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Author Topic: CBS, NBC: Inclusiveness is too controversial when a church does it
Molonel
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http://www.ucc.org/news/u113004a.htm

CBS, NBC refuse to air church's television advertisement

United Church of Christ ad highlighting Jesus' extravagant welcome called 'too controversial'

For immediate release
Nov. 30, 2004

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 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), on the day before the ad campaign was set to begin 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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Molonel
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Here is the original ad:

http://www.stillspeaking.com/default.htm

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The Drake
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I can't recall seeing any ad for any church on the major networks. Back when I kid, I seem to recall seeing some LDS ads, and it must have been the networks, cause that's all there was.

Obviously, the spot was demonstrably too controversial to run, because even NOT running it has created a controversy.

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Adam Masterman
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After seeing the ad I can see WHY the networks were afraid. They use a red rope and bouncer to illustrate how other churches exclude certain people, and in their inclusive scene included what was presumably a lesbian couple. I, of course, think that the points are valid and have no problem with the ad. However, I am not suprised that the networks didn't run them. The group of people agitating for an FCC crackdown are likely the kind of people who would oppose the messages in this ad.
Adam

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musket
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Adam has it right. This was a business decision, rightly or wrongly taking into account a possible backlash. Has nothing to do with either network condemning "inclusiveness." They're just playing it safe.
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ed
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adam, musket: one of the stations, NBC, runs a show titled will & grace, which features 2 gay characters. it's been running for several years.

i think this smacks of cowardice, at least on NBC's part.

ed

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Haggis
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Great. Networks aren't afraid to show ads for Viagara and Cialis in the middle of the day (imagine the fun in explaining "erections lasting more than four hours" to a five year old) but they won't show a commercial merely hinting at a church accepting same sex couples. Interesting times.
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Zyne
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Add this to the mountain of evidence that "the media" is not, in fact, left of anything.
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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
After seeing the ad I can see WHY the networks were afraid. They use a red rope and bouncer to illustrate how other churches exclude certain people, and in their inclusive scene included what was presumably a lesbian couple. I, of course, think that the points are valid and have no problem with the ad.

Maybe we've gone to different churches but I've not seen any kind of church exclude certain groups of people from showing up and getting preached at.

As for Jesus and inclusiveness, he preached to anyone. That's inclusive.

His message was that all people are invited to repent and come to God. That's exclusive.

Jesus never said or implied he or God would accept people on their own terms and that they could continue in whatever life or lifestyle that they wanted...which seems to be the message the commercial is promoting.

repent
1 : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
2 a : to feel regret or contrition b : to change one's mind


From the beginning of his ministry:

Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

To the end of his ministry:

Luke 24: 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

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The Drake
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Why would you run an ad that could insult well over 50% of your viewers? This ad openly criticizes its "competitors" - other churches.

Now, they WERE in negotiations, so I might suggest that had the placers of the ad sweetened the pot enough, the network would have bit the bullet and taken the cash. It might easily have been a negotiating tactic to say that they wouldn't run the ad. And, the church trumped them by getting free controversy ads.

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LoverOfJoy
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I agree that it sounds more like they pulled it at the implied jab at other churches than the implied message of including gays.

I'm not sure that they'd have necessarily pulled an ad for the Gay Church of Christ...unless the ad said, "Unlike those evil homophobic churches out there... we'll accept you"

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musket
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Anybody who likes The Outlaw Josey Wales as much as I do will recall the scene where the ferryman tells the patent medicine salesman that in the ferryin' business, you'd best be prepared to sing both "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "Dixie" with equal enthusiasm.

To which the salesman replies, "Only good business to play it safe."

Since the media is basically just a patent medicine salesman too, I don't see what anyone finds the position of these networks surprising.

