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UCCtruths

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FCC throws out UCC license challenge

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Remember when the United Church of Christ claimed that the "Bouncer" television ad was banned from network television for it's welcoming message? In response, the UCC Office of Communication challenged the FCC license renewals of two southern Florida television station owned by NBC and CBS. Well... it didn't work. The FCC rejected the UCC's claims. From Broadcasting & Cable:
The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday denied challenges to the licenses of NBC Universal's WTVJ (TV) and CBS' WFOR-TV, both Miami.

The challenges were filed by the United Church of Christ after the NBC and CBS networks declined back in 2004 to air UCC ads on religious tolerance that the networks said violated their policies against paid editorial advertising.

As the FCC described the ad in the WFOR decision, "The spot depicts would-be worshippers approaching a church guarded by bouncers who refuse entrance to what appears to be a gay couple, a Hispanic young man, a man in a wheelchair and an African-American woman, followed by the tag, ‘Jesus didn’t turn people away … Neither do we.’” The spot then concludes with the statement: “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”

The commission pointed out that it was the networks, not the stations, that declined to air the ads, adding that it could not deny an application based on violations at other stations. "UCC does not allege that it ever offered the spot at issue to station WFOR-TV," FCC Media Bureau staffers concluded. "According to CBS, it is the policy of the Viacom Television Stations Group ‘to leave decisions as to whether to accept particular editorial advertisements to the individual discretion of each station.’ Station WFOR-TV may have chosen to air the spot had it been offered the opportunity."

It used the same argument to deny the WTVJ challenge.
The networks claimed that they didn't reject the ad because it was welcoming, they rejected the ad because it disparaged other churches. From NBC's response to the UCC's challenge:
As the UCC admits, it never requested the Station to air the advertisement at issue, called "Night Club." Instead, in February 2004, the UCC, through its advertising agency, approached the Network with the ad, which portrayed other churches and religions as discriminatory in their refusal to accept people who are African- American, Hispanic, disabled, or gay. The Network concluded that the "Night Club" ad inappropriately suggested that churches other than the UCC are not open to people of diverse races and backgrounds and therefore violated the Network's policy against addressing issues of public controversy through paid commercial advertisements.

Accordingly, the Network refused to air the ad.

In November 2004, the UCC approached the Network a second time with the "Night Club" ad and also offered another commercial announcement. The other commercial, which the Network accepted, contained a positive message asserting only that UCC churches are welcoming and inclusive. The Network again rejected the "Night Club" ad as unacceptable under Network policy, however, and offered suggestions to the UCC for modifying the "Night Club" ad to address the Network's objections. The UCC responded to these offers not by telling the Network to run the acceptable ad or modifying the objectionable ad, but rather by filing the Petition – more than 10 months after the objectionable ad was first presented – against a station to which the ad had not even been offered.
While the publicity around the supposed banning of the ad generated a large amount of attention, the ad campaign was a bomb: Millions of dollars later the UCC had the largest drop of members of any Christian denomination.
posted by UCCtruths, Tuesday, August 07, 2007

1 Comments:

In seeing the ad a few times, I came away wondering what exactly was being said. My (Lutheran) congregation has a number of people suffering from real, crippling problems. We have never turned away the divorced, drug-dependent, adulterers, government officials and a few thieves. In the same way, minorities of all kinds have been welcomed among us. We don't check anyone's identity papers for sexual orientation; but several gay couples have sat in among us.

The trouble homosexuals have with us is that we do not buy into the gay agenda. "Welcoming" has because a politically charged word in that the real message is that only "approval" is good enough.

The funny part is how "welcoming" is it t0 label those who have serious moral reservations concerning homosexuality as bigots? Nothing like demonizing those who disagree with you.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 6:58 AM  

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