United Church of Christ TV Ad Rejected by CBS, NBC

Now this is stupid:

The CBS and NBC television networks are refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed “too controversial.” The debut 30-second commercial features two muscle-bound “bouncers” standing guard outside a symbolic, picturesque church and selecting which persons are permitted to attend Sunday services. Written text interrupts the scene, announcing, “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” A narrator then proclaims the United Church of Christ’s commitment to Jesus’ extravagant welcome: “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

View the commerical here (and what a great tagline: ‘God is still speaking’).

Footnote as always: remember that this is corporate censorship – not plain ol’ state-sponsored flavor. The networks have a right not to air commercials they don’t agree with – and weigh that against media merger legislation and the inability to get out a message of tolerance and inclusiveness.

Update: You know what I think they should have done? I wish the ad agency had worked with the networks to edit down the commercial until it was acceptable for broadcast. Then there’s a story! People go online to view both versions and you get tons of hits and attention and show the networks for being intolerant assholes.

Update 2: I’m guessing, thinking and predicting that this gradual wearing down of broadcast openness will eventually lead to a complete blackout in war coverage. It will all be reduced to the familiar night-vision green and talking heads from military hardware companies.

I’m just full of solutions this week!

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13 thoughts on “United Church of Christ TV Ad Rejected by CBS, NBC

  1. Sam Kleinman

    The UCC (United Chuch of Christ) should not be confused with the Unitarians. The UCC is a Christian Church, and they belive in the trinity and all of that, Unitarians, are only vaguely christian. Some unitarians are more christian than others, but its a very different kind of religion than christianity I tend to think.

    I will say, that the UCC is one of the most liberal christian sects. They were the first to ordane women, and the MCC churches (metropolotian comunity churches, the gay ones) and their pastors are ordained by the UCC. It’s still christian though.

    Cheers,
    Sam Kleinman, the jewish boy

  2. Brad

    “”Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples…and the fact that 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,” the church quoted CBS as saying. ” (Per CNN)
    WTF… a pitiful excuse. Are they afraid to offend or diasgree with the President? Oh yeah, CBS just spent millions courting the White House to stop FCC reform. True, the networks have a right not to air commercials they don’t agree with, and I have a right not to watch netwoks run by intolerant assholes.

  3. BAM!

    Interesting. How can we ever become united as human beings when we have such division in every aspect of our lives? How many types of Christians are there? Either you believe that Jesus is the Messiah or you don’t. Crazy, mixed up and funny world we live in.

  4. dissenter

    The UCC has launched this campaign in order to bolster its membership by showing the world how inclusive they are – even if they miss the main point about Jesus calling us all to repentance, calling us to turn away from our sins (those things by which we turn away from him) and toward the Love of God. The irony, of course, is that their decline in membership can very likely be traced to the liberalizing of their theological and moral understandings about God and humanity. This same trend may be seen in other mainline protestant churches, to the extent that they have forsaken the Gospel for keeping up with the times, and still, like the democratic party, they scratch their head and wonder where everyone has gone! Why are they blind to see that evangelical churches which have not forsaken the truth about God and man, are thriving? Is Jesus inclusive? Yes. Has he come to call sinners? Absolutely, but it is to repentance that he has called us – all of us who have at one time, and to one degree or another, turned instead to ourselves and our own misguided desires. LIke the woman caught in adultery, he asks, “has no one condemned you?” “no one,” we reply, “then neither do I condemn you”- but wait, his conclusion is crucial – “Go now, and sin no more.” I don’t have a great deal to say about the networks, though I suppose they can air (or refuse to air) whatever they wish – as they, and the media in general, have done for years. Finally, be careful about referring to others as “intolerant assholes” – it betrays one’s own lack of tolerance!

  5. Karen Dawson

    UCC should be proud of their diversity, however they don’t need to do a negative campaign showing bouncers outside of other churches refusing entrance to gays or people of color. That is a type of mudslinging that is hateful and reminds me of political commercials. Why not just an ad showing a diverse group entering a UCC church without accusing other churches of not being welcoming. My husband, and his entire family are life long members of UCC. My children were baptized there as well. Our small town churches are very welcoming to all people. Keep the mudslinging out of religion.
    Sincerely, Karen

  6. Andy

    a type of mudslinging that is hateful and reminds me of political commercials

    They don’t make any mention of other churches specifically. How can a message of tolerance and peace and acceptance be mudslinging?

