Monday, March 27, 2006

Somebody Explain This To Me

I don't get this crazy world sometimes. The United Church of Christ is a Christian church. All right, they love people, they reach out to all kinds of people, they ... what can you say? They're just a church. They follow the teachings of Jesus as they are told in the gospels.

And you sometimes see ads for different churches on TV. I know I've seen a lot of ads for the Latter Day Saints -- well, in a free country you can buy time on the networks and advertise whatever you want, right?

No, you can't. When the UCC wanted to show a nice advertisement that stressed their inclusiveness, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the WB networks all rejected it. Wouldn't show it. If your computer has sound and you have the Flash player, you can see the ad HERE. Now you tell me, what is supposed to be offensive about this?

The UCC's message is: "You're welcome here." They show a single mother, a gay couple, a generically "foreign" looking guy, and some others flying up from what you would call "ejector-pews" that shoot them into the sky. And this church's message is that they're not like that. The ad has some text that says, "God doesn't reject people: neither do we."

Of course they are contrasting themselves to some other churches, well, that's fair, isn't it? They make a point of their inclusiveness, and some others obviously are both straight and narrow.

Can somebody explain to me the logic of this? Why would the networks refuse to run these ads? Does this make sense to anybody?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that when the UCC sought to run ads to simply focus on their inclusiveness without the attacks on other denominations, those ads, too, were rejected. That was outrageous -- a sign of cowardice on the part of the networks.

The advertisement on the link, however, does more than point out the UCC's inclusiveness. It also attacks -- in humorous but tough terms -- the perceived narrowness of other Christian denominations.

Other than the ejection of the gay couple, I suspect that the target denominations (at least most of them) would dispute the propositions set forth in the UCC ad: that they reject single moms, immigrants, the disabled, the homeless. If the Southern Baptist Convention were to seek to run an ad condemning denominations that accept and affirm same-sex couples, would the networks also reject that ad? One would think so, if the standard is that they don't want to run attack ads by denominations against each other.

But that does not appear to be the standard that the broadcast industry employs. Note the hateful statements about GLBT people routinely made by high visibility ministers on their Sunday morning television shows, carried by network affiliates (I don't know if these are network feeds.) The Reverend James Kennedy says the most awful, hateful things. I assume, but do not know, that these shows are paid for by the ministries that put them on -- I assume that the television stations do not subsidize them. But if the stations will broadcast the homophobic tirades of people like Rev. Kennedy for a price, it does seem strange that they will not broadcast the UCC's gentler barbs for a price. Strange, but perhaps understandable. It may well be that Coral Ridge Ministries pays a lot more money to have Rev. Kennedy inveigh against gay people than the United Church of Christ would pay to chastise churches that are hostile to gays.

Perhaps the determining factor is when the paid sermons (whether those of Coral Ridge or the UCC) are shown? The UCC spots were probably offered up at times when anyone might be “exposed to them.” The Coral Ridge sermons are limited to Sunday mornings, when, I guess, only the “religious” would tune in religious shows. But what if the UCC were to ask to place its ad right after or right before Coral Ridge? That would seem fair enough. But, once again, Coral Ridge probably puts more money into the stations’ coffers that the UCC could hope to pay. And I suspect the UCC ads (even ones without the explicit criticism of the exclusionary sects) would not be run at such times (or at all).

Does the industry follow a different Golden Rule than the one we find in Scripture -- to wit, "He who has the gold, rules"?

March 27, 2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

I forgot to sign the first post. It is mine.

March 27, 2006 4:58 PM  

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