Gay Police Group’s "anti-Christian" Ad

Gay Police AdLONDON – The Gay Police Association (GPA) has been reprimanded for an advert which implied Christians were responsible for a huge rise in violent attacks on homosexuals.
The advert, placed in The Independent newspaper under the banner “in the name of the father” showed a Bible and a pool of blood.
It was a one-off, used to back up the GPA’s claim that the association had recorded a 74 percent increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator.
The association said the accompanying text made clear Christians were not the only group accused, in fact a quarter of the alleged incidents were provoked by Muslims, it said.
But Christian groups claimed the use of the cross and a quote from the Bible implied they were.
On Wednesday, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) agreed with the complainants, who included Christian Watch, the Trinitarian Bible Society and The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, saying it could cause offence.
The GPA’s advert was also found to have been untruthful in its claim that calls about homophobic incidents had increased by 74 percent, and it was criticised for not being able to back up its statement with evidence.
The calls to its helpline included general enquiries, requests for help and allegations of discrimination in the workplace.
The ASA said in its ruling that “by featuring spilt blood prominently, the ad suggested that all the reported incidents involved physical injury”.
“On this point, the advert breached the truthfulness code,” it added.
It told the GPA to “ensure future campaigns were not presented in a way that could cause undue offence and also reminded them that they should ensure the use of imagery did not send misleading messages to consumers”.
It also asked the GPA to “ensure any statistics could be substantiated and reminded them to show supporting data to the ASA upon request” after it had failed to do so.
But the ASA rejected the Christian groups’ claim that the advert implied Christian teaching was responsible for, or condoned, homophobic incidents.
It also failed to support their suggestion that the advert incited violence or fuelled prejudice against religious people.
More than 550 complaints had been registered against the advert, which had run to coincide with 2006 Euro-Pride march.
The GPA said it was designed to be thought-provoking and challenging, but that it was never intended to castigate or describe all religious followers as homophobic.
from Reuters

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