This post has been updated
When I preached this past Sunday on the United Church of Christ’s God Is Still Speaking campaign, I told the congregation that the new UCC commercial would prove to be controversial. That was clearly an understatement. You can read the sermon here.
As I said on Sunday, the spot is edgy and has an important theological message. Bouncers, like those seen at trendy nightclubs, are seen in the ad standing outside a church. As people try and enter for Sunday services the bouncers are deciding who gets into church and who doesn’t. The bouncers exclude anyone who doesn’t fit the definition of the “normal” Christian. Then the screen fades to the message "Jesus didn't turn anyone away and neither does the United Church of Christ." At the end of the commercial there is a group of diverse people standing together at the entrance of the church. It symbolizes the openness which our denomination strives for. The reason that CBS gives for refusing to air the ad is frightening.
"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."
In America today the corporate media gets to determine what we see on television based solely on whether or not it corresponds with the political views of George W. Bush.
Our commercial is religious and not political. The message is theological. Jesus welcomed everyone to the table and so does the United Church of Christ.
Will CBS and NBC now refuse to air television spots for denominations that exclude open gays and lesbians from ordained ministry, the communion table, or even worship services?
This is a frightening moment in the history of America’s fight for religious freedom. CBS and NBC have made a terrible mistake that threatens the ability of Americans to communicate religious views different that those of the Executive Branch of government.
Keep visiting this site for additional information on ways to communicate your views with CBS and NBC.
Update: CNN now has a story up on their web site about this. Read "Jesus accepting gays too hot for NBC, CBS".
Update: Click here to send a fax to CBS and NBC telling them to run the UCC spot.