The well known and respected blog archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk is being put under pressure by the politically correct advertising police of the ASA. As Archbishop Cranmer explains:
Apparently there have been a number of complaints about one of the advertisements His Grace carried on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage. He has been sent all manner of official papers, formal documentation and threatening notices which demand answers to sundry questions by a certain deadline. He is instructed by the Investigations Executive of this inquisition to keep all this confidential.
Since His Grace does not dwell in Iran, North Korea, Soviet Russia, Communist China or Nazi Germany, but occupies a place in the cyber-ether suspended somewhere between purgatory and paradise, he is minded to ignore that request. Who do these people think they are?
The call to sign the petition simply consists of
1. Photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame.
2. The second frame stated I do.
3. The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is …(Source:ComRes poll for Catholic Voices).
4. The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here …Coalition for Marriage.
Apparently 24 complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group challenged whether the claim ‘70% of people say keep marriage as it is’ However, His Grace is not required to respond to that point, since he did not conduct the research. But it transpires that 10 of these 24 complainants objected that the petition call is somehow offensive and homophobic, and he is requested to respond to these allegations.
…Read the full article
Update: Illiberal Conspiracy
14th May 2012. See article from liberalconspiracy.org
An interesting post at liberalconspiracy.org suggested that it is correct that the ASA should follow up the complaints and demand a response from the blogger:
They are, of course, people who are tasked simply with doing a job which entails investigating complaints about advertising lodged by members of the general public, and all they’ve done so far is contact Cranmer and offer him the chance to give his side of the story.
As regards the allegation that the advert is, itself, offensive and homophobic well. let’s be honest, we’re hardly in God Hates Fags territory here are we? And, in any case, this is essentially a single issue political campaign and should, therefore , attract a greater degree of protection under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights than would be the case for purely commercial advertising.
In short, it should take no more than 10-15 minutes to compose a suitable response which addresses and roundly dismisses the complaint.
Why is it that the British authorities always seem to start from the default position that a complainant is right?
The ‘advert’ in question is clearly not threatening, or inciting in anyway whatsoever, it is not even mildly insulting. It is just a call to support a stance that is actually the status quo and is currently the law of the land.
The PC police at the ASA should not be allowing political campaigners to make complaints that end up hassling those merely exercising their right to free speech. It is not free speech if people are harassed and bullied into justifying their stance. The ASA should tell the complainants to sling their hooks and not support bullying.
Update: His Grace Responds with support from diverse organisations
15th May 2012.
Christian Concern are unimpressed by ASA bullying. From an article on christianconcern.com:
The investigation was launched after anonymous complaints were received against the blog for featuring the online advert which urged members of the public to sign the Coalition for Marriage petition.
The complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group, have described the advert as offensive and homophobic. The anonymous writer has now been given until 21 May to respond to the allegations.
The writer behind the blog, which was ranked as the 24th most influential blog in the UK, commented:
This is nothing short of censorship. Nothing in the advert is factually incorrect or offensive. It is an advert to campaign to simply keep the law as it is. It is outrageous to suggest it is homophobic and the fact that the ASA are even considering such an allegation is ludicrous and displays evidence of a lack of even basic research by them before making the demand of Cranmer that they have done.
Critics have noted that the Chairman of the ASA is Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, who is Vice President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and a leading supporter of same-sex marriage. He has previously been named by Pink News as being in the top 30 of the most powerful homosexual people in British politics.
Meanwhile the National Secular Society are also unimpressed. From an article on secularism.org.uk
The rather eccentric Christian blogger Archbishop Cranmer is under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority after he reproduced an advertisement from the group Coalition for Marriage which is seeking to thwart the Government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
The ASA has said that it has received ten complaints that the advertisement is offensive and homophobic. It demands that the Archbishop explain himself before he is once more sent to the stake.
Needless to say his wit and style is more than a match for the rather authoritarian tendencies at the Advertising Standards Authority, and he has turned the tables on them quite deliciously.
The NSS wants to announce its support for the Archbishop Cranmer blog. Although it disagrees with this blogger profoundly on so many issues, it agrees with him entirely that the Advertising Standards Authority is overstepping the mark and posing a rather sinister threat to freedom of expression.
But Archbishop Cranmer is enjoying confronting the ASA bullies. He has written a fine response.
He asks some pertinent questions of the ASA:
[Re] the complaint concerns the Coalition for Marriage advertisement, it must be observed that the same advertisement appeared on numerous blogs (‘Internet [display]’), including Guido Fawkes (which you acknowledge) and ConservativeHome. You appear not to have troubled ConservativeHome at all in the pursuit of your enquiries, and your letter states that you have copied in Guido Fawkes for information only. Ergo you appear to have singled out His Grace alone in the blogosphere (‘Internet [display]’) and made demands only of him to respond to Point 2 of the complaint, i.e., that the advertisement was homophobic and offensive. Why are you harassing His Grace alone in the blogosphere? Why are all blogs which displayed this advertisement not being treated equally?
You state that 10 of the 25 complaints received deem the advertisement to be offensive and homophobic. His Grace understands the plainest meaning and definition of the term offensive. But, since homosexuals and homosexuality are nowhere mentioned in the advertisement, could you please clarify how the term homophobic is being used in this context?
See the full response from archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com