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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » CBS, NBC: Inclusiveness is too controversial when a church does it (Page 2)

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Author Topic: CBS, NBC: Inclusiveness is too controversial when a church does it
Animist
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....or maybe this will have positive repurcussions, because it seems to be bringing left- and right-leaning media critics (both of whom have valid and important points to make, in my opinion) together to see the larger problem with the "mainstream media."
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Animist
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...Alternet is certainly a leftwing website, and they had this to say about the incident:

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/20652/

quote:
It is a graceful commercial, which delivers an important message gently yet effectively – something that cannot be said of most television advertising these days. But viewers of the ABC, CBS and NBC television networks won't see it because, in this age of heightened focus on so-called "moral values," quoting Jesus on the issue of inclusion is deemed to be "too controversial."

What was controversial? Apparently, the networks don't like the ad's implication that the Nazarene's welcome to all people might actually include ALL people.

quote:
"It seems incredible to me that CBS admits it is refusing to air the commercial because of something the executive branch, the Bush administration, is doing," says Dave Moyer, conference minister for the Wisconsin Conference of the UCC. "Since when is it unacceptable to offer a different perspective?"

Moyer says that people of all religious faiths and all ideological perspectives should be concerned that the major networks – which dominate so much of the discourse in America – are seeking to narrow the dialogue.

quote:
It is also bizarrely hypocritical. After all, the same NBC network that found the UCC ad "too controversial" airs programs such as "Will & Grace" that feature gay and lesbian characters. "We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies and titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church's loving welcome to committed gay couples, that's where they draw the line," explained the Rev. Bob Chase, director of the national UCC's communication ministry.
Leftist media bias indeed!
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Gary
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FAIR's last paragraph exposes the strategy:
quote:
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.
The networks are scared of offending the administration and it's "religious allies", yeah right. This entire thing is nothing more than a way to undermine Bush and generate fear in all the American people generally and religious people specifically.

The media tries to create the impression that censorship is happening and limiting even religious speech. This tactic targets the Bush administration and the religious right in an effort to drive a wedge between the two. The liberal media can now, they hope, pull the religious supporters away from Bush by professing this bogus fear. Four years of such a strategy could potentially swing votes from Repulican to Democrat candidates.

Does anyone believe they are really fearful? Was CBS feargful of the adminsitration when they created fraudulent documents to destroy Bush? Do you think the CBS heads were concerned about offending the administration over that attack? Hardly, so why are they (supposedly) so scared now? The longer this drags out, the more they will expose their bias. As animist points out, even the liberals on alternet are calling this one for what it is.

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ed
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gary, your argument depends on the UCC knowing that CBS & NBC would refuse to run it. honestly, that sounds a bit conspiracy theory-ish to me.

ed

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Gary
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It doesn't really depend on the UCC knowing it would be refused - they could be genuinely suprised. The UCC may have just been trying to run an ad and stepped into something.

I realize it may sound conspiracy theory-ish but then so does forged TANG documents.

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Weezah
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quote:
What was controversial? Apparently, the networks don't like the ad's implication that the Nazarene's welcome to all people might actually include ALL people.
I don't understand this inference. Does anyone actually believe that there is a church out there that would deny minorities, people in wheel chairs, or gays from come and hearing the word of the Lord? They may not let gays be ministers or be baptized because that requires following Jesus' commandments. The same would apply to unrepentent adulterers or murderers. How come they are not represented in the commercial?

I saw this commercial air on TNT before I heard of any sort of controversy and I was just appalled. I was mistified that they could believe in the same bible I do and accept homosexuals, but I was quite annoyed that they would feel that rather than bringing people to Christ they would increase their market share by cheap business practices.

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Haggis
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How do you bring people to Christ without getting them in the door?
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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by aupton15:
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?

This isn't an outreach to get them to convert. The "church's" message is "come join us, we don't see anything wrong with what you're doing". http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/

Everyone has to convert in order to come to God. If there wasn't something in people's lives that they needed to give up or do differently, they'd be perfect: needing no salvation from anything and not needing anything from God.

These religious organizations trying to attract a crowd by telling people their sins aren't really sins anymore and trying to never do anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable are doing a grave disservice spiritually to the people they reach.


