A Bible Society video has placed the Coopers beer company in the centre of a controversy.
A special run of Coopers Premium Light beer features the Bible Society’s 200th Anniversary on beer cans, and special Bible verses on cases of the beer.
But a video, issued by the Bible Society (not Coopers) in a related campaign has led to a backlash against the beer company.
In the video, MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie, both Liberals, debate same sex marriage. The aim, to prove that serious subjects can be treated in a “light” way. The video presents both sides in the debate. The original video can be seen, here.
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“Bible Society is entirely responsible for the ‘Keeping it Light’ video. It was not sponsored by Coopers.” – Bible Society Australia
“We want you to know that Coopers did not give permission for our Premium Light beer to feature in, or ‘sponsor’ the Bible Society’s ‘Keeping it Light’ video featuring Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson,” Coopers said in a statement released on Twitter. “We respect the beliefs of our community and do not wish to try and change them. Our family brewery is made up of individuals from a number of different backgrounds, all of whom hold differing views on politics and religion, which we think is reflective of the wider community.
“We would like all Coopers fans to know that we support and embrace all of our beer drinking community.”
In a press release, Bible Society Australia says, “Bible Society is entirely responsible for the ‘Keeping it Light’ video. It was not sponsored by Coopers. No money has changed hands between Bible Society and Coopers in regards to this campaign.
“Bible Society remains grateful to Coopers for both the release of light beer commemorating our bicentenary and their support through their foundation for the distribution of bibles to the defence force and those who need them.
“The interest from the public in this campaign reinforces the message of the video – that it is important for Australians to have respectful conversations about serious issues – ‘keeping it light.’”
Some social media posters have taken the video to mean that Coopers (and/or the Bible Society) are against gay marriage.
The Old Bar (a music venue in Fitzroy, Melbourne) posted “unfortunately we will no longer be purchasing any stock from Coopers.”
The Hollywood Hotel in Sydney is also “reassessing” their relationship with Coopers.
“I find this a curious backlash,” Facebooker Elizabeth Clark posted taking a different view.
“Bible Society doesn’t actually hold a position on Same Sex Marriage and isn’t a political activism group. Its certainly very different from groups such as the ACL. Its work is focused on the accessibility of the Bible, including translation work, as well as improving literacy rates in Aus and internationally.”