriminate against a married canon to cry that they'll bring their own Equality Act case to force the cinemas to accept their advertisements.

It's even worse that they're crying "censorship" when they were actively engaged in censorship via the blasphemy law until it was abolished in 2008.

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 12:55 am (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
Frankly I would like to see cinema ads censored if they are "likely to be traumatic to the audience".

There was a public health "don't use amphetamines" ad in cinemas in Australia that contained multiple counts of graphic domestic violence that was far more violent than the film it was screening with. (I think the film was Minions, an animated suitable for kids film.)

As someone who experienced both violence from parents and violence from a partner, it was not what I wanted to be subjected to without prior warning on the cinema screen in surround sound.

Re Winterval

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 07:04 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I wish someone would tell the Bishop of Guildford that the only war on Christmas ever carried out in this country was by the Cof E 1645-1660.

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 07:27 am (UTC)
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
From: [personal profile] wildeabandon
Yes, this, every word. I am quite embarrassed by my church right now :/

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