"I have a problem with the ad -- not because of its content, but rather because it is an advertisement for religion. I personally feel that the airwaves should not be crowded with religion of any kind -- at least not in commercial time slots."(Chris' comment)
Why should I be subjected to ads about Viagra? I don't care about it, and I find it offensive. I also don't want to hear about ads for shows I don't like, SUV gas guzzlers, and WalMart. Still, those advertisers have paid their dues, so they get a spot on an evening TV show I choose to watch.
Ads are there to try and influence people, whether the people want to be influenced or not. The purpose of ads is to get you to want a product or to try an experience.
And religion is a personal choice, as is the car you buy, the medicines you take, and the stores you shop at. Every choice you make is a personal choice. The choice to attend church may be influenced by your family, your surroundings, or even friends you made while growing up. Yet, in the end, it's your choice. Part of the goal of the commercial is to encourage people to give our denomination a try, especially if they've felt excluded by people in the past. Many of the UCC churches are also congregational churches; we're a friendly, open bunch, and we want people to know that. Unfortunately, NBC and CBS considers this a controversial positions, and so our ad won't get shown.
Not showing the ad because it's controversial, while hypocritically showing controversial TV shows and other controversial ads is unfair, and it's a violation of free speech. If you want to exclude something, you can't pick and choose between the incidences of that something (ie if you want to exclude gays from your airwaves b/c of the executive proposal, then take Will & Grace and other such shows off the air).
And, Chris, I wouldn't compare this to you as a teacher at all. TV has power because we allow the TV to have power; you can't turn off a teacher like you can turn off a TV. If you do want to compare this to you as a teacher, and you want to argue that TV has influence and sway, then stop all advertising. Advertising about a church that is an open church is less detrimental than advertising beer in TV. If television has great sway and power, get rid of all advertising because it unduly influences people. But then you'd have to get rid of TV shows . . . and most people would not like that.