In the May print issue, we published an ad for the group Better Together: A Third Way, which drew some reactions and criticisms. I would like to respond to those concerns.
First and foremost, advertising in The Banner does not imply editorial endorsement. This has always been the case, and that disclaimer is always printed in the header of the classifieds section.
Second, decisions to accept or reject advertising in the magazine are made by Banner staff, without input from any other CRCNA ministry staff, using our advertising guidelines received from Synod in 1998. The editor in chief and the director of Ministry Support Services (as his immediate supervisor) make decisions on any ads that are in question.
We also wish to provide you with a bit of background to this particular decision. Previously, based on the advertising guideline No. 4, which states, “Advocacy advertisements that take a position on issues being debated in the church will not be accepted,” we (editor in chief and supervisor) have declined ad requests from the groups All One Body and the Abide Project. We deemed their ads violated that guideline as they were promoting positions on different sides of the same-sex marriage debate currently taking place in the CRCNA.
We decided to accept the ad from Better Together because we did not think their public stance violated the guideline. Using the same parameters that were used for the previous two groups, we (editor in chief and supervisor) understood Better Together as not taking a position on either side of the same-sex marriage issue, but rather seeking unity, not unanimity, across disagreements. That was our decision based on a general survey of their mission and vision as published on their website, as per our normal procedure. Our late February (April print) news story about the group did not change our impression.
However, based on the negative reactions we received for the May ad, it seems that we might have misconstrued the public’s perception of the group. Not being involved or “in the loop” of any of Better Together’s activities, I (editor Chong) was not aware of these perceptions.
Given these perceptions and out of courtesy to our readers, we feel it is prudent at this time to pull Better Together’s second ad that we had originally accepted in conjunction with the May ad.
We are sorry for any confusion and alarm caused by our decision. It was not our intent to show favor for or to discriminate against any group.
In Christ’s Service,
Editor in chief, The Banner