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U.S. networks reject church gay ad (CNN)

For once and for all this should discredit the assertions that  The 
Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ (UCC) are just following 
the popular culture!

In the 1960s African American comedian Dick Gregory dedicated his book 
N***** to his mother saying, "Mama, now when they yell this at you, you'll 
know they are just advertising my book."

What a great way to reach more people than the UCC's ads ever could. 
"Banned on CBS, ABC, and NBC" is better than "Banned in Boston"!

I hope The Episcopal Church's ad writers are paying attention.  It would 
cost the The Episcopal Church perhaps a billion dollars to get out the word 
of welcome which the huge reaction to +Gene Robinson has given us for free.

Perhaps we shouild encourage the Anglican Communion to keep yelling about 
it.  With their help millions more will begin to hear that, like the UCC, 
the Episcopal Church is a safe place for sinners.

Lutibelle/Louie, Queer, for Christ's sake!
Newark 94, 97, 00, 03; Executive Council 00-06

                              Drink from Samaritan Wells!


U.S. networks reject church gay ad

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 Posted: 11:01 PM EST (0401 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- An advertisement from a U.S. mainline Protestant
denomination calling for the inclusion of gay men and lesbians in church
life has been rejected by television networks CBS, ABC and NBC.

CBS and NBC said the spot violates their policies against running ads that
take positions on matters of public controversy.

A spokesperson at ABC told CNN that "we do not generally accept paid
advertising that espouses a particular religious doctrine."

The 30-second spot, sponsored by the 1.3-million member United Church of
Christ, features two muscle-bound bouncers standing outside a church,
determining who may enter to attend a service and who may not. Among those
kept out are two males who appear to be a couple.

Written text then appears saying, in part, "Jesus didn't turn people away.
Neither do we."

The Rev. John Thomas, the UCC's president and general manager, said the
rejection of the ad "really startled us."

"We thought we were doing an ad that was offering a graceful word of
welcome and hospitality to all people, and that hardly seems
controversial," Thomas told CNN's "Paula Zahn Now" Wednesday night.

"But they apparently looked at it through a very narrow lens and decided
we're advocating for a particular social and cultural agenda."

"We were clearly not advocating any agenda in these ads other than the
agenda of welcome and hospitality."

The Cleveland-based UCC, with 6,000 congregations, is one of America's
oldest religious groups, with historic roots stretching back to the Puritan
pilgrims of New England. It is also one of the few Christian denominations
that allows openly gay and lesbian people to serve as clergy.

The church quoted CBS as saying that the ad was rejected "because this
commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples ... 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."

A CBS spokesman confirmed that the ad had been rejected but would not
comment directly on the UCC's characterization of the reasons for its
action, saying only that the ad "was against our policy of accepting
advocacy advertising."

CBS did accept a second UCC ad for broadcast.

An NBC spokeswoman said the problem with the ad was not its depiction of
same-sex couples at church, but rather its implication that other religions
are not open to all people.

"It went against our long-standing policy of not accepting ads that deal
with issues of public controversy," the network's spokeswoman said.

But Thomas told Zahn that when the ads were tested in focus groups with
people who don't attend church, many participants responded by reciting
their own experiences of being made to feel unwelcome. He said the UCC
wanted to make the point that its attitude was different.

Thomas also said that he believes it is "dangerous territory" when public
broadcasters decide to reject a message from a religious group by using
their own definitions of what constitutes advocacy.

The church said the ad has been accepted on a number of other networks,
including ABC Family, BET Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, TBS and TNT. It can
also be viewed at www.stillspeaking.com.

TBS and TNT are owned by Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

-- CNN/Money contributed to this report

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