City Church of Anaheim Calls Hypocrisy on CBS Outdoor

godscrewedcrop1.jpg
Courtesy of Pastor Kyle Steven Bonenberger
In the cacophonous religious discourse in Orange County, things can get murky, gray and downright confusing. Especially when a church decides to do something provocative. To wit: Last week, 27-year-old pastor Kyle Steven Bonenberger of Anaheim-based City Church accused CBS Outdoor advertising of hypocrisy on his blog when the entertainment juggernaut declined to run the church's ad campaign.

The ad was set to run April 25 and feature a the phrase "God Screwed Me Over," the title of a series of sermons currently being delivered at the Christian church, which meets Sunday mornings at Anaheim all-ages music venue Chain Reaction. Bonenberger says the phrase is meant to challenge the view that God doesn't care about human suffering.

"We're validating a feeling that some people have that, at some point in their lives, God didn't have their best interests at heart," Bonenberger says. "We don't believe God screws people over, but if somebody feels that way, it doesn't matter. You need to help them figure out what's going on in their lives."

godscrewedbig1.jpg
Did CBS screw them over?
Apparently CBS wasn't too keen on obliging the church on this one. "We had the signed contract and we were moving forward--and once they received the graphics, they said, 'No, we can't move forward, it's too controversial.'"

The hypocrisy, as Bonenberger sees it: CBS Outdoor runs ads around Orange County promoting such events as Adult Con featuring images (albeit tame ones) of porn stars. "How is it okay for them to say, 'Yeah, porn is good,' but something that pushes the envelope about faith is not?" Bonenberger asks.

The ultimate face-slap came when the CBS ran an ad funded by atheist/secular organization Orange County Coalition for Reason, which featured the question and answer "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The ad ran on a Westminster billboard and was featured on Navel Gazing.

Bonenberger says that he believes that atheists have the right to express their views. "That's why we're America. What I do have a problem with is CBS saying, 'Yeah, the atheists can run it, but City Church can't.' It's not that they're not taking controversial billboards. They are."

When reached by the Weekly, CBS representatives declined to comment on the matter.

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8 comments
justinsalters
justinsalters

 thank you Kyle & City Church for challenging what is conventional in church-culture. the reality is many people feel God is at least partly responsible for the bad that comes in their life.  i love that you guys are using the story of Joseph to show how God can royally screw us over and still end up blessing us more than ever imaginable.  it's too bad that CBS's seemingly arbitrary censoring standards caused issue here.

Eric Jacobson
Eric Jacobson

Should be noted that I'm an outspoken Atheist. However, I don't see a problem with this ad. Oh noes, they used the word "screwed!" Wait... Isn't it the Church who gives us our bass-ackwards ideas of morality? And yet, isn't this a Church using this word? So CBS Outdoor is basically telling a church that, because of religious moral ambiguity and a lack of a spine, they won't run a church's ad because of a harmless word that people *might* misconstrue as an innuendo? Kettle, call from Pot, line two.

I see no problem with this ad. I say run it. Maybe it'll get people thinking instead of just being sheeple. CBS Outdoor needs to rethink their bad words policy.

Blair Scott
Blair Scott

As the Communications Director of American Atheists, Inc., we are concerned about this. It seems to us that the hang-up with CBS is not the controversy, per se, but the word "screwed." It is a shame when our society is more worried about words than they are about images and violence.

American Atheists fully supports the First Amendment and we hope that CBS changes its mind and runs this church's billboard ads!

Blair ScottCommunications Director, American Atheists, Inc.http://atheists.org

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Prattle On, Boyo
Prattle On, Boyo

Silly Bonenberger...we can't have shades of grey in our reality advertised otherwise it would confuse everyone into thinking the world *wasn't* either *all* black or *all* white! There wouldn't be any divisive issues and pretty soon ppl would figure out how badly the system has *fucked* them, and, then they'd unite & turn their wrath upon the plantation owners. Can't have that.

kylesteven
kylesteven

Eric, I completely agree that getting people to think rather than just act like sheep is what this is all about. This is America, and I hope we are still a society that is encouraged to make up our own mind. Thanks for the comment.

kylesteven
kylesteven

Blair, I sincerely thank you for supporting us in this. I believe you are correct that CBS' hang-up is likely with that word in particular, but as you mentioned there are thousands of billboards with violent images that are allowed. This shouldn't be the case.

It is awesome when Americans stand together on the principles of our founding Fathers. Hope to meet you someday! Kyle

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