Now they’re bleeping Jesus

Now they’re bleeping Jesus

: My sister, the Rev. Jarvis, sent me this outrageous news: CBS and NBC have refused to air a commercial from the United Church of Christ because it’s “too controversial.”

Go here to watch the ad; it merely says that “Jesus did not turn people away. Neither do we.” It is about welcoming all people to worship God.

That is controversial?

Well, the commercial says it’s OK for gays and lesbians and people of color to worship.

If you think that is controversial, then — logically — that means that you don’t think that gays and lesbians and people of color are God’s children. That means, CBS and NBC, that you’re a bunch of homophobic bigots.

I’d call that indecent. But, of course, the FCC wouldn’t.

The UCC announcement says:

The ad, part of the denomination’s new, broad identity campaign set to begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that — like Jesus — the United Church of Christ seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples — among other minority constituencies — and is, therefore, too “controversial.”

“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.”

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot “too controversial.”

“It’s ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,” says the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president. “What’s going on here?”

Negotiations between network officials and the church’s representatives broke down today (Nov. 30), on the day before the ad campaign was set to begin airing nationwide on a combination of broadcast and cable networks. The ad has been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land, among others.

Is this America?

  • I can’t believe it myself.
    Of course, they have the right to choose what they air; but that doesn’t make it the correct decision.
    And they’re not just homophobic, they are scared of organized religion as well……

  • Yes, they have a right.
    But by their decisions, we judge them.
    And you’re also right that we should judge them cowards.

  • Angelos

    They’ll still air Will & Grace, right?

  • I don’t reject your Christ.
    I love your Christ.
    It’s just that so many of you Christians
    are so unlike your Christ.

    — Mahatma Ghandi

  • Mike

    so what exactly does the FCC have to do with this? Naturally, CBS and NBC should be embarrassed by this. Nice try by CBS to put the blame on Bush though.

  • It sounded like a stupid move by NBC and CBS until I actually saw the ad. Did the UCC have to make the two bouncers look like neo-Nazis? I still think NBC and CBS made a bad decision, but I’d be a little nervous about airing a commercial that implied mainstream evangelical Christianity is comparable to the neo-Nazi movement. That’s basically what this commercial does.

  • Mike:
    I just couldn’t resist a straight line re the FCC. I’m human. I’m fallible. Father, forgive me….. ;-)

  • Mike:
    I just couldn’t resist a straight line re the FCC. I’m human. I’m fallible. Father, forgive me….. ;-)

  • Angelos

    The more I think about this, the more it pisses me off.
    NBC will certainly air Will & Grace this Thursday, and every network had at least one makeover/design show with a lisping, frosty-haired queen, but A COMMERCIAL FOR A CHURCH THAT WELCOMES GAYS IS CONTROVERSIAL!!!?!?!?!?!

  • Greg, most bouncers look like that. Stop by a big city club and you’ll find they’re big guys with shaved heads — the type you’d never want to mess with.

  • After seeing the commercial in question, I understand why it got axed- it’s picking a fight. The commercial goes much farther than some benign invitation to church. It painly implies that other churches exclude gay people and people of color. So it tries to lump churches who don’t condone homosexuality with 1960’s Birmingham. The churches who don’t condone homosexuality do it out of what they believe to be biblical principle- not biggotry. If the UCC wanted the commercial aired, they simply shouldn’t have made it look like they have the corner on love and acceptance. Of course, they may not have even expected the commercial to air, but instead banked on internet buzz like this.

  • Just in case anyone is unclear on what the stakes are in this global war of barbarism versus civilization – eradicating terror abroad is important, but the fanatics within are far more dangerous to our long-term survival as a free nation than al-Qaeda or any Islamic radicals.
    Of course the terrorists can hurt us, but they can hardly destroy us, whereas that’s exactly what the hatemongers who live in our country can do, by twisting America into a nation of fear of the unknown, hatred of the other, and intolerance of dissent.

