Church of England criticises cinemas for banning Lord's Prayer advert

LONDON (Reuters) - The Church of England said on Sunday it was "bewildered" by the refusal of some of Britain's biggest cinema chains to show an advert featuring the Lord's Prayer.

The 60-second advert, which shows a variety of Christians including a police officer, weight lifter and school children each saying one line of the prayer, had been due to be shown next month before screenings of the new Star Wars film "The Force Awakens".

Digital Cinema Media, which provides 80 percent of cinema advertising through chains including Cineworld, Odeon and Vue, said in a statement it had a policy of not accepting political or religious advertising in case they caused offence.

"We are bewildered by the decision of the cinemas. The Lord's Prayer is prayed by billions of people across the globe every day and in this country has been part of everyday life for centuries," Reverend Arun Arora, director of communications for the Church of England, said in a statement.

"In one way the decision of the cinemas is just plain silly but the fact that they have insisted upon it makes it rather chilling in terms of limiting free speech."

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Digby Lidstone)

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