Advertisement implied Christians were responsible for alleged rise in attacks against gays and lesbians
LONDON The Gay Police Association has been reprimanded for an ad which implied Christians were responsible for a huge rise in violent attacks on gays and lesbians, according to reports published Wednesday by the BBC and other news agencies.
The ad, placed in The Independent newspaper under the banner “in the name of the Father” showed a Bible and a pool of blood.
The one-time ad was intended to back up the association’s claim that it 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 imagery in the ad and a quote from the Bible implied they were being targeted.
The Advertising Standards Authority on Wednesday agreed with the complainants, who included Christian Watch, the Trinitarian Bible Society and The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, saying it could cause offense.
The police association ad was also found to have been untruthful in its claim that calls about homophobic incidents had increased by 74 percent, and it was criticized for not being able to back up its statement with evidence.
The Advertising Standards Authority said in its ruling that “by featuring spilled blood prominently, the ad suggested that all the reported incidents involved physical injury.”
“On this point, the advert breached the truthfulness code,” it added.
The Advertising Standards Authority also told the police association to ensure that future ad campaigns would not cause offense and did not include imagery that might send “misleading messages.”
But the Advertising Standards Authority rejected the Christian groups’ claim that the advertisement implied Christian teaching was responsible for, or condoned, homophobic incidents.
It also failed to support their suggestion that the ad incited violence or fueled prejudice against religious people.
More than 550 complaints had been registered against the ad, which had run to coincide with 2006 Euro-Pride march.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 20, 2006.