September 4, 2009
I’m writing regarding the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s advertisement in the Fall 2009 issue of UU World. As UU World’s business manager, I am responsible for all aspects of advertising in the magazine. We have received emails both supporting and denouncing our publication of this advertisement, and I greatly appreciate those that have written to share their concerns.
I have come to the conclusion that it was a mistake to run this particular ad. While the stated mission of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is entirely consistent with UU values, this ad seems hostile to all religion. To be more specific, I believe that I failed to help the advertiser match their message to our readers. An ad spotlighting FFRF’s purpose of “working for the separation of state and church” would have been more appropriate than one that for many appears to be condemning religion in general.
UU World accepts paid advertisements for the same reason as any other periodical, to support the costs of publication. Advertising also makes it possible for UU and independent organizations to promote their goods and services to a UU audience—a service to our readers and to the advertisers. Our ads are often forums for differing viewpoints, and the UUA has taken a broad view of what perspectives can be included. (See UU World’s advertising policy.) In this case, FFRF needed help finding the right tone to elicit the support they were seeking from UU World readers.
As business manager, I will continue to be responsible for accepting, rejecting, or seeking to modify ads submitted to us. In the future, however, I’ll watch more carefully for the rare advertisement that needs to be modified before being accepted.
advertising @ uua.org