here!TV airs rejected LGBT-friendly United Church of Christ ad

CLEVELAND, April 11 /U.S. Newswire/ — A national premium network, “here! TV,” which caters to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender audiences, has said it will run the United Church of Christ’s new “ejector” commercial — without charge — as a public service announcement, following a decision by LOGO, a competing gay-oriented network, to reject the ad.

“As a cable network dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT Americans, ‘here! Networks’ is proud and honored to broadcast the United Church of Christ’s kind and inclusive ad,” said Stephen Macias, senior vice president of communications, in a statement to United Church News. “We will not allow our community’s interaction with various religious groups to be defined by those who do not include us in their houses of worship, but rather by those who welcome us as part of their respective congregations. We strongly support all faith-based organizations that use their teachings to bring people together, not to divide with fear and prejudice.”

The ad will run indefinitely on “here! TV,” Macias said, and could be supplemented with additional gay-positive UCC spots in the future.

On March 30, LOGO, a gay-oriented channel owned by Viacom, rejected the “ejector” ad, in keeping with its parent company’s apparent decision to forego the ad on all of its cable networks, including MTV, VH1, Nick@Night, TV Land, among others.

As a “premium” network, similar to HBO or Showtime, “here! TV” does not solicit or run paid advertising, but it does air occasional public service announcements for non-profit entities that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, such as the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention program for LGBT youth; Point Foundation, an LGBT scholarship fund; and Cable Positive, the industry’s AIDS action organization.

“(We are) proud to broadcast the United Church of Christ’s ad that welcomes all people, including the LGBT community,” Macias said. “For too long extremists have perpetuated the divisive idea that being gay and having a spiritual and religious practice are mutually exclusive. This is simply not true. We applaud the UCC and other religious-based groups that open their doors and their hearts to the LGBT community.”

Available nationwide on satellite providers DIRECTV (Channel 190) and DISH (Channel 537), “here! TV” is also offered through multiple cable providers, including Adelphia, Cablevision, Comcast, RCN, Starpower and Time Warner Cable. First airing in 2002, “here!” is the nation’s first gay-oriented TV network.

“UCC members and churches are grateful for the courtesy and affirmation extended to us by ‘here! TV,'” said the Rev. Robert Chase, the UCC’s director of communications. “This partnership means that more and more people will hear the gospel message of welcome and inclusion, which is too often reduced by our culture as something reserved only for selective segments of society. It’s imperative as people of faith that welcome the stranger, just as Jesus did. As our ad emphasizes, ‘God doesn’t reject people, and neither do we.'”

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