Networks Refuse to Run Church Ad Saying All Are Welcome

A few days ago the Eschaton blog posted an entry about CBS and NBC refusing to run an ad from the United Church of Christ. Apparently, it was considered too controversial by the two networks. The ad, which you can view at stillspeaking.com, shows burly bouncers turning people away from a church. Then these words appear on the screen: Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we. A voiceover concludes:

No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.

A press release published by the United Church of Christ reveals the rationale behind the CBS response:

“Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations,” reads an explanation from CBS, “and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks.”

FAIR.org (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) picked up the story and ran an Action Alert asking people to contact CBS and NBC and urge them to reverse the absurd policy that deems a church’s acceptance of all people to be ‘too controversial’ to air.

So, what do you think about this ad? Is it too controversial for the American public? Should major networks refuse to air it? Or is the policy absurd?

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5 Responses to Networks Refuse to Run Church Ad Saying All Are Welcome

  1. Josh says:

    While I agree with very little the UCC has to say or offer, they still have a right to free speech in America. This move is pure hypocrisy from the networks. They allow material in their “family” oriented shows that is a sight more controversial then this ad. It is unbelievable that NBC puts the Matthew Shepard Story on the air and then deems this ad too controversial…what a joke.

  2. Karl says:

    Well put, Josh. But it does make me wonder: What would motivate such a hypocritical decision? Do you think it’s political? At least one of the networks is tying their decision to the Bush Administration. And why would they feel so threatened by this ad? It seems fairly innocuous to me.

  3. Josh says:

    I think it is a little bit of a cop out on their part to tie the decision to the Bush Administration. While he obviously stands for more traditional family values, he doesn’t really control what decisions the FCC makes. I think this all is going back to the Super Bowl fiasco and the public backlash (although that was a bit hypocritical too.) Where I think this ties in politically is in the fact the networks are looking at the results of the exit polls from the election. They are afraid to cause any controversy that might offend the so called religious right. What is funny is that those exit polls which said America voted values over the war in Iraq are skewed anyway. Anytime you generalize a topic it will have a higher percentage than a specific.

  4. Kevin says:

    You know, we just joined the UCC. I love the ad and its message and agree with Josh that this has less to do with Bush than it does with marketing. I’m interested in why Josh agrees “with very little the UCC has to say or offer.” NOT to start a debate, seriously, just to get a pov.

  5. Josh says:

    Hi Kevin,
    The UCC main tagline is that everyone is welcome. While I don’t disagree with this philosophy on the surface, the UCC philosphy goes much deeper than that. With such a focus on tolerance and diversity the churches of the UCC have wide variences in their major doctrines. Some affrim the deity of Christ, some deny it. Some believe the Bible is fully authoritative others don’t. The denomination also takes an anti-biblical stance on the issue of homosexuality. These are only a few examples. On these principles alone I have a hard time agreeing with UCC. Email me if you want to chat further stuff@byershome.com

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