An advertising agency for a national movie theater chain in Southern California has rejected a church's advertisement for its Easter service because it mentions the name of Jesus.
The pre-movie 30-second commercial for Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif., aimed for viewers to consider whether Jesus actually rose from the dead. It was scheduled to run for three weeks on 45 movie screens across Orange County starting April 1. They paid more than $5,000, according to ABC.
The commercial targeted non-believers, inviting them to the church's annual "Easter At The Bren" services, Sunday, April 24. The service is an annual event that hosts more than 5,000 attendees at the Bren Center on the University of California-Irvine campus.
It asked movie patrons, "Did it really happen?" And ended with "Why we actually believe in the resurrection."
But the agency refused to show it, saying it has a policy of rejecting ads featuring religious figures. It also remarked that their constituents might be offended by such an advertisement.
"They told us the ad was great, it looked nice. It's just that we couldn't put the name of Jesus in the ad," Senior Pastor Mike Farabez of Compass Bible Church told ABC.
"There are certain things that they won't advertise, and there was no mention of Christ or Christianity or anything like that, that would preclude us from having an ad," he added.
"NCM Media Networks maintains sole discretion over what advertising content we accept in our First Look pre-show," a company spokesperson said in a statement.
"Compass Bible Church was made aware of our advertising content guidelines, and was given the opportunity to revise its ad accordingly to promote its Easter services in movie theaters. Compass Bible Church chose not to do so," the spokesman noted.
Speaking to The Christian Post, Farabez explained that NCM's proposed revision of the ad included only advertising the last frame, which stated where and when the service would take place. Everything else before that would have to be cut, which would negate the entire purpose for the ad.
"We were told we could promote our Easter services with a commercial that featured the date, time, and place with some fun bunnies and eggs thrown in," Farabez said in a statement.
"But for us, Easter isn't about springtime fun," the senior pastor continued. "It's the most important day in Christian history, and we won't water that message down. It's unfortunate that what our country was founded on has now become 'too controversial.'"
--Published April 1, 2011.