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CBS, NBC refuse to air church's television advertisement

From powellb@ucc.org

Date Tue, 30 Nov 2004 18:32:49 -0500

 

 

United Church of Christ

Barb Powell, press contact

(216) 736-2175

<powellb@ucc.org>

<http://www.ucc.org>

 

For immediate release

Nov. 30, 2004

 

CBS, NBC refuse to air church's television advertisement

 

United Church of Christ ad highlighting Jesus' extravagant welcome called

'too controversial'

 

CLEVELAND -- 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 ad, part of the denomination's new, broad identity campaign set to

begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that -- like Jesus -- the United

Church of Christ (UCC) seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability,

age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

 

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is

being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and

lesbian couples -- among other minority constituencies -- and is,

therefore, too "controversial."

 

"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."

 

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot "too controversial."

 

"It's ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on

fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks, an ad

with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,"

says the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president.

"What's going on here?"

 

Negotiations between network officials and the church's representatives

broke down today (Nov. 30), the day before the ad campaign begins airing

nationwide on a combination of broadcast and cable networks. The ad has

been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family,

AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel

and TV Land, among others.

 

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." (The ad can be viewed online at

<www.stillspeaking.com>.)

 

In focus groups and test market research conducted before the campaign's

national rollout, the UCC found that many people throughout the country

feel alienated by churches. The television ad is geared toward those

persons who, for whatever reason, have not felt welcomed or comfortable in

a church.

 

"We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no

problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating

dramas, but when it comes to a church's loving welcome of committed gay

couples, that's where they draw the line," says the Rev. Robert Chase,

director of the UCC's communication ministry.

 

CBS and NBC's refusal to air the ad "recalls the censorship of the 1950s

and 1960s, when television station WLBT in Jackson, Miss., refused to show

people of color on TV," says Ron Buford, coordinator for the United Church

of Christ identity campaign. Buford, of African-American heritage, says,

"In the 1960s, the issue was the mixing of the races. Today, the issue

appears to be sexual orientation. In both cases, it's about exclusion."

 

In 1959, the Rev. Everett C. Parker organized United Church of Christ

members to monitor the racist practices of WLBT. Like many southern

television stations at the time, WLBT had imposed a news blackout on the

growing civil rights movement, pulling the plug on then-attorney Thurgood

Marshall. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. implored the UCC to get involved

in the media civil rights issues. Parker, founding director of the Office

of Communication of the United Church of Christ, organized churches and won

in federal court a ruling that the airwaves are public, not private

property. That decision ultimately led to an increase in the number of

persons of color in television studios and newsrooms. The suit clearly

established that television and radio stations, as keepers of the public

airwaves, must broadcast in the public interest.

 

"The consolidation of TV network ownership into the hands of a few

executives today puts freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression

in jeopardy," says former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, currently

managing director of the UCC's Office of Communication. "By refusing to air

the United Church of Christ's paid commercial, CBS and NBC are stifling

religious expression. They are denying the communities they serve a

suitable access to differing ideas and expressions."

 

Adds Andrew Schwartzman, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Media

Access Project in Washington, D.C., "This is an abuse of the broadcasters'

duty to inform their viewers on issues of importance to the community.

After all, these stations don't mind carrying shocking, attention-getting

programming, because they do that every night."

 

The United Church of Christ's national offices -- located in Cleveland --

speak to, but not for, its nearly 6,000 congregations and 1.3 million

members. In the spirit of the denomination's rich tradition, UCC

congregations remain autonomous, but also strongly in covenant with each

other and with the denomination's regional and national bodies.

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As a member of a United Church of Christ, church for over a decade, I am outraged to hear of this censorship. There is nothing about the church that is controverial save one thing, it truly does welcome all people from all walks of life.

 

Welcome to the new Republican world where people who do not believe what they believed are punished. I am very shocked at these networks decision.

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This isn't a republican issue.. total non-exclusionary acceptance of everyone threatens nearly EVERY traditional Christian church. Without "us vs them" in some manner there is no fear to use to manipulate people with, no reason to stay in the church with people like you to stay safe and to get to heaven while the 'others' burn in hell. Gays are one of and possibly the very last group that Christians can hate; they will hold on to this hate like a dog to it's last meal no matter what the law ever says.