Matthew 23:15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

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Haggis
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Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them."

You for this too, ATW?

[ December 04, 2004, 05:04 AM: Message edited by: Haggis ]

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Naldiin
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quote:
Originally posted by Haggis:
Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them."

You for this too, ATW?

Haggis, that's teh wrong verse, really. The laws of leviticus don't apply to Christians, unless something in the New Testament brings them forward. Even then, while they remain sins, the idea of punishing them with death does not remain. Leviticus is the old law that Christ freed us from. It was kept in the Bible so readers who were not familiar with Jewish law could see what 'the law' was refering to.

The verses more often used are First Corinthians 6:9-11
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders no thieves nor the greedy nor the drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
(NIV)

To be a Christian means renouncing all those things. And yes, before you ask, female prostitution is also blasted in the New Testament, but Paul is specifically refering to things common in Corith, to which he was writing.

Homosexuality is treated like kleptomania in the bible...a predisposition towards sinful behavior that must be overcome, or at the very least, stiven against by the believer. Everyone has their own challanges, being a homosexual (in terms of prefering the same sex in a romantic relationship) isn't a sin, isn't even close to a sin. But engaging in homosexual acts is. Thus the burden is on the homosexually inclined person, and their friends, family, and bothers and sisters in Christ, to steer clear (or help steer clear for the latter mentioned) of that sin, just as one might be tempted by material things, or members of the opposite sex to whom you are not married.

As for the Church's response to members of the Church who are unrepentantly homosexually active, or for that matter, any unrepentant sinner? First Corinthians 5:12-13
"What Business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
(NIV)

So, yeah, the message in this ad does run directly counter to Biblical teaching, as does the actions of the Episciple(spelling?) Church in ordaining a homosexually active Bishop. It's unfortunate that some Churchs feel the pressure from 'the world' to turn away from issues that the Bible is incredibly clear on, and bend to that pressure. Romans 12:2
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, ut be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will" (NIV)
First John 2:15-17
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-thecravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (NIV)

Those verses are also something to consider the next time you hear someone claim the Church is hidebound and unbending. The Church is supposed to be hidebound and unbending. Because the idea is that the world changes. God transcends time.
Exodus 3:14
"God said to Moses, "I am who I am...."
The translation is important. Neither of those to-be verbs has a tense. It could be "I was who I will be" or I am what I will be" or "I will be what I am" and so on. A profoundly poetical way to imply that God transcends time. The idea appears more directly in the beginning of John.

I've gotten off on a tangent at this point, but I think I made my point. I sincerely doubt it was for these doctrinal reasons NBC and ABC refused to air the comercial. My guess is that NBC and CBS simply do not want to be associated with a Church....given their political and social leanings it would be a blow to them to be associated to a Church.

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Pete at Home
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I have not even heard of any local church that does not let people in based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or beliefs. Is this as common as the ad suggests? Many mosques, and some synagogues, & churches separate men and women into different rows, and I don't think that's appalling. That's part of the ceremony. And there are some religions that have special ceremonies where specific people are limited, just like there were parts of the Temple in Jerusalem where only male lineal decendants of Aarom could step into. But excluding people from the basic worship services?

I think the biggest probem that some folks would have with the ad, is the insinuation that other churches don't let gays in. Refusing to recognize same-sex commitment ceremonies is not the same thing as physically excluding people because of their sexual orientation. I can understand why some folks would feel excluded by a church that values marriage but does not value sexual same-gender commitments. I feel just as excluded when people exclude me because of my beliefs or positions -- for example, I helped found the ACLU club at my law school, but was told that no one that is an out of the closet Bush supporter can apply for any leadership position in an ACLU club. (I wasn't planning to, but I did feel excluded nonetheless). But I nonetheless support the ACLU's right to exclude me, and I'm not going to present them falsely with bouncers kicking me out of their meeting. I felt welcome there, and look forward to working with them since they seem to be the only legal group in Las Vegas that gives a damn about the rights of the Homeless.

Some might feel that the ad seeks to exclude other churches from the ideals of a liberal democracy. "New Rule: if you don't support same-sex marriage, then you are not one of us." A person who believed that marriage was ordained of God between a man and a woman, might easily feel excluded in the "United Church of Christ," in the light of such gruesome charicatures of her beliefs.

