I find this decision on the part of NBC and CBS not to run an ad by the United Church of Christ very confusing. Apparently they thought that the ad was too controversial, because it made it clear that everyone was welcome at their churches, including gays or lesbians.
Here’s a quote from the UCC’s news article on the event:
“We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church’s loving welcome of committed gay couples, that’s where they draw the line,” says the Rev. Robert Chase, director of the UCC’s communication ministry.
I too find this ironic. All of a sudden homosexuality is too controversial for NBC and CBS?
I haven’t seen the ad, but I’ve read the text, and apparently all it’s saying is just what they said- that gays are welcome at UCC. Now personally, I think gays should be welcome at any church. They would be at mine, just like any other sinner in need of repentance. Obviously, the UCC means more than this by their ad, that the gays will be accepted as gay at their churches, and I’m not on board with that. But why the sudden concern from NBC and CBS?
Maybe they’re trying to reform their images as liberal apologists. Maybe they’re trying to stem the ratings slide by doing more to appeal to middle America, and maybe it says a lot about what they think middle America is like that something like this would be appealing to them. I’m about as conservative as it gets on the homosexual issue, but I wouldn’t have cared if the UCC had run this ad. That’s who they are. Do they think Middle America will be shocked to suddenly discover that the UCC is pro-gay?
This really reads to me like a clumsy, ham-handed way for the networks to try to paint themselves as more conservative. And I don’t buy all this “climate of fear” stuff that people are saying in response to this. The network that runs “Will and Grace” is all of a sudden concerned about moral outrage and unpopular political ideas?
UPDATE: Ted Olsen has an article here about the controversy, and says that the networks rejected the ad because they reject all “advocacy ads” and this one appears to advocate one side of a political controversy over the other and not out of any fear of backlash.