  • Hipocrite

    So ironic, that someone writing:
    “twisting America into a nation of fear of the unknown, hatred of the other, and intolerance of dissent.”
    on a blog that prominently links to Little Green Footballs.
    You made your bed, “reasonable centrists who can’t support anyone,” now lie in it.

  • Michael

    One thing to be clear about is that “Will & Grace” is not a show about gays. Its a show about what mainstream America thinks gays are like. Its the same old sit-com with the same old plots, but it involves a cast which includes stereotypical gays. Its easy for America to laugh at gays, and watch them “perform” gayness (Queer Eye!!!), but to address actual issues for the gay community, well, that’s only a space that HBO seems willing to tread upon.

  • Well, this is a fine pass — intra-denominational trash-talk. Yay, teevee!

  • billg

    Just heard NPR report this in the top of the hour news. Ironically, I was listening to WUNC in Chapel Hill, N.C., an otherwise admirable radio station that last month refused to allow a donor — a local reproductive rights organization — describe itself on air as, ummm, a reproductive rights organization.
    None of this would have happened before the election.

  • billg

    Ed: Some churches do, in fact, exclude gays and people of color. Not so long ago, a lot of churches were led by pastors who preached that integration was against the will of God. And, 150 years ago, the country was full of churchgoers who believed slavery was God’s will. So, viewed from here, the resort to the Bible is a simple ruse to rationalize fear and bigotry.
    The thing to remember is that “churchgoer” and “Christian” are not synonymous.

  • kat

    billg–quit the bs–Christianity did not invent slavery, it was however, instrumentsl in ending it in many parts of the world. Atheism, on the other hand, created Communism, the biggest slave driver and killer of the last century.

  • kkl

    Jeff,
    I think you are just plain looking for a fight.
    I am an Episcopalian who lives in the South. Most folks here are Southern Baptists. They flatly reject gay marriage and cite numerous Bible references for their rejection (and I’m not interested in debating that). UCC can interpret the Bible any way they want (and heaven knows, the Episcopalians do as well), but it isn’t going to change the mind of a Southern Baptist.
    These stations made a business decision. They don’t want to take on the Southern Baptists since the UCC stance doesn’t have any basis in the scriptures. It is the old literal word of God vs the living word of God argument. I’d run,too.
    Perhaps the UCC can pray that these unenlightened business decision-managers can receive, through the grace of God, the wisdom that God has provided to this particular denomination.
    I’m praying that you lighten up. This used to be a pretty interesting place to visit.

  • tb

    I distinctly heard Jerry Falwell say on Meet the Press the other day that christian Gay republicans should be Democrat. I don’t have time to connect all the dots but those gay dots are sure piling up all over.

  • This ad was not as harmless as you make it out to be, Mr. Jarvis.
    It was designed, as stated earlier by another poster, to equate the civil rights struggle of blacks with the struggle for gay marriage.
    While one can debate the gay marriage issue, to run something on your network claiming the vast majority of Christians are no better than Klansman, well, that would be a foolish business decision.

  • pele

    “..to run something on your network claiming the vast majority of Christians are no better than Klansman, well, that would be a foolish business decision.”
    Hmmmm, i don’t think it is the vast majority of Christians who are in the spotlight here. Just the bigoted Christian rednecks who are running the show.

  • billg

    Kat: What bs?
    I did not say that Christians invented slavery.
    I made a deliberate distinction between churchgoers and Christians. Some of the former are Christian, and some of the latter are churchgoers. One doesn’t need to be a churchgoer (or evangelical, or “born again”) to be Christian. Likewise, church attendance does not guarantee Christian behavior.
    I said that many churchgoers in this country professed the belief that slavery was an acceptable Christian practice. I said many churchgoers in this country professed the belief that segregation was an acceptable Christian practice. I say that many churchgoers in this country profess the belief that hostile discrimination against gays is acceptable Christian practice.
    I don’t claim the omniscience to know when someone is a legitimate Chrisitian or just posing as one, but I do say that those were, and are, the professions of people I consider enemies of freedom and democracy.
    Yes, some churchs and some churchgoers were prominent in the anti-slavery effort. Their actions are more in accord with my concept of Christian behavior.
    You’re assertion aobut atheism and communism are irrelevant. The evils committed by some of our own cannot be excused by reference to the evils of others.

