The United Church of Christ did an ad campaign in 2004. One of the best outcomes was all the press that the UCC got after NBC and CBS refused to air the ad. They banned the ads because they were too controversial and contained "advocacy advertising." People were quick to point out the hypocrisy of the networks in their decision. Clearly, many controversial ads have been shown on these networks over the years. But apparently the UCC went too far. They dared to say that everyone is welcome in the UCC. Even racially mixed people. And elderly people. And young people. And LGBT people. Etc. That message was just too much for NBC and CBS. Click here to watch the bouncer ad, the one that was deemed the most controversial. That ad doesn't go near as far as Jesus went in his day and time. This guy was one controversial dude. He welcomed women as leaders, prostitutes as friends, tax collectors as dinner guests, Pharisees as dialogue partners, etc. If CBS and NBC would have been around then, they wouldn't have even watched the promo draft to consider such controversial material. It's just too radial.
Now the UCC is back. This time they are bypassing network television and going for the Internet. With everyone on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., it's a wise move. The UCC is taking their message to the place people are: online. The new video is called "The Language of God." And it has already gone viral on social networking sites and in the news media. So, the message of an open and inclusive Church, committed to social justice, continues to spread. There's a great need for such a message in our time of anti-government violence, reactionary fundamentalism, and angry shock jocks. Yet there will be some people who will make fun of the UCC's message. But there's nothing funny about peace, love, and understanding (thank you, Evis Costello). It's a message and ministry that is needed. And it can be found in UCC churches - and many other congregations - in every community.
Several years ago, Barack Obama described the UCC's inclusive vision: "UCC churches across the country open their doors to millions of Americans each Sunday, and they accept, love and counsel all who enter. This spirit of inclusiveness has served as a model for me in my time in the Senate, and the love for one's fellow man that the UCC stands for is the foundation of my work." Obama gets it. Too bad the networks didn't. Oh well. The new ad bypasses the networks and reaches out through the net. Hopefully this message gets out and makes a positive impact.
Check out the video below for the newest installment from the UCC. Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings about the new ad in the comment section.