Church bells chime. Two muscle-bound men stand arms-crossed in front of a Gothic cathedral. A gay couple approaches holding hands. “Step aside, please,” say the muscle-bound guards. They speak similar words to an African-American girl, a Hispanic man, a young man in a wheelchair. Then, just as we realize that the two large men are “church bouncers,” the scene fades to black and the tag line reads: “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.”
This 30-second commercial from the United Church of Christ ignited weeks of national debate after CBS and NBC refused to air the spot, claiming it was too controversial. Pundits weighed in, filling airwaves and editorial pages with opposing views.