Vue cinemas funding anti-Christian campaigning

17, August 2023

It is easy to see where the majority of pressure for a ‘conversion therapy’ law is coming from. Spend a little while on the official campaign website and you’ll find one group’s fingerprints all over it.

Nothing makes it clearer than signing up for campaign updates. You’ll get an email back declaring “We are Stonewall”.

The charity had been receiving monetary donations from the Vue cinema chain since ‘Pride month’ in June.

The controversial lobby group has received plenty of grief for its undue influence on political life in recent years. Thankfully many organisations are ditching the group’s ludicrous certification and employer awards scheme (which some said was more like a protection racket).

Its recent campaign for a legal ban on ‘conversion therapy’ has been no less controversial. The proposal seems straightforward: protect LGBT people from abuse. But as is usual with Stonewall, the words all have their meaning twisted out of shape.

You see, verbal and physical abuse is already illegal, whatever identity the victim claims. But the ‘abuse’ Stonewall claims is taking place looks nothing like the ‘abuse’ you or I might conceive of. So the Stonewall-backed campaign for a ban says “casual conversations” and “private prayer” must be covered by the ban. But that is not abuse.

Merely failing to uphold Stonewall’s flawed ideology in your prayers should not be criminalised. Ordinary religious practices, as well as normal discussions which take place in everyday life, should not be outlawed. Lawyers agree that if Stonewall succeeds in its campaigning on this issue, the human rights of many in our society would be undermined.

Of course, even those not persuaded by the totality of Stonewall’s aims might still argue for a ban on gay ‘conversion therapy’. Historically, awful things were done to some gay people, including electroshock experiments by academics in the middle of the last century. We can all agree that they were wrong. But thankfully they no longer take place.

Stonewall is deeply invested in the campaign for a far broader law than that, however. Stonewall says a ‘comprehensive’ ban must cover transgenderism, non-binary identities and those who call themselves ‘asexual’. It is a mysterious position, since no one can explain what this ‘conversion therapy’ looks like.

Instead this seems to be an attempt to give Stonewall’s thinking a legislative foothold; an effort to privilege so-called ‘LGBTQ+ rights’ and denigrate freedom of belief, freedom of speech and the rights of the family.

Vue cinemas might think it’s a pretty piece of publicity to be offering donations to Stonewall off the back of their customers’ purchases of popcorn. But the reality is that the public has grown cold about Stonewall. We are fed up with having laws and regulations influenced by a group that famously refuses to debate key issues that affect our lives and families.

Many customers will simply ignore Vue’s suggestion that they make a donation. Plenty won’t make the connection with Stonewall’s anti-Christian politicking in the split-second they have to make the decision.

For others – especially those who feel the tangible influence of this all-or-nothing ideology – this will leave a very bad taste in the mouth indeed. Why should a fun night out with friends be used to fund a campaign at odds with human rights?

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