When churches advertise

This business about the United Church of Christ going after the licenses of stations that won’t broadcast their commercial is more evidence that the press can’t get anything right. Even the normally astute Jeff Jarvis misses the point. NBC and CBS have refused to run the commercial, because it’s, well, too controversial. I don’t blame them.

The commercial shows a series of gays and lesbians being rejected by bodyguards at the entrance to a church. It concludes with these lines:

Jesus didn’t turn people away
and neither do we.

The aftermath of the spot’s rejection is the stuff the press loves. The big, bad networks against the poor United Church of Christ and, more importantly, gays and lesbians who are merely searching for acceptance. Jarvis argues the First Amendment, and normally I’d side with him. I mean who could argue against tolerance and acceptance.

The problem is that tolerance and acceptance aren’t being sold here. It’s just the opposite. This is not only a political message, but it sticks its thumb in the eye of Christians who hold a different view. The idea of bodyguards is an affront to any other church, regardless of your bias. Implicit in this commercial is the notion that “neither do we” means “you do.”

“See? We’re the good guys (and those other bad churches aren’t).”

Where are the arguments that this type of advertising is a political smokescreen disguised as religion? No, the press just parrots the UCC and the controversy nets the church more publicity than any ad campaign. I don’t know the download numbers, but I’d wager they’re beyond what the church originally hoped to reach through advertising.

What if the tag line was this:

Paul wrote that homosexuals won’t enter the kingdom
and we follow his teachings.

Or

Jesus loved the sinners but hated the sin.
Homosexuality is a sin.

Or

The solution to your sin is inside,
but your own heart blocks the way.

Now let’s have everybody get on their soapbox and say these would be acceptable commercials for networks to run. Won’t happen. In fact, if a church tried to run such on the networks, the press would rise up against it. Here we have an excellent opportunity to explore the red state/blue state business, and it’s pissed away through shallowness, ignorance and bias.

Come on, folks. Let’s look at the WHOLE picture.

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