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Haggis
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quote:
Why would you run an ad that could insult well over 50% of your viewers? This ad openly criticizes its "competitors" - other churches.
Because the ads are not targeting the 50% of the market that would be offended. The ads are based on a perception that churches are exclusionary and I believe they are targeting the protestant "alumni association" who do not consider themselves evangelical and are looking for a church that may be more inclusionary.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
I can't recall seeing any ad for any church on the major networks. Back when I kid, I seem to recall seeing some LDS ads, and it must have been the networks, cause that's all there was.
Really? You must live in Atheistville USA! [Wink] j/k

In Colorado Springs I saw ads for churches all the time. I'm not sure how many of them were on the major networks, but I assume some of them were.

The LDS church typically puts out ads on "spending time with your family" as opposed to "come to our church". They also put out ads for free copies of the Bible or Book of Mormon but they seem to only play at like 1am.

When I first started my mission they put me in a call center answering calls so I know they at least sometimes put on ads during prime time.

I always thought it'd be funny to call one of those missionaries and immediately act "converted" because of their sweet spirit and ask how they could be baptized. Missionaries still in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) are funny because of their energy and excitement and ideas about how their mission might go.

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LoverOfJoy
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So if a pro-life christian adoption agency said something like, "We're glad you decided not to kill your baby. Let us help you find that baby a good home" you don't think the networks would pull it?

After all, it's not targeting the 50% that would be offended by that...it's only targeting the other half of the country.

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Now, they WERE in negotiations, so I might suggest that had the placers of the ad sweetened the pot enough, the network would have bit the bullet and taken the cash.
That's true. Although it might have also been about asking them to crop out the most controversial line or something like that.
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Haggis
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quote:
So if a pro-life christian adoption agency said something like, "We're glad you decided not to kill your baby. Let us help you find that baby a good home" you don't think the networks would pull it?

After all, it's not targeting the 50% that would be offended by that...it's only targeting the other half of the country.

The question was "Why would you run an an ad that would insult 50% of your viewers?" I don't know why you inferred that my answer had anything to do with if the network should pull it since I didn't address that part of the issue.
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LoverOfJoy
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ok, change pull it to run it. Do you think they'd run an ad that insulted 50% of the country as long as it didn't insult the part it was targeting?
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Gary
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quote:
Originally posted by Zyne:
Add this to the mountain of evidence that "the media" is not, in fact, left of anything.

Quite the contrary. If anything, the left is ant-religion (opiate of the masses, right?). We saw the left's anti-religion stance in the aftermath of the election as they impugned and ridiculed the religious and 'moral issues' voters.

Refusing to run advertisements that could generate a feeling of inclusiveness and increase religion in America is the very thing I would expect of the liberally biased media.

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the-womp
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Zyne - I agree - one more point against the idea of a "leftist" media.
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Wayward Son
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So, in other words Gary, the media is leftist if they run the ad, and leftist if they don't. [Smile]
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Haggis
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LoJ,

I think that it would depend on where they ran that ad. During the superbowl? No. On Will and Grace or on Queer Eye? Yes. The point I'm making is more one of marketing and placing the ad on a show with a more favorable demographic vis a vis the advertised product.

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Haggis
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I guess the position I'm coming from is a more laissez-fair view of commercial television. If a network chooses to broadcast a commercial that I find offensive, I generally don't buy the product. I'm not going to boycott the network. I don't think the networks advocate objectifying women in bikinis writhing around in the water to titillate male viewers just because they aired the Miller "Catfight" campaign. Just like I don't think the networks believe that some churches are exclusionary if they aired the ad in question. I think networks should run ads that don't break FCC guidelines, regardless of the message. I don't think networks should be judging what may be perceived as "offensive" and let the market forces work their magic. If there is a backlash against the UCC, then so be it.

I'm curious as to why the networks chose to blanketly censor this ad. There must be some time slot where this ad could reach its audience. If you are a night owl, there are some ads that run on subsidiary stations owned by major networks that are waaaaay more offensive than this one. Like the half-our "Girls Gone Wild" ads on Comedy Central (owned by ABC). Surely, if that ad has an appropriate audience, this one in question does as well. And why wouldn't the GGW ads invoke even a larger protest than this relatively tame ad? The logic just escapes me.

