By BTL Staff
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 message 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 the United Church of Christ 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.”
Apparently, NBC has rejected the spot for similar reasons. The ad has been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, [email protected], TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land.
Pastor John E. Maki, of the Salem United Church of Christ in Farmington, expressed frustration with the networks’ decision. “When they’re responding this way – if this is true – then I am surprised, with all the pornographic crap they show regularly, that they have the audacity to censor or disallow this item from the church that is, in fact, free speech,” he said.
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’ welcome: “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
Maki reiterated that welcome on behalf of his church.
“Everybody’s welcome,” he said. “In fact, we go out of our way not to play the game of God. Everybody is loved and accepted. Everybody is on a different journey. Our task is to love everyone as Jesus loved.”
Call to Action:
Tell NBC and CBS that an ad inclusive of gays and lesbians is not “controversial.”
To contact CBS, call: 212-975-4321
To contact NBC, call: 212-664-4444