United Church of Christ United Church News The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, news director <email@example.com 216/736-2177, 216/773-9222
For immediate release March 27, 2006
UCC ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN TO AMPLIFY MAINLINE CHURCHES' PUBLIC VOICE
Have the religious "mainlines" been sidelined?
That's the view of the Rev. Robert Chase, communications director for t he 1.3-million-member United Church of Christ, who today (March 27) announ ced a new blog-focused advocacy campaign to draw attention to ways in which the nation's historic, mainline Christian denominations have been "silenced " by network and cable news programs.
Accessibleairwaves.org today placed ads on dozens of internet blogs, drawing attention to the UCC's new effort to lift the public voice of t he old "mainliners." The announcement came on the same day that another of the UCC's 30-second television ads was unveiled for the media, even though it has been rejected by the broadcast networks as "controversial," therefo re "unacceptable." The newest ad, known as "ejector seat," will begin air ing April 3 on cable networks only.
The major networks' silencing act is not only affecting the UCC, Chase said, but other mainline churches as well. According to Media Matters, a public-interest research group, you're far more likely to hear from the head of Focus on the Family or the 700 Club, than you are a United Methodist bishop or the stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A. ).
"What do James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Richard Land and G ary Bauer have in common?" asked Chase at a press conference in Cleveland. "Together, they have racked up 36 appearances on the Sunday news talk shows, including Meet the Press and Face the Nation, during the past ei ght years."
"But what do the principal leaders of the United Church of Christ, Unit ed Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), American Baptist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, African Methodist Episcopal Chu rch, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Reformed Church in America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, among others, have in common?" he further asked. "They haven't appeared once."
"Increasingly," Chase said, "millions of U.S. Christians have grown wea ry of having their more-inclusive, more-progressive values silenced."
Accessibleairwaves.org encourages mainline Christians to note and share how their denominational leaders have been left out of the public discourse . Moreover, the website offers opportunities for persons to share their concerns with network news producers.