[ December 02, 2004, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: Haggis ]

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ATW
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I find it mildly amusing that this church thinks its competitors are other churches as opposed to the forces of sin and darkness.
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aupton15
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I think the church is exactly right, and probably on both counts ATW. You don't honestly think that no church has been infiltrated by sin and darkness do you? As much as Jesus would probably cringe, the factioning of churches has created a business environment. Each church is trying to "sell" their particular perspective on Christianity. The extent to which gays are encouraged to be members of a church is one issue where a church can clearly articulate it's position on an issue. This ad could lead to an increase in attendance across the country, and that would probably eventually lead to more money to pay for programs and expenses. It may not be the church that Jesus envisioned, but it is the church as it is today.
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Zyne
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I wonder if the networks refusal to air will ultimately result in more of the church's target audience being aware that the church exists. [Razz]
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ed
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ATW, competitors <> opponents.

ed

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Haggis
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ATW:

That's exactly why I wouldn't hire you to market this church.

I can see it now:

UCC: How can we market ourselves to get more members?

ATW: Come out against the forces of sin and darkness!

UCC: Aren't all other churches against the forces of sin and darkness as well?

ATW: Well, yes.

UCC: How does coming out against the forces of sin and darkness differentiate us from the other churches?

ATW: It doesn't.

UCC: Thank you for your time.

[Big Grin]

Edited to add "the forces of".

[ December 02, 2004, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: Haggis ]

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by aupton15:
You don't honestly think that no church has been infiltrated by sin and darkness do you?

LOL.

That's one of the central tenets of my faith: all those other "churches" are forces of sin and darkness.

That's not a very common POV at all. The source of my amusement was that they seemed to have that unusual point in common with my beliefs.


"This ad could lead to an increase in attendance across the country, and that would probably eventually lead to more money to pay for programs and expenses."

Sure. More attendance at churches which are forces for sin and darkness and more money for their programs to promote sin and darkness.


"It may not be the church that Jesus envisioned, but it is the church as it is today."


I don't think there's any "may" to it. Its not a church as Jesus envisioned them. And I think that he's the one who has final say on what is a church or not.


Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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Gary
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
So, in other words Gary, the media is leftist if they run the ad, and leftist if they don't. [Smile]

No, they expose a liberal bias by refusing to run the ad.

There was no good reason to refuse this ad. The one given, because it touches on the exclusionary acts of others, is absurd. Will networks refuse to run ads for NAACP or NOW? Cetainly not but the exact same logic could be used to refuse them - of course that would be racist or sexist wouldn't it where refusing a religious organization is merely a "business decision".

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aupton15
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ATW, I think part of the problem here is the capitalist environment that the churches are in. This kind of competition is routinely encouraged in every business in the country. Get more patronage than your competitors, or risk becoming obsolete. I think reaching an audience through advertisement is a good thing, and I'm actually glad to see churches moving forward in that respect (finally). But this seems to be a divisive message that does harm to the image of churches overall, while promoting one denomination. This is a great business strategy, but probably not the best way to demonstrate what loving and tolerant people you are.
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ATW
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And just who ever said we, as a church, should be tolerant of doctrinal error or make any effort to protect the reputation of corrupt "churches" who don't teach truth? Not anyone from the biblical days....

==============

I'm not finding any fault with this organization's strategy for presenting itself. Kudos to them for being willing to go on national TV with an unpopular portion of their doctrine without trying to sugar-coat it. And they are portraying that unpopular point as a strength? Marvelous. In my opinion any doctrine that God gave us IS a strength and should be treated as a strength rather than hidden or dismissed when it seems unpopular.

My problem with them is the doctrine their strategy is promoting is not from God and is 100% wrong.

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aupton15
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"My problem with them is the doctrine their strategy is promoting is not from God and is 100% wrong."

So if a church that you thought was "right" ran an ad that praised their own doctrine over that of a different church, you wouldn't have a problem with that? My problem with this isn't the message (whether they're right or wrong, I think they can advertise their beliefs to attract people who agree). My problem is that by comparing themselves to other churches, they are increasing the divide between denominations, and that isn't in the spirit of Jesus.