 

Gio

 

"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend."

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>This isn't a republican issue.. total non-exclusionary

>acceptance of everyone threatens nearly EVERY traditional

>Christian church. Without "us vs them" in some manner there

>is no fear to use to manipulate people with, no reason to stay

>in the church with people like you to stay safe and to get to

>heaven while the 'others' burn in hell.

 

I cannot speak for any other church or their practices. I do know that my church spreadsthe good news of Jesus and never resorts to fear tactics.

 

Gays are one of and

>possibly the very last group that Christians can hate; they

>will hold on to this hate like a dog to it's last meal no

>matter what the law ever says.

>

>Gio

 

That is a generalization that isn't fair. Not all Christian Churchs hate gays.

>

>"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the

>arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I

>love only that which they defend."

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Not all no.. but I've gone to churches in probably 15 denominations dragged along by relatives in different parts of the country while I was growing up.. the sermons or homilies or whatever they were referred to in each place were without fail characterized by the flock vs the evil outside the doors..

 

I don't think of the United Church of Christ as traditional. Nor do I think of MCC as traditional. I applaud your finding a place where you feel welcome. I'll stand by the generalization though.. fair or not to the dozen or so of you who atually follow the teachings of Christ, this generalization and the manipulation of it by a very intelligent, clever, informed, evil Mr Rove just helped win the election for W.

 

 

Gio

 

"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend."

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>This isn't a republican issue.. total non-exclusionary

>acceptance of everyone threatens nearly EVERY traditional

>Christian church. Without "us vs them" in some manner there

>is no fear to use to manipulate people with, no reason to stay

>in the church with people like you to stay safe and to get to

>heaven while the 'others' burn in hell. Gays are one of and

>possibly the very last group that Christians can hate; they

>will hold on to this hate like a dog to it's last meal no

>matter what the law ever says.

>

>Gio

 

 

Actually, there is a rather strong measure of Republican culpability in this matter that goes back to the days of Ronald Reagan and the death of the fairness doctrine in broadcasting. Since then, it's been a downhill slide. The rise of hate radio jockeys like Limbaugh and North and Savage and others have set the stage and then the sleazy Michael Powell running the FCC has been the icing on the cake for corporate control of what plays and what doesn't play on the public airwaves.

 

I happen to be a United Methodist, and my denomination, which is now dominated by the membership in the Southern states, goes through a struggle every four years regarding a more liberal approach to the issue of homosexuality. The progressives in the church have been defeated again and again, because the southern delegates to our General Conference have the voting strength to impose their bigotry and stupidity on the whole denomination. That said, there are United Methodist churches, mainly in the northern states and in the Northeast, which are much more progressive and welcome everyone, regardless of race, gender, social class, national origin and sexual orientation. The Presbyterians and Episcopalians are pretty much in the same boat as the United Methodists, because some right wing groups funded by Richard Mellon Scaife and others keep pushing the homophobic agenda and want to cause schism within the mainline denominations.

 

I greatly admire the UCC in its policy of inclusiveness. I think CBS and NBC are disgraceful in rejecting this advertisement. I wonder how long it will be before they find the United Methodist media campaign slogan "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" to be "too controversial".

 

America is becoming a scary place when a network refuses advertising based on the excuse that there is a move afoot by the current administration to pass a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, hence advertising that promotes inclusiveness is "too controversial". Seems the "B" in CBS and NBC must stand for Bush these days.

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Remember, CBS and NBC hate Bush and tried to prevent his reelection, probably in part because he is Christian, so it is not reasonable to associate him with these actions of CBS and NBC in excluding the Christian ad. Having said that, I think it was the false depiction of guards outside other churchs which impelled the networks to exclude it. Other churches do not have guards at the door and would be reasonably offended by the false claim that they do.

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Whatever it is that Bush and the ignorant hordes like him believe (and a better spelling for their ideology might be KKKrischin) it's nothing that Jesus would recognize. Life must be a real challenge these days for the real Christians in churches like the UCC and in the inclusive wings of the other mainstream churches. Good always triumphs in the end, but the forces of evil, hatred, fear and exclusion are loose in ways we haven't seen in a long time. It's going to be a very difficult struggle for genuine Christians in the coming years. . .

