Posted by: the watchmen | December 3, 2008

How many miles to Sodom?

McIlveen hits back on ‘gay advert’

Rev David McIlveen with a copy of the final adjudication
Rev David McIlveen with a copy of the final adjudication
Click on thumbnail to view image
Click on thumbnail to view image
Published Date: 03 December 2008

ANGER has been expressed after an advertising watchdog ruled that a Free Presbyterian Church advert – which quoted verses of the Bible against homosexuality – was indecent.
Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast, which placed the advert, claimed the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was setting “a very dangerous precedent” by requiring that regulators give permission before portions of the Bible can be published.


The advert, published by the News Letter during the summer, was entitled The Word of God Against Sodomy and quoted from biblical passages.

Through the advert, the church urged people to attend a counter-protest at Belfast’s annual Gay Pride Parade.

The ASA said it received seven complaints that the advert was offensive while six claimed it was was likely to provoke violence.

It concluded that the advert went “further than the majority of readers were likely to find acceptable”, citing phrases which described homosexuality as “an abomination” or which spoke of “God’s judgment upon sin”, and also one line which referred to “the guilt of their wrongdoing”.

The ASA said that particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of sexual orientation, concluding that the advert had caused serious offence to some readers. It therefore found the advert breached the advertising code on “decency”.

However, the ASA rejected complaints that it was likely to provoke hatred or violence, finding this “unlikely”.

Its conclusion was that the advert should not be published again, and it advised Sandown Free Presbyterian Church “to seek advice” from the Committee of Advertising Practice before publishing future marketing material.

However, the Rev David McIlveen, from Sandown Free Presbyterian Church, said the judgment was “setting a very dangerous precedent”.

“By determining that portions of the Bible have breached advertising standards on decency the ASA is taking the view that the printing and publishing of certain biblical texts is indecent,” he said.

“This is an offence to every Bible believer.”

He said his church “cannot and will not” seek regulatory approval before publishing biblical adverts. And he challenged the ASA to provide evidence which proved that the majority of News Letter readers had been offended by the advert, as the adjudication asserted.

Darwin Templeton, editor of the News Letter, said: “We have received the final adjudication from the Advertising Standards Authority on a small number of complaints relating to an advertisement taken by the Sandown Free Presbyterian Church.

“We are currently studying the document, in conjunction with our legal advisers, to establish whether there are any implications for the News Letter.

“We have strict policies relating to the acceptance of advertisements, which we believe are in keeping with the Committee of Advertising Practice code, and we take our responsibilities as a publisher very seriously.”

P A MacLochlainn, of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, said the advert was an attempt to stop Belfast’s annual Gay Pride Parade.
“Rev McIlveen has a right to say things that are hurtful to us, for example that we are sinners,” he said.

“We will defend that right to the death. But he has no right to stop us doing things he doesn’t like.”

The full article contains 530 words and appears in n/a newspaper.


  1. Its a pity he did’nt find Dr Paisley’s relationship with sectarian murderers as offensive.Its very strange the morals committee was struck dumb on that issue after it being so vocal in attacking Trimble.Nobody now listens to selective moralists they are as corrupt as those they criticise.

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