Church People Declare Star Wars Screening Sinful, Heathens Carry on Regardless

By Tom Pritchard on at

There are people out there who consider Sunday a special day because it belongs to God, even though most of us aren't fussed and don't want the big man in the sky telling us how we should be spending our precious time off. Some of those people got together to protest a screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi this past Sunday, though the blasphemous sci-fi fans opted to ignore them.

This probably needs a bit of backstory, because cinemas tend to stay open everyday and rarely have to deal with protesters milling around driving customers away from the overpriced popcorn. This took place on the Isle of Lewis, which apparently hasn't had a public cinema screening on a Sunday before. So the screening of The Last Jedi at the An Lanntair arts venue in Stornoway was historic in its own weird way.

Two god-botherers turned up to protest the showing of the film, trying to urge filmgoers to keep the sabbath holy and dedicated to the Lord. Presumably that would involve sitting on an uncomfortable pew reading a book with very thin paper, or sitting at home watching pre-recorded episodes of Songs of Praise.

That didn't stop people buying up all 183 tickets and ignoring the declaration that they should "repent and be converted that [their] sins may be blotted out."

The reason behind the protest is that the island was strictly Presbyterian in the past, and very strict about how the sabbath should be observed. There have even been reports of playground swings being locked up on Saturday nights in the past, and there were protests when commercial flights and ferries to and from the island began running on Sundays back in 2002 and 2009 respectively. Public leisure facilities are also closed on Sundays, and teeing off at the local golf club is banned.

Campaigners against the silly rules have raised funds to have the An Lanntair cinema open up as a trial run, with screenings booked on the last Sunday of the month until March. Pixar's Coco is set to be shown at the end of next month, and reports claim half the tickets have already been sold. Despite a survey by the venue claiming "a significant majority" of people supported opening up the cinema on Sunday, Rev. David Fraser of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is having none of it, saying:

"The Sabbath is to be kept holy - people are forgetting about higher things and going against the the Christian tradition of our island heritage and culture. There should be freedom of choice within the limits of respect of the religion and culture here.”

I have no idea whether he's oblivious to how painfully ironic that statement is. David Green, the chairman of the venue’s board, says that no members of staff have been forced to work on Sundays, though some have apparently been pressured by relatives to not go in. He also argued that nobody should be able to tell people "what they can and what they cannot do." [The Telegraph]

Image: Tim Dorr/Flickr (Modified)

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