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>Not all no.. but I've gone to churches in probably 15

>denominations dragged along by relatives in different parts of

>the country while I was growing up.. the sermons or homilies

>or whatever they were referred to in each place were without

>fail characterized by the flock vs the evil outside the

>doors..

>

>I don't think of the United Church of Christ as traditional.

>Nor do I think of MCC as traditional. I applaud your finding

>a place where you feel welcome. I'll stand by the

>generalization though.. fair or not to the dozen or so of you

>who atually follow the teachings of Christ, this

>generalization and the manipulation of it by a very

>intelligent, clever, informed, evil Mr Rove just helped win

>the election for W.

>

>

>Gio

>

 

Fair enough. I would be less than honest to suggest that your assesment is pretty accurate.

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>Remember, CBS and NBC hate Bush and tried to prevent his

>reelection, probably in part because he is Christian, so it is

>not reasonable to associate him with these actions of CBS and

>NBC in excluding the Christian ad. Having said that, I think

>it was the false depiction of guards outside other churchs

>which impelled the networks to exclude it. Other churches do

>not have guards at the door and would be reasonably offended

>by the false claim that they do.

 

It is laughable for your to suggest CBS and NBC hate Bush because he is a Christian.

 

And what about free speach and free expression? Isn't that what being American is all about? In America, we have the right to use Artistic license in our advertising and campaigning.

 

The Networks are plain and simply wrong.

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>Remember, CBS and NBC hate Bush and tried to prevent his

>reelection, probably in part because he is Christian, so it is

>not reasonable to associate him with these actions of CBS and

>NBC in excluding the Christian ad.

 

Do you have some facts to back this up, or did you just get this from Fox News?

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>CBS, NBC refuse to air church's television advertisement

>From powellb@ucc.org

> Date Tue, 30 Nov 2004 18:32:49 -0500

 

Two weeks ago, you same people were prattling on about how terrible it was that the WASHINGTON POST accepted advertisements from a Black Christian group which were anti-gay.

 

The newspaper, you argued, had an obligation to turn away such controversial advertisements and not accept them.

 

And yet, here you are, just two weeks later, screetching that NBC and CBS's decision to turn away controversial ads - EXACTLY what you were saying the WP should have done - is a reflection of totalitarian evil and further evidence that we're all headed towards concentration camps.

 

Do you ever hear yourselves speak? Isn't it like pink fingernails scraping against a chalk board? Do you really not know - I mean, deep down in your hearts, reallyl not know - why it is that such a decisive majority of the population are sickened by the way

you "think"?

 

Why not just be honest - for once - and admit: "I think that any controversial ads which express views that agree with my views MUST be accepted. But any controversial ads which express views different than my views MUST be rejected."

 

That's what many of you - albeit unwittingly - have just said. So why not just 'fess up and be clear about it?

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>Doug, the difference is that the WaPo ad was filled with lies

>(eg, if you're gay, you won't live past 41) while the UCC

>commercial isn't.

 

Oh, so you want networks to be the gatekeeper of what constitutes "True Opionion" and what doesn't? I wouldn't trust them - or anyone - to do that. What is a "lie" to you is "truth" to someone else.

 

And while I, too, found the rejection of this ad to be viscerally horrible, ultimately, the network's justification for this policy is pretty sensible: on matter of public controversy, they take NO ADS of any kind, because they don't want those people who can afford TV ads to have an undue influence on discussion of controversial issues.

 

Aren't you in favor of that ratioanle?

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>What is a "lie" to you

>is "truth" to someone else.

 

LOL There are scientific facts and data which easily prove that gay people live past the age of 41, Doug.

 

>ultimately, the network's justification

>for this policy is pretty sensible: on matter of public

>controversy, they take NO ADS of any kind,

 

But they also added, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently

proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman" as part of their justification. Why does Bush's stance on gay marriage have any bearing on CBS's decision?

