I WANT to initially distance myself and the Kirk Session of Sandown Free Presbyterian Church from the leak of the Advertising Standards Authority's report to the BBC.
Those who leaked the report have acted in a manner that is both unethical and disrespectful. It is peculiar to us that someone who is looking for a principled adjudication acts in a most unprincipled way.
As a Kirk Session we welcome the ASA's finding in relation to the fact that our statement did not incorporate language that was likely to incite a violent and emotional response. This we interpret as a vindication of the true spirit in which the statement was formulated. However, we believe that the part of the adjudication in which the ASA upheld the complainants position shows a basic and fundamental ignorance of the teaching and application of God's Word on the subject of sodomy.
By adjudicating on what is in effect the message of the bible on the code of decency is, in our opinion, the setting of a very dangerous precedent.
Many thousands of people throughout the UK are in possession of scriptures that declare sodomy as an abomination, a perversion of sexuality and a sin before God.
Therefore by determining that quotations of bible texts and their application have breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency), the ASA is taking the view that the printing and publishing of certain biblical texts is INDECENT. This is an offence to every bible believer. It is ironic that an authority that seeks to prevent others from being offended appears to have no scruples in offending those who hold to the plain teaching of the word of God.
It is the belief of the Kirk Session that this part of the final adjudication by the ASA is flawed with prejudice and formed by presumption. The ASA has no evidence whatever to state "the majority of readers were likely to find the (ad) unacceptable". By taking this position we can only conclude that the ASA has forfeited their credibility to adjudication on a statement from which they received two complaints from seven complainants.
As a church we remain firm in our conviction that it is better to obey God than man; and that no counsel of man men and women can alter, dilute or remove the sincerely held views that are authorised through the message of the bible.
It has never been our intention to deliberately offend anyone, but we cannot deny that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will by its very nature be a source of offence to those who rebel against its message and in turn despise its messengers. By instructing the Kirk Session to seek the advice of their own copy team "before publishing future marketing material" we see as an unwarranted interference into church affairs. It is totally unacceptable for any church to look to an outside body for their approval to print gospel tracts that are based on the word of God. This we cannot and will not do.
The adjudication is in effect censoring the church, whose ministers and members believer that the bible is the divinely inspired word of God.
We have no apology to make in declaring the word of God to be against sodomy and are confidence that this finding will serve to galvanise the witness of the Free Presbyterian Church and others, to use our democratic right of freedom of speech to protest even more determinedly against that which God hates and to campaign for those divine principles which God loves.
Leviticus chp 18 vs 22.