    Mudslinging would’ve been if they had shown another denomination specifically.

    And shouldn’t bigoted churches be pointed out anyway?

  7. Bob Waterman

    I find it a bit ironic that the network who has made millions off of shows like “Will and Grace” find the ad to be too controversial. I don’t find “Dissenters” remarks to be particularly insightful. It should come as no surprise to any of us that there is growth in conservative evangelical churches. They attempt to read the Bible literally which I did before I graduated from seminary. I had to read the Bible literally, I was too ignorant to read it any other way. Most people have too little time to actually examine the Bible other than to memorize a few Bible verses. It has to be easy. Of course, the Bible is anything but easy and neither is standing up against those who would oppress others. I am proud that my church does not take the easy road and I could not understand a loving God in the way that Dissenter does.

  8. Joe

    I think that us inclusive Christians are constantly insulted by those who have historically excluded people from church life and leadership. Meanwhile, we watch self-avowed “Christians” criticizing or excluding others merely because they were women, other races, other cultures, other upbringing in Christian churches, as well as sexual orientation — not on the basis of salvation. I’ve seen faithful church attendees even sit in church and poke fun of how others have dressed! These people are effectively spiritual “bouncers” and they know it in their hearts; they just don’t want to be confronted with it.

    So I think what upsets many about the commercial is that they do not want to question their own un-Christian behaviors, like judging people for their life callings or their biological composition, and not their spirit. Let’s not forget that the same guy who criticized the UCC ad on “Good Morning America” (Albert Mohler) was part of the movement to deny women from being ordained in the Southern Baptist church, and in fact fired several professors at his seminary just because they were women! No wonder he criticized the ad; he’s a “bouncer” himself.

    Finally, I think it is fine for any church to express their theological beliefs with paid advertising, as long as it doesn’t violate decency, hate crime or violence standards. This ad doesn’t violate any of these things and nothing is said or explained about any sort of “controversial issue”. (Since when does holding hands or hugging someone denote anything about gay marriage?) The ad simply makes a statement that there are thousands of churches across the USA (several of whom actually started before the founding of our country) who have interpreted a different theology and have a First Amendment right to express it.

    I’m waiting for a companion ad that shows ticket takers at the doors of the church, seating people by how much they spent on their tickets (church donations) and refusing to let in those who haven’t donated. It may be surprising to those even in the religious right, but this behavior is also alive and well in many faith traditions. Now that one would really be controversial!

  9. Rodney

    I am amused by the interpretation of the ad which points out it is an invitation to gays to attend church. In the first place, no mention of gays is made in the ad. Although I am sure the intention of the ad is to make inclusion truly inclusive, one has to project this gay interpretation from his or her own mind into the ad. Have we come to the place where two men cannot walk together to a church without being thought of as gays? Or to the place where two women cannot stand beside each other with an arm around one of them without being a gay couple? Secondly, what is so radical about inviting gays to church? If we can exclude one group because of their behavior, who is next? Who is going to administer the test? Who is going to enforce it? Do we exclude people who lie, commit adultry, covet other people’s possessions, use profanity, use company property as their own, etc? If we are going to do that, only saints will attend church, and the rest of us will be cast aside. Which Christians truly believe that their own behavior is always Christ-like? If one assumes that gays should be excluded from church, but not other “sinners,” then there seems to be a certain degree of hypocrisy involved. To hold that gays should be excluded is something like having a plank in one’s eye.

  10. Brian

    Come on people, you dont have to be a rocket scientist to see the UCC is trying to win members by saying they are more open minded than other churches. I would hate to be so open minded my brain falls out. And some of you think some churches are hypocrites because they exclude gays and not other sinners, well lets start inviting serial killers then. So you see it does make a difference when it comes to the sinner and what type of sin, have a convicted sex offender who is proud of what they are come on in to your church, see what happens.

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