Slightly separately, I'm not sure these churches are condoning the behavior. It's not clear to me from the ad. They are inviting a group of people who have traditionally been ostracized by some churches. They may just be giving these people an opportunity to hear things in a less combative environment, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

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ATW
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"So if a church that you thought was "right" ran an ad that praised their own doctrine over that of a different church, you wouldn't have a problem with that?"


Correct


"My problem is that by comparing themselves to other churches, they are increasing the divide between denominations, and that isn't in the spirit of Jesus."


Don't read the Bible very often do you. Jesus berated religious leaders of the day on a regular basis.

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ed
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ATW quoth: "my problem with them is the doctrine their strategy is promoting is not from god and is 100% wrong."

i'm curious, ATW: what's the basis for your belief here? i don't want to rehash any old conversations but i'm genuinely unclear on your own stance on this matter.

ed

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LoverOfJoy
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I think the point is that Christ called people to change instead of just welcoming them as they are.
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aupton15
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"Don't read the Bible very often do you. Jesus berated religious leaders of the day on a regular basis."

Not really addressing the issue are you? Of course Jesus berated religious leaders. They were (and are) fallible and often corrupt. But in the church's striving to be like Jesus encouraged it to be, these acts of division don't seem to be in line at all. I think the method is as flawed as the message in this instance, and I don't think changing the message would be enough. I think an ad that ran "Our church teaches the Bible like it's written, not like those watered-down hippee churches." would be bad as well. The church should advertise based on it's own merits, not on the deficiencies of other competing organizations. This could escalate into an ad campaign of political proportions quickly, and I assure you that would not be good for the image of any church.

In the portion of my post that you quoted, I said that this divisiveness wasn't consistent with the teachings of Jesus. You responded that he was quite forceful in his disagreements with the established church of that day. What you don't address is the way the advertisement detracts from some churches in favor of another. It is this activity that I think contradicts Jesus' teachings. He would want HIS church to be united, or at least tolerant of the EXISTENCE of other factions. This direct bashing of another faction is not in the spirit of a united church, and I think that's inappropriate no matter what the message is.

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by aupton15:
He would want HIS church to be united, or at least tolerant of the EXISTENCE of other factions. This direct bashing of another faction is not in the spirit of a united church, and I think that's inappropriate no matter what the message is.

We have a diametrically opposite view of what we think Jesus would do and his opinion of factions which disagree with God and himself.
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aupton15
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I think that's accurate. I don't think Jesus would be particularly happy with any faction of the church today. Different disputes with different organizations, but disputes with all of them. But I distinctly remember Jesus eating with sinners (well I don't remember it happening, I wasn't there, but I remember reading it [Smile] ) I think without the bashing of other denominations, this is an invitation for outsiders to come in and hear the gospel. I'm not sure why you come down on the other side of this argument. I understand that you don't support churches who condone homosexuality, but I don't understand why you don't support this outreach to them? In my personal experience with this particular denomination, they have had a fairly conservative interpretation of the Bible, but that might be a local trend rather than a national one (most denominations are pretty conservative around here).
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Animist
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Gary, I just got this email in my in-box:

quote:
FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

http://www.fair.org/activism/church-ad.html

ACTION ALERT:
Networks Bar Ad Promoting Tolerance:
A church's acceptance of gays is deemed "too controversial"

December 3, 2004

Three broadcast networks have rejected an advertisement from the United
Church of Christ, deeming the ad's message of tolerance to be too
controversial.

Citing the Bush administration's proposal of a constitutional amendment
to
ban gay marriage, CBS and UPN have refused to run a UCC commercial that
advertises the church's acceptance of all people, including gays and
lesbians. NBC also deemed the ad "too controversial" to air (UCC.org,
11/30/04).