But while that's how many would perceive the commercial, I don't think that was the intent of those that wrote it. They seem (http://www.stillspeaking.com/about/faq.html ) to be honestly trying to get "unchurched" people into church. I think that's a worthwhile goal, even they end up turning people like me away at the door. I already have a church.

While I think that NBC and CBS probably made a sound business decision by avoiding controversy, I think that it is a sad day for our country when any religion or political group has its message systematically excluded from the national discourse by some back-room decision. What's even sadder, is that we focus our contempt on them, while ABC, which exludes ALL religions advertising (same link above), gets away without any controversy.

Here's why I think that refusing to air the commercial was a sound business decision (albeit a bad moral decision): Although no informed person tunes in to NBC or CBS to see social conservative values, we must remember that ABC refuses to air religious ads at all, so other religions would be pounding at the door[s of NBC and CBS] to air their replies to this ad, and there would be a national stink regardless of whether NBC or CBS said yes or no.

If they air the conservative churches response ads after airing the UCC ads, then you get a election-style war of images and words between religions over the stations. Viewers complain.

If they refuse air the conservative churches response ads after airing the UCC ads, then Fox News airs the offending exerpts from the first commercial, and also air the parts that CBS and NBC "banned".

It's a losing proposition for NBC and CBS. Therefore, the decision to refuse the UCC commercial, although immoral, made good business sense. Regardless, the moral price for the decision -- suppression of opinion merely because it is controversial -- is IMO, unjustifiable. [But the CBS/NBC position is still far more moral than the ABC decision. To the UCC's credit, link that I cited above acknowledges that the CBS/NBC position is still far more moral than the ABC decision.]

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ed
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naldiin, that was a good post. however, it seems your position is one of biblical fundamentalism. is that an accurate assessment? b/c frankly, i think that there's a very good reason why so many churches are so virulently vocal WRT homosexuals, but strangely silent WRT obesity, or the five other deadly sins.

ed

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aupton15
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Interesting point ed. Obesity is certainly more prominent in our society...I think the reason they aren't vocal about it is that there is no organized group to be vocal to. There is a movement to make homosexuality acceptable, but obesity has been pretty well accepted already.

The more cynical part of me would also suggest that preaching against obesity would require preaching more directly at members of your congregation, whereas preaching against homosexuality attacks an outside group. I think the best ministers are addressing issues that relate directly to a congregation, but it is hard to do that and have them still like you. This is relatively important when they pay you. In my most recent congregation there was a significant number of obese people, and I never heard a word about it. But I heard multiple sermons about homosexuality that probably never reached a target audience.

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aupton15
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ATW, I see your perspective, and I understand it. But I think Pete has it right here. It appears as though they are trying to reach the unchurched, and that's a worthwhile goal for them. It may mean that it's not the church for you, but you probably have one already too. I'm not sure what they teach about homosexuality, but it must be better for them to hear something from God rather than nothing.
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ed
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aupton quoth:

"the more cynical part of me would also suggest that preaching against obesity would require preaching more directly at members of your congregation, whereas preaching against homosexuality attacks an outside group."

you do realize that you're agreeing with the basic sentiment of the UCC's ad, that homosexuals are not welcome in most churches? :> and see, here's what really bothers me: obesity in the US is at epidemic proportions. i believe that i read last week fully 1/3 of americans are overweight. compare this even to the controversial 10% estimate (of general population that is gay) and it seems clear where christians really ought to focus their efforts, IMHO, nevermind the fiscal burden imposed on our healthcare infrastructure arising from complications due to obesity. :>

while i'm reluctant to put words in ATW's mouth, i'd hazard a guess that his concern revolves around the materials used to pave the road to hell, esp given his comments earlier in the thread re: other denominations being just plain wrong. :>

ed

[ December 06, 2004, 11:20 AM: Message edited by: ed ]