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>>What is a "lie" to you

>>is "truth" to someone else.

>

>LOL There are scientific facts and data which easily prove

>that gay people live past the age of 41, Doug.

 

Really? How is that studied? I would think the only way to study that is by studying the longevity of openly gay people, which itself would likely skew these statistics rather substantially.

 

And, there are published studies stating this short life-expectancy of gay people. They are discredited and skewed, but they are there. I don't think it's a very good idea to empower media outlets to accept or reject ads based upon what THEY think is "true" or "false."

 

But this whole bit about the life expectancy is a distraction -- if the ad didn't have that one sentence, then you would have no problem with its being published by the WP?

 

>>But they also added, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman" as part of their justification. Why does Bush's stance on gay marriage have any bearing on CBS's decision?>>

 

Because the ad opposes the exclusion of gay people from social institutions - and the fact that the President of the U.S. advocates that exclusion, at least when it comes to marriage, demonstrates that the ad addresses a matter of public controversy.

 

The networks don't think it's right that the only voices that can be heard on network TV regarding matters of public controversy be voices from people or groups rich enough to buy TV ads.

 

Do you think that the only people whose voices should be heard on network TV re: matters of public contrversies should be those from people rich enough to buy TV ads?

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The ad is not honest. I have not heard of any churches who have bouncers at the door to select who may attend. The ad is an insult to other churches and would, with good reason, offend members of other churces. CBS and NBC were entirely justified in refusing the ads as a matter of business.

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>The ad is not honest. I have not heard of any churches who

>have bouncers at the door to select who may attend. The ad is

>an insult to other churches and would, with good reason,

>offend members of other churces. CBS and NBC were entirely

>justified in refusing the ads as a matter of business.

 

Does the fact that "you haven't heard" of any mean that there aren't any? Just more "Merlin style" speculation, based on your self-deluded sense of omnipotence.

 

I can speak factually, from personal experience, that there are a number of churches where as a gay person you would not be welcome, unless you renounced your sexual orientation and signed on to their belief system.

So, bouncers or not, the issue is about inclusion and being made welcome. Of course, since you and Doug can never let an opportunity pass to defend repression, I'm not surprised that you would weigh in. Thanks for sharing.

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>Because the ad opposes the exclusion of gay people from social

>institutions - and the fact that the President of the U.S.

>advocates that exclusion, at least when it comes to marriage,

>demonstrates that the ad addresses a matter of public

>controversy.

 

Have you even viewed the ad, or are you following your usual tactic of just talking out of your ass? The ad doesn't mention gay marriage at all. As a matter of fact, it never even uses the word gay. The point of the ad is that all people are welcome in the United Church of Christ. What is so difficult to understand about that?

>

>The networks don't think it's right that the only voices that

>can be heard on network TV regarding matters of public

>controversy be voices from people or groups rich enough to buy

>TV ads.

>

>Do you think that the only people whose voices should be heard

>on network TV re: matters of public contrversies should be

>those from people rich enough to buy TV ads?

 

This would be funny if it weren't so disingenous. I think most people would say that enticing children to smoke would fall under that category of controversial, and yet the tobacco companies run TV spots all the time which claim to be discouraging kids from smoking, while they have frequently done the opposite in other advertising. Remember Joe Camel?

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>Have you even viewed the ad, or are you following your usual

>tactic of just talking out of your ass? The ad doesn't

>mention gay marriage at all. As a matter of fact, it never

>even uses the word gay. The point of the ad is that all

>people are welcome in the United Church of Christ. What is so

>difficult to understand about that?

 

I've viewed the ad. No honest person would deny that it is plainly referencing the exclusion of gay people.

 

This is a forum filled with narcissistic gay people who become interested in issues only when it affects them. The fact that all of the standard NAZI-ARE-COMING hysterics here are so interested in, and upset by, tihs issue, by itself proves the ad is referencing gay people. If it weren't, you wouldn't be interested.

 

>This would be funny if it weren't so disingenous. I think

>most people would say that enticing children to smoke would

>fall under that category of controversial, and yet the tobacco

>companies run TV spots all the time which claim to be

>discouraging kids from smoking, while they have frequently

>done the opposite in other advertising. Remember Joe Camel?

