Separation of Church and TV -- This just in from the Squeamish Department... Media watchdog FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) reports that CBS, NBC and UPN have all rejected a TV spot from the United Church of Christ because its message just gives them the heebie-jeebies. What's with this church and its message of tolerance, anyway?
The ad apparently shows a pair of bouncers in front of a church admitting whites and straight couples but turning away people of color, a dude in a wheelchair and two guys holding hands. A message flashes onscreen: "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." Then they pan over a crowd of happy churchgoers, including a woman with her arm around another woman. The message concludes, "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."
Good for the networks, putting those people in wheelchairs in their place. Oh wait, that's not what the networks are worried about? They object to gays going to church?
Not really, says CBS, it only looks that way. CBS rejected the spot because it considered it an advocacy ad (which they don't take), a direct response to President Bush's proposed amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Hmm. Problem is, there's no indication that the ad's gay churchgoers were looking to get hitched.
Fox, ABC Family and TNT all picked up the ad. Nobody offered it to ABC because of that network's policy not to take religious advertising.
The American Way -- You've probably heard of the military's so-called "stop-loss" policy -- it's the rule that has seen thousands of American troops have their tours of duty extended beyond what they believe they had committed to. Back in Vietnam, it was one-year and out -- that was the one thing soldiers could count on. But now, military families around the country are never sure when their loved ones will be coming home.
You might start hearing about the stop-loss policy more in the coming weeks after eight soldiers serving in Iraq have done what most Americans do when they feel wronged: they filed a lawsuit challenging the practice. David Qualls is the only one who has revealed his identity, and he told the New York Times that despite supporting the mission, he has fulfilled his duty. "My job was to go over and perform my duties under the contract I signed," Qualls said. "Now I believe that they should honor their end of the contract."
Qualls is a member of the Arkansas National Guard, and he expects his tour will be more than a year long by the time it's over. "You've got thousands of people over there in the same situation as me, and somebody's got to do something. Why not have it be me?"
Publication date: 12/09/04