A US church’s advert telling people about an Easter service has been banned from cinemas and branded “too controversial” because it mentions the name of Jesus, The Christian Institute reports:
Compass Bible Church in California produced a short, mild cinema ad to invite people to its Easter event.
But the ad, which mentions the name of Jesus twice, has been banned from appearing on cinema screens by an advertising agency.
Senior Pastor of Compass Bible Church, Mike Farabez, said the church was told they could promote Easter services with a basic ad that had “some fun bunnies and eggs thrown in”, but “for us, Easter isn’t about springtime fun”.
The agency, NCM Media Networks, said it has a policy of rejecting ads featuring religious figures and remarked some cinemagoers might be offended by such an ad.
The commercial targeted non-believers, inviting them to the church’s annual “Easter At The Bren” services, Sunday, April 24. The service is an annual event that hosts more than 5,000 attendees at the Bren Center on the University of California-Irvine campus.
It asked movie patrons, “Did it really happen?” And ended with “Why we actually believe in the resurrection.”
An NCM spokespeson said
“Compass Bible Church was made aware of our advertising content guidelines, and was given the opportunity to revise its ad accordingly to promote its Easter services in movie theaters. Compass Bible Church chose not to do so.”
Speaking to The Christian Post, Farabez explained that NCM’s proposed revision of the ad included only advertising the last frame, which stated where and when the service would take place. Everything else before that would have to be cut, which would negate the entire purpose for the ad.
In a statement released by NCM, the agency reported that they regularly ran ads for local churches all over the country, including several ads that were currently promoting Easter services.
“In addition, our NCM Fathom Theatre Church division works with over 190 churches in 35 states to help congregations hold worship services in movie theaters.”
In fact, part of the reason Compass Bible Church decided to advertise in their local theater, located just two to three blocks away, was because they knew that some church services were held there.
“It just seemed very discriminatory,” expressed Farabez to CP. “It was a very narrow and unreasonable way to say ‘if you mention Jesus you’re not going advertise with us.'”