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Monday, December 6, 2004

Jesus' controversial 'message of inclusive love.'

A statement today from the Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

During the recent election season, the airwaves were filled with advocacy ads on controversial issues. Given that, I was appalled by the refusal of NBC and CBS to run the new ad from the United Church of Christ on the grounds that it was an advocacy ad on a controversial issue. I was especially distressed by CBS's reference to the Bush administration's support for a federal amendment prohibiting marriage equality because the UCC ad makes no mention of marriage equality nor refers in any way to the civil rights of gays and lesbians. It was clear to me that the UCC ad was controversial only in its presentation of Jesus' message of inclusive love.

Last Thursday I spoke with the Rev. John Thomas, president of the UCC, to offer my personal support and that of the Unitarian Universalist community. Rev. Thomas expressed his gratitude for this offer and told me the UCC was discussing how best to organize the many voices of support they were hearing. Despite our opposition to the networks' decisions, it is obvious that the UCC and its message of inclusion have reached a far wider audience because of the recent publicity. In these deeply divided times, we welcome all messages of inclusion, love, and reconciliation.

Our Unitarian Universalist congregations have struggled with the issue of inclusion as well, but we can bear witness to the many blessings that bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender Unitarian Universalists bring to our congregations. No denomination does this perfectly, including our own. But the religious calling, and indeed the words of Jesus, demand that we all strive to open wider the doors of the church and to resist the all-too-human impulse to remain in our comfort zones. Our growth as people of faith depends upon this.

Meanwhile, J. Bennett Guess — whose editing and writing I really admire at United Church News — writes that members of the United Church of Christ have rallied to the "God Is Still Speaking," campaign . . . by buying lots of related merchandise!

"I've been here 17 years and I have never experienced excitement like this," says Marie Tyson, the UCC's distribution services manager at the denomination's warehouse in Berea, Ohio — a suburb of Cleveland, where the 1.3-million-member church is headquartered. "No one here is upset by the extra work. Instead, the excitement is contagious. We're just to the point where we're laughing, because of the sheer number of 'still speaking' orders."

If you want some merchandise, visit the Still Speaking Store. You can get involved in the UCC's protest of the networks' refusal to run its ad at the UCC Action Center.

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 6 December 2004 at 7:36 PM

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