The United Church of Christ was set to launch its first-ever nationwide advertising campaign on Dec. 1. Research conducted by the UCC found that many people across the country have felt alienated by churches; this new campaign was designed to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstances or sexual orientation, into the UCC.
The 30-second ad shows two bouncers outside a church, choosing which people may enter and turning down a male couple in the process. The voice-over states, “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” A female couple appears among the diverse group of people shown at the end of the ad.
A long list of TV outlets accepted the ad, including ABC Family, AMC, BET Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, Nick at Nite, TBS, TNT and TV Land. But, on Nov. 30 negotiations broke down between church representatives and network officials at CBS and NBC.
In a written statement CBS said: “Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations, 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.”
“The networks’ attitude would be comical if it were not so frightening,” said NOW President Kim Gandy. “Apparently the networks, which ran seemingly endless negative ads during the election season, are now prepared to redefine the word ‘controversy,’ and ban all mention of any subject which might offend the new morality police at the FCC.”
Call or e-mail CBS and NBC headquarters to let them know that you support the United Church of Christ’s message of fairness and equality and want the ad to air nationwide. CBS: 212-975-4321, NBC: 212-664-4444.