 

As usual, you just proved the point you were arguing against. Joe Camel ads aren't accepted anymore by networks. Guess whY? Because people find them controversial and offensive.

 

By contrast, networks DO run PSA's AGAINST smoking. Guess why? Because very few people find anti-smoking ads offensive, since it's a virtual consensus that smoking is bad and should be discouraged.

 

That proves the point: networks won't run ads that take a controverseial position on a controversial issue.

 

That's why they rejected this ad. I know it's hard to believe, but this has nothing to do with you. This is a policy that networks apply across the board in order to avoid offending their audiences and to ensure that controversial debates don't become domianted by people with enough money to buy network TV ads.

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I saw the ad last night while watching CNN which will show the ad despite the big three deciding not too. I think that this ad is being blown way out of control. Yes it does show two gay men BUT it also shows people from all walks of life that make up this country. The big three have every right to show what they feel is proper on their stations. It would be different if they decided not to show this ad and decided to show a hate filled Nazi ad instead but they are not they are choosing to be nutral. CNN stated last night that some of the affiliates of the big three will show the ad so all don't get your pants all in a bunch.

Greg Seattle Wa seaboy4hire@yahoo.com

http://www.male4malescorts.com/reviews/gregseattle.html http://briefcase.yahoo.com/seaboy4hire

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>>Have you even viewed the ad, or are you following your

>usual

>>tactic of just talking out of your ass? The ad doesn't

>>mention gay marriage at all. As a matter of fact, it never

>>even uses the word gay. The point of the ad is that all

>>people are welcome in the United Church of Christ. What is

>so

>>difficult to understand about that?

>

>I've viewed the ad. No honest person would deny that it is

>plainly referencing the exclusion of gay people.

 

It may infer that, but it nver says the word "gay" in the ad. You assume that the men together are gay.

>

>This is a forum filled with narcissistic gay people who become

>interested in issues only when it affects them. The fact that

>all of the standard NAZI-ARE-COMING hysterics here are so

>interested in, and upset by, tihs issue, by itself proves the

>ad is referencing gay people. If it weren't, you wouldn't be

>interested.

 

The add also shows blacks and other miniritues being rejected.

>

>>This would be funny if it weren't so disingenous. I think

>>most people would say that enticing children to smoke would

>>fall under that category of controversial, and yet the

>tobacco

>>companies run TV spots all the time which claim to be

>>discouraging kids from smoking, while they have frequently

>>done the opposite in other advertising. Remember Joe Camel?

>

>As usual, you just proved the point you were arguing against.

>Joe Camel ads aren't accepted anymore by networks. Guess whY?

> Because people find them controversial and offensive.

 

No, not because the networks fins them controversial, but rather because it is now against the law. The networks would be happy to take tobacco money if they could.

>

>By contrast, networks DO run PSA's AGAINST smoking. Guess

>why? Because very few people find anti-smoking ads

>offensive, since it's a virtual consensus that smoking is bad

>and should be discouraged.

>

>That proves the point: networks won't run ads that take a

>controverseial position on a controversial issue.

 

Then how do you explain all of the political advertising that we just suffered through for six months. Most of the political ads were certainly controversial. The Swift Boat Veteran ads could not be considered anything but controversial. The networks are not rejecting the ads because they are controversial, but because they are afraid of the economic fallout. Its about the money, not about the controversy. They lve to run beer ads with scantily clad models, and the Viagra and Cialis ads are nearly pornographic, but they are heppy to run those ads. The networks fear that accepting the adds from the Uniter Church of Christ will hurt them with other advertisers, and maybe viewers. There is also a new level of fear that the F.C.C. will come down on them for "controversy".

>

>That's why they rejected this ad. I know it's hard to

>believe, but this has nothing to do with you. This is a

>policy that networks apply across the board in order to avoid

>offending their audiences and to ensure that controversial

>debates don't become domianted by people with enough money to

>buy network TV ads.

 

Absolutely not true! The ad had a simple message, "We welcome everyone to our church, other churches don't". That may be a hard message for some to hear, but the UCC should be allowed to say it.

>

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