  • Kat

    In other words, if you don’t buy into the gay agenda, you are a bigot and non-Christian? Are you telling me I must accept NAMBLA, run by gays, in order to be truly Christan? Who are the real bigots here. I won’t be dictated to by cultural fascists.

  • billg

    Kat: Did I say anything about an alleged “gay agenda”? Did I say everything done or supported by people who happen to be gay is right and good?
    No.
    If you engage in bigotry, you are a bigot, even if you try to leverage religion to justify your beliefs and behavior.
    Perhaps you misunderstand what I’ve written. More likely, however, is that you are intentionally misrepresenting my words.
    And, finally, why are you so concerned about “cultural facists”? I would think you would be happy these days, since they won the last election.

  • Richard Cook

    Ahhh we get to the real point for billg. Its the Republicans. No matter the Democrats practice the soft persecution of Christians by not allowing them a voice within their party. Your tin foil hat is a little too tight billg. Time to adjust.

  • billg

    What tinfoil hat, Mr. Cook? The Republican Party, since Nixon’s Southern Strategy, has deliberately courted the votes of Americans who could not stomach the end of segregation. The Lester Maddoxes of past decades have morphed into the Jerry Falwell’s of today. Any organization — church or political party — that intentionally comforts and seeks the support of bigots merits the strongest oppostion and condemnation.
    The majority of people in this country who identify themselves as Christian are neither evangelical mor “born again”. There’s plenty of room for those people in the Democratic Party. There’s plenty of room for evangelicals and the “born again”. There’s no room in the Democratic Party for bigots propped up by deliberate distortions of their alleged faith. There’s no room in the Democratic Party for people who want to use the powers of government to mandate behavior that accords with their own narrow and bigoted sense of morality. There’s no room in the Democratic Party for people who perpetuate the myth that the U.S. was premised on the religious beliefs they profess to hold and that everyone else is here at their pleasure only so long as they play by these so-called Christian rules.
    It is to the everlasting shame of the Republican Party that it has allowed precisely those bigots to hijack its institutions and those of our government. When fools wave the Bible and threaten to imprison people who do not do what they’re told, when they peddle hate wrapped in a preacher’s robe, then they are the fascists.

  • Kat

    I wonder if you leftists are beginning to feel like we feel when that Communist body, the ACLU, ‘intent on eradicating every vestige of Christian words, imagery or symbolism from the public square’, has waged its battle on we
    ‘nutcases’ because we dared believe in a way they saw unfit. You guys should not be too upset with the FCC, when you have been quite content to allow a subversive Communist entity strip me of all my rights. Now you want to talk dirty on the public airwaves and the FCC has put a little roadblock up. All I want is the right to publicly celebrate Christmas. If I can’t have that, why should you have your free porn? I’m all for free speech–but if you can swear, I want to be able to say Merry Christmas in public. I don’t want atheistic ideology, called separation of church and state, shoved down my throat. When fools wave the Leftist rulebook and threaten to imprison people who do not do what they’re told, when they peddle hate wrapped in a judge’s robe, “suing to have the 10 Commandments removed from Judge Roy Moore’s courthouse to intimidating the Defense Department into ending its sponsorship of Boy Scout troops, from threatening an abstinence website because it mentions God to suing to outlaw Christmas displays in public places”, then they are the fascists….cultural fascists.

  • billg

    Talk about tinfoil, Kat. You must be mining the stuff.
    I’m glad you’re all for free speech, but that “atheistic ideology” called separation of church and state is in the Constitution: Congress shall make no law…”
    Unless, of course, you think the Founders were just joking about that. There’s increasing evidence that a lot of American fundamentalists want to suborn the Constitution in the name of what they believe.

