Ramesh, ABC actually covered the UCC ad/publicity stunt as a news story about free speech being chilled by “fear of Christian conservatives.” It should have been covered, but as a very unique phenomenon: a church running a negative, mudslinging ad against other churches. Where are the watchdogs who hate 30-second ads that lie? Where are the reporters who ask for evidence that conservative Christian churches have bouncers, or perhaps less metaphorically, have members or preachers who tell you to leave? Or that conservative Christian churches are racist and really don’t want minority members? (What the UCC is really trying to say, behind the smear, is we’ll never really make you uncomfortable by talking about sinners requiring repentance.) I can’t imagine this would be the tone of ABC coverage if say, Jerry Falwell’s church made a 30-second ad saying liberal churches weren’t really acting like Jesus would.
We should point out the obvious: the First Amendment does not extend to the right to have your commercial accepted for broadcast. What’s the weirdest thing, though, is this: ABC has a blanket policy against any religious ads. They have a ban. (They admitted that in the middle of their stories.) So how can they be the ones casting “censorship” aspersions on ANYONE else, since they are, in this instance, the “censors”?
More on ABC’s weird coverage here.