The ad depicts two bouncers in front of a church letting in two white
girls and a white heterosexual couple but turning away others,
including
people of color, a man in a wheelchair, and two men holding hands. A
message reads, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." As the
camera pans over a crowd of diverse UCC members, including a woman who
puts her arm around another woman, a voiceover states, "No matter who
you
are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

Because ABC has a policy against accepting any religious advertising,
UCC
did not attempt to place an ad on the network (San Francisco Chronicle,
12/2/04). Several networks accepted the ad, including ABC Family, Fox
and
TNT.

According to the UCC (UCC.org, 11/30/04), CBS explained the rejection
in a
letter to the group:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and
other
minority groups by other individuals and organizations, 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 on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

CBS spokesperson Dana McClintock elaborated on that explanation two
days
later (Newsday, 12/2/04): "If there is a public policy debate going on,
as
there is on the issue of gay marriage, we do not accept advocacy
advertisements."

CBS and NBC have certainly not been consistent in their rejection of
advocacy ads. As Media Matters for America noted (6/18/04), CBS ran an
ad
during the 2003 Super Bowl from the White House Drug Control Policy
Agency
that suggested that casual marijuana smokers support terrorism-- a
controversial proposition, to say the least. And NBC in 1993 sold two
half-hour blocs of time to Ross Perot to criticize President Bill
Clinton's economic policies (Media Matters, 12/1/04).

But a network asserting that it would reject an ad for expressing a
political viewpoint is problematic in itself. Viacom, which owns both
CBS
and UPN, has explained its policy in various ways after coming under
fire
for refusing independent political ads on its networks in the past.

In October, Viacom's MTV Networks blocked an ad from the progressive
group
Compare Decide Vote that compared the presidential candidates' policy
positions on issues important to young people. A Viacom spokesperson
argued that it didn't need to air such ads because "across all our
properties, we talk about these issues every day" (Media Daily News,
10/13/04).

When Viacom blocked an ad from the anti-war group Not In Our Name prior
to
the Iraq War, CBS executive vice president Martin Franks argued that
such
an advertising policy was necessary for a national network (New York
Times, 3/13/03): "How could you take an advocacy ad and have it reflect
the values of the entire nation?"

As FAIR has argued before, Viacom's position that its own coverage of
important political issues renders political ads unnecessary is
arrogant
and unfounded (FAIR Action Alert, 10/18/04). And to argue that ads
should
reflect the values of the entire nation holds them to an implausible
standard that the network's own programming would be hard-pressed to
meet-- as, for that matter, would its non-political advertising.

But in this case, it's hard to see how the UCC spot can even be
considered
an advocacy ad at all. CBS makes quite a leap to interpret the UCC ad
as
advocating for gay marriage or entering a public policy debate; the ad
never mentions or even implies that the gay couples featured are or
wish
to be married, or that the UCC condones gay marriage. That the Bush
administration's opposition to gay marriage should lead CBS to block an
ad
that simply notes a church's acceptance of gay people is astounding and
troubling.

While NBC's explanation of its rejection made no mention of the Bush
administration, it did seem rather concerned with the reaction of other
churches. "The problem is not that it depicted gays, but that it
suggested
clearly that there are churches that don't permit a variety of
individuals
to participate," said Alan Wurtzel, president of research for NBC
(Boston
Globe, 12/2/04).

It's true that the ad's metaphorical message is that some groups are
not
welcomed by some churches-- and that's a reality that has been made
clear
in countless news reports on various Christian sects that have barred
gays
and lesbians from being ordained, prohibited gay marriages and
proclaimed
their opposition to homosexuality.

By blocking an ad that acknowledges the existence of homophobia in some
churches, NBC gives extraordinary censorial power to those churches.
Both
NBC and CBS set a dangerous precedent by extending their advertising
policies to block ads that might, without advocating any political
position, contradict or offend the administration or its religious
allies.


ACTION: Please 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.

What do you make of this? Evidence that FAIR, a liberal organization, got it right (pun intended) for once? Or evidence that this decision on the part of NBC and CBS does not represent a left-liberal position (since the biggest liberal media critics are condemning it)?
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