  • pele

    I love this site for the insights it gives me into american life. Great stuff Kat. You’re a very funny lady.

  • Kat

    Yes, I agree.Tthere is increasing evidence that a lot of American fundamentalists want to suborn the Constitution in the name of what they believe.
    Leftist judges, lawyers ,activists and the ACLU twist and pervert the meaning of the First Amendment to ban any mention of religion in the public forum.

  • billg

    Kat, you seem to describe everyone who doesn’t agree with you as “leftist”.
    No one, no judge, is stopping you from speaking or practicing your faith. But, if you want to use something that the federal taxpayers paid for — like a courthouse or a public school classroom — as a platform to evangelicize — then you’ve run afoul of the Constitution. If you’d rather emasculate the Constitution so people you think are good Christians can use public money to preach, then you are my enemy.
    But, then, you probably think Bush’s faith-based propaganda programs are just peachy.
    No one is trying to separate you from your religion. We’re just trying to stop you from forcing it on people who don’t want it. Let people practice their own faith in their own way. Don’t suck up to phony Christian politicians whose knowledge of this country’s heritage is based on lies and myth.

  • Kat

    No one is trying to separate you from your porn and Stern. We’re just trying to stop you from forcing it on people who don’t want it. Let people watch and listen to porn and 4 letter words in their own way. Don’t suck up to phony politicians whose knowledge of this country’s heritage is based on lies and myth.

  • billg

    When in doubt, misrepresent someone else’s words, eh, Kat? Works for six-year-olds, so it ought to work for you?
    I didn’t say anything at all about porn and Stern. But, since you brought it up, I don’t listen to Stern, don’t think he is funny or insightful, and don’t agree with Jarvis’ stance on Stern. I don’t agree with the FCC’s stance, either. As for porn, the only thing worse than porn are lazy parents who don’t teach their children about sex and crusaders who think the way to fight porn is to ban books they don’t like.
    It is the fundamentalist right who promulgate the false view that the U.S. was a nation founded by people just like them (white Protestants) who were doing God’s work. This nation was founded by white Catholics and white Protestants, black animists, Hispanic Catholics, and, in the case of the Founding Fathers, rich slaveowning Deists.
    No one is using taxpayer’s money to force people to listen to Stern or look at porn. If people don’t want to do that, they simply don’t do it. If you don’t want to hear four-letter words, don’t watch the cable channels that carry that programming. That’s freedom.
    On the other hand, using the power of government to make other people behave against their will for the sole purpose of not offending someone’s religious or moral sensibilties is tryanny. Sadly, that’s what the fundamentalists right wants to do. They are not satisfied with exercising their own right to worship and speak freely. They want to outlaw anything that they disagree with. In that, they are a greater threat to this country that their Islamic counterparts.

  • Kat

    No one is using taxpayer’s money to force people to look at a Jesus in a Santa Parade or a display. If people don’t want to look at that, they simply don’t do it. If you don’t want to watch a Christmas Parade, don’t watch it. That’s freedom. But don’t ban the Christ out of Christmas.
    Sadly, that’s what the fundamentalist left wants to do. They are not satisfied with exercising their own right to speak freely. They want to outlaw anything that they disagree with. In that, they are a greater threat to this country than islamofascists. No, they are just like them. If I want a country free of Christian symbols, I’d live in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

  • billg

    What does Jesus in a Santa parade have to do with anything? Are you upset about that? Put on a costume and march. If some idiot tries to stop you, take him to court.
    There’s no campaign to rid the country of Christian symbols. Using the power of government to display those symbols — like the Ten Commandments in a courthuse — is an attempt to demonstrate that the government endorses and is based on Christianity. The government of the U.S. is not based on Christianity and it has no business endorsing any religion, period.
    There’s a lot more stake here than silly ideologues on either side ranting on about keeping God in the Pledge of Allegiance or putting Christ-in-a-manger scenes on the grounds of the local library. Those silly arguments exist only because the participants — on both sides — lack any degree of tolerance.