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Networks reject ads by church

The ads by the United Church of Christ, showing people being ejected from church, won't air on network TV.

By WAVENEY ANN MOORE
Published March 27, 2006


[Courtesy of the United Church of Christ]
The United Church of Christ, which launched a controversial television commercial 2004 that showed a homosexual couple and others being turned away by bouncers at a church entrance, is doing it again. Tuesday it previewed another ad that will begin airing on April 3 titled the "Ejector.'' The ad shows the obvious discomfort of a traditional family to a crying baby held by a nervous single mother, a gay couple, a disabled man, a Middle Eastern man and a homeless woman. The ad's message is, "God doesn't reject people. Neither do we.''

FROM STILLSPEAKING.COM: Watch video ad

The United Church of Christ has done it again. The liberal denomination that launched a television commercial showing a gay couple and others being turned away by bouncers at a church door will begin airing another provocative spot April 3.

UCC officials said ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox refused to run the ad, citing its religious, advocacy or controversial nature.

The spot shows the discomfort of a traditional family when a poor woman sits nearby. The family also gives disapproving looks to a woman struggling with a crying baby. A finger is shown pushing a button that ejects the mother and child from their pew. A gay couple who sit close, a disabled man with a walker and a Middle Eastern man all suffer the same fate. A message reads, "God doesn't reject people. Neither do we."

Like the award-winning bouncers ad, the new one "speaks to people in our society who are not members of any church," said UCC general minister and president John H. Thomas.

The ad, which can be seen at stillspeaking.com, is part of a five-year campaign and will run for at least three weeks if the denomination can raise $1-million.

"We'd like to run it through Mother's Day, because we want the world to know that we celebrate mothers and families, but all kinds of mothers, and all kinds of families," said Ron Buford, director of the advertising campaign.

Several cable channels will air the ad, including ABC Family, BET, CNN, TNT, Hallmark, Univision, Telemundo and Telefutura.

An NBC representative said the commercial violates the network's longstanding policy against airing commercials that deal with issues of public controversy.

In a document provided by UCC, ABC said the ad is inconsistent with its guidelines "precluding approval of commercials with references to religious doctrine and/or religious themes." The network said, though, that the ad could run on its family cable channel.

In a letter to UCC, Fox Broadcasting said its policy "prohibits the sale of advertising time for the purpose of advancing the particular beliefs or practices of a religious organization."

CBS declined because of the ad's advocacy nature, Buford said.

The spot is not a criticism of other churches, Buford stressed.

"We're actually just making the case for a return to biblical hospitality, and it speaks not to other churches. It speaks to us and it is a call for all of us to be more hospitable."

Last year the 1.3-million-member denomination voted to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage.

[Last modified March 27, 2006, 22:29:55]


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