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aupton15
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ed, what I'm agreeing with whole heartedly is the near total (only "near" because I can't be certain) lack of homosexuals in the church I grew up in, and the number of times I heard it as a subject in a sermon. I'm being rather unscientific in assuming that this is the case in most evangelical churches, but I feel pretty good about this assumption. I know that the 1/3 overweight is probably not high enough for my congregation, and I never heard that addressed. In fact, some of our meals rather encouraged over-eating. See, the percentage of homosexuals in the general population doesn't matter. If you used that number it wouldn't be surprising to hear about homosexuality once a month or so. The population of my particular church is practically zero percent homosexual (like I said, I can't be positive it's zero) and is probably near 50% overweight. But obesity doesn't carry the "moral" label, so churches don't talk about it.
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ed
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yes, but if gluttony is one of the seven deadly, one would expect it to indeed have the moral label, no? yet i've heard preachers denounce pride, avarice/greed, envy, wrath/anger and lust from the pulpit. peculiarly, i don't recall hearing anything about sloth or gluttony.

i think that says something.

ed

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Serotonin'sGone
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Last I checked, Dante wasn't considered the end all be all of salvation. As for sloth--I've often heard that railed against. Laziness is often condemned in the new testament, so sermon material is easy to find (and often given).

I've also heard sermons against gluttony, but I must admit they are infrequent.

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Haggis
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quote:
Naldiin:
My guess is that NBC and CBS simply do not want to be associated with a Church....given their political and social leanings it would be a blow to them to be associated to a Church.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26458-2004Dec1.html

quote:
Both networks noted that they had approved a second commercial emphasizing the UCC's diversity. It shows a little girl playing the hand game of "Here's the church, here's the steeple; open the doors and see all the people."

"If the church wants to say they are inclusive and open, that's a very positive statement that we are very happy to have on the air," said Alan Wurtzel, NBC's head of broadcast standards. "These folks are giving the impression that NBC is anti-church, anti-religion, anti-gay. It has nothing to do with that."

The problem with the bouncer ad, Wurtzel said, is that it "throws down the gauntlet at a variety of unnamed other churches" that allegedly do not accept gays or minorities. "It violates a long-standing NBC policy, which is that we do not accept commercial advertising that deals with issues of public controversy," he said.

In this light, I would have to agree with Pete that it was a business decision based on the potential controversy, rather than an ABC style censoring of any religious ads.
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JLMyers
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quote:
Everyone has their own challanges, being a homosexual (in terms of prefering the same sex in a romantic relationship) isn't a sin, isn't even close to a sin. But engaging in homosexual acts is. Thus the burden is on the homosexually inclined person, and their friends, family, and bothers and sisters in Christ, to steer clear (or help steer clear for the latter mentioned) of that sin, just as one might be tempted by material things, or members of the opposite sex to whom you are not married.

That's a heck of a lot of difference! Give up sex altogether, as opposed to only having sex with one person (husband/wife). And materail things? What the heck can be comparable to sex? Nothing!

Yes, don't conform to the new world, unless of course you are taking a cruise.

KE

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JLMyers
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Pete,

quote:
Refusing to recognize same-sex commitment ceremonies is not the same thing as physically excluding people because of their sexual orientation.
Perhaps it was a visual metaphor?

quote:
but was told that no one that is an out of the closet Bush supporter can apply for any leadership position in an ACLU club.
Bull****!? Outrageous!!!

quote:

"New Rule: if you don't support same-sex marriage, then you are not one of us." A person who believed that marriage was ordained of God between a man and a woman, might easily feel excluded in the "United Church of Christ," in the light of such gruesome charicatures of her beliefs.

Did they actually make that rule, or are you just being sensationalistic? Might easily feel exluded? Gruesome charicature? You are a sublte one, Pete my friend.

quote:
I think that's a worthwhile goal
Well said. I if I were going to go to a church, I would feel much more comfortable at this one.

quote:
ABC refuses to air religious ads at all,
Do you know why they refuse? I sincerely would like to know. Thanks.

KE

[ December 06, 2004, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: JLMyers ]

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The Drake
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ABC took this ad to air on their ABC-Family channel. Go figure.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Refusing to recognize same-sex commitment ceremonies is not the same thing as physically excluding people because of their sexual orientation.

Perhaps it was a visual metaphor?

Oh, obviously. But it's a profoundly misleading metaphor.


quote:
but was told that no one that is an out of the closet Bush supporter can apply for any leadership position in an ACLU club. ----------

Bull****!? Outrageous!!!

