The title of the node is correct, even with that comma at the end!

The "God is Still Speaking," initiative (often shortened to Still Speaking) is a campaign by the United Church of Christ with the intention of increasing the general public’s knowledge of the denomination and to encourage people who have felt rejected by other churches in the past to consider the UCC. The title comes from a quote by comedienne Gracie Allen in a letter to her husband George Burns: “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.” The phrase is a play on the conservative Christian maxim of “never place a question mark where God has placed a period.” With this initiative, the United Church of Christ tries to be a different voice within Christianity and implies that God still has more to say to the world than the words in the Bible or outdated traditions.

The initiative began in the early 2000s as an encouragement for churches in the normally quiet and unknown denomination to become a noticeable Christian presence within their local community. The initiative went national on December 1, 2004 when the United Church of Christ began to air one of two 30-second advertisements that it created for Still Speaking on television. This advertisement shows two bouncers in front of a church allowing some people into the building but not others, specifically rejecting two Caucasian men holding hands, a Latino man, and a young black woman. The screen then goes dark with the text, “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” The next scene shows a large diverse group people with close-ups on several of them including a middle-aged black couple, an older Caucasian couple, and a young Caucasian couple of two women. The voice over states, “The United Church… of Christ. No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”

The three major broadcast networks in the United States, ABC, NBC, and CBS, all refused to air the advertisement. ABC has a policy of not showing any religious advertisements, but NBC and CBS stated that the advertisement was too controversial to show on their networks. An executive at NBC said that the phrase “Jesus didn’t turn people away, neither do we” implied that other people do so and went against the network’s policy of not showing advocacy ads. An anonymous CBS executive said that the network rejected the Still Speaking advertisement because the Bush administration backs a federal amendment to the Constitution to ban same sex marriage and the ad had an implied message addressing the exclusion of gays and lesbians.

This advertisement aired on ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick at Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel, and TV Land through December 26, 2004. The initiative hoped that 60% of the population in the United States would see the ad about 4 times during the Christmas season, a time during which many people might consider or reconsider going to church. The Still Speaking initiative plans to air television advertisements every Advent and Lent through 2007, the denomination’s 50th anniversary.

Sources: -“United Church of Christ ad highlighting Jesus' extravagant welcome called 'too controversial.’” November 30, 2004 - Bill Carter and Neela Banerjee, “2 Networks are Accused of Rejecting Ad on Religious Bias.” December 2, 2004.

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