The ASA has finally published its adjudication on the Gay Police Association’s, almost three months since the complaints started flooding in. “It’s our most complained about advert of the year so far,” said an ASA spokesman. Thanks to a concerted campaign by Christian groups, that is.
553 complaints came from individuals and groups such as Christian Watch (concerned with “the rapid inroads being made by satanic forces to undermine our biblically based constitution”), The Trinitarian Bible Society (“To uphold the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God”), The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (more inerrantists), Christian Doctrine from Bible Theology Ministries (“Many employers are now nothing but gay puppets!”), and The Evangelical Alliance.
All of the above groups, who are complaining about how the GPA ad discriminates against Christians, are actively campaigning for exemptions to be included in the Sexual Orientation Regulations which will allow them to continue to discriminate against homosexuals.
There were five points of complaint, three of which were upheld:
1. The ad implied that Christians (rather than any other religious group) were responsible for the reported incidents, and therefore caused offence to Christian readers.
An utterly baffling judgement. Christians should be offended by the fact that some Christians are guilty of homophobic incidents. Does the ASA think they should be protected from the facts?
2. The ad implied that the Bible condoned homophobic incidents.
An equally baffling judgement. Here’s a quick reminder of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality:
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. [Lev 20.13]
The Bible does condone homophobic incidents. The complaint that the ad “implies” this does not make any sense, and should have been dismissed as invalid from the outset.
3. The ad incited violence towards “people of faith”, especially Christians.
The Evangelical Alliance was the group responsible for this one, and they were rightly rejected. They are gratifyingly unhappy about it.
4. The image implied that all the incidents reported were of a violent nature, involving physical injury.
This apparently breaches clause 7.1 (Truthfulness) of the CAP code. Huh? A pool of blood suggests that all the incidents were violent? No, it doesn’t. It merely suggests that violent incidents have occurred – and surely it is the violent ones which deserve the most attention? An illogical adjudication on an oddly legalistic complaint.
5. The claim that “In the last 12 months, the Gay Police Association has recorded a 74% increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator” was not substantiated.
The only unequivocally correct judgement of the five. The GPA claimed that they “held documentary evidence”, but failed to show it to the ASA. That, frankly, is pretty stupid. If you are going to quote statistics you have to back them up.
UPDATE: (2 hours later) As explained in the article above, the GPA were unable to provide the data because the case was still under investigation. Sorry for calling you stupid, GPA.
All in all, are rather feeble display of fence-sitting by the ASA. They appear to be trying to keep everyone happy, rather than deliver a clearly-thought-out, impartial adjudication. They usually do better.