On the contrary -- they have a right to set their agenda and mythology, the same as any religion. I was surprised when they said that, but they were very welcoming for members of different views, just didn't want them in the leadership, representing the ACLU. If someone depicted them with a muscle-bound bouncer strong-arming Bush-supporters out of the meeting, I would say this metaphor was deceptive.

quote:
"New Rule: if you don't support same-sex marriage, then you are not one of us." A person who believed that marriage was ordained of God between a man and a woman, might easily feel excluded in the "United Church of Christ," in the light of such gruesome charicatures of her beliefs.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Did they actually make that rule, or are you just being sensationalistic? Might easily feel exluded? Gruesome charicature? You are a sublte one, Pete my friend.

KE, when I first saw that ad, I sincerely felt that it was a gruesome charicature of my beliefs. Only after reading their site, did I realize that this might not have been what they intended, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

I only found out about ABC in that link I provided above. Given the latest info from The Drake, I could make a guess. You want my speculation?

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Haggis
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Yes, please.
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JLMyers
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Always. [Wink]

KE

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Pete at Home
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ABC never found a religion that they wanted to promote before.
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Haggis
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Well, that is a possibility. I think it would be interesting to find out at what level this decision was made. I'm wondering if this comes from an institutional policy that is made at the highest corporate level or if it were made by an individual to differentiate ABC from NBC or CBS. This does put ABC (or at least ABC-Family) in a position to accept "rebuttal" type ads as Pete suggested above. Whether or not they accept rebuttal ads may be indicative of the correctness of Pete's speculation.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by ATW:
quote:
Originally posted by aupton15:
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?

This isn't an outreach to get them to convert. The "church's" message is "come join us, we don't see anything wrong with what you're doing". http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/

Everyone has to convert in order to come to God. If there wasn't something in people's lives that they needed to give up or do differently, they'd be perfect: needing no salvation from anything and not needing anything from God.

These religious organizations trying to attract a crowd by telling people their sins aren't really sins anymore and trying to never do anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable are doing a grave disservice spiritually to the people they reach.

Ah. I hadn't seen that link in my read-through. The stuff I read earlier, had a different tone. I have to say that I am not impressed in how they artfully dodge the issue of the Christian distinction between sin and sinner -- behavior, and identity.

Still, I'd like to see people recognize that the pop culture beliefs about homosexuality-as-identity are in fact, a matter of faith and belief, rather than the results of any meaningful objective study. Turning pop culture into a religion, means that we can have an equal dialog between religions, rather than having them talking down to us as "you stupid religious people."

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Pete at Home
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Drake -- did ABC air the first version, or the second one?
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ed
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serotonin's gone quoth: "last i checked, dante wasn't considered the end all be all of salvation. as for sloth--i've often heard that railed against. laziness is often condemned in the new testament, so sermon material is easy to find (and often given)."

sure, and the expression "fire & brimstone" is, of course, solely bibically-derived? :> alighieri's work is often treated w/ similar status, i daresay.

pete quoth: "i'd like to see people recognize that the pop culture beliefs about homosexuality-as-identity are in fact, a matter of faith and belief, rather than the results of any meaningful objective study."

your basis for that statement would be...? i think it's pretty clear that the gay subculture is indeed its own separate thing from the mainstream, as is the case w/ many other minority groups. that people will define themselves in that context is ultimately not terribly surprising, but implicit in your statement is the notion that this is inaccurate. ?

ed

p.s. fixed typo

[ December 07, 2004, 01:36 PM: Message edited by: ed ]

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The Drake
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Pete: The UCC site doesn't mention multiple versions, and a quick search for "version" in this thread didn't help me find what you were talking about.

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

"The ad has been accepted and will air on a mix of broadcast and cable networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land."

It's quite an eclectic group of channels. I'd love to see a demographic breakdown for the slots they chose. I wonder if they're placing their ads on "Touched by an Angel" etc. There are a lot of re-run channels in the list, and there's not a lot of current religious-oriented programming.

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Pete at Home
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I mean are they using the version described at the top of this thread, or the one described later in the thread.
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Haggis
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Apparently it's the first version (not the one that NBC and CBS would accept). Here's the link I found.

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?ID=19648

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Pete at Home
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Now we will see if the networks will allow Christians to respond with their own ads.
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