from the editor

 Contents: UU World Back Issue

A word about our sponsors

Why is there advertising in UU World? It's a religious magazine, isn't it? Shouldn't church be a refuge from our culture's relentless commercial barrage?

This is a recurring question from readers, and a reasonable one. The relentless commercial barrage is an assault on the spirit and deforms our culture. We have published articles that say so. But as the magazine's publisher as well as its editor, I'm responsible not only for UU World's articles but also for its business life. There are three powerful reasons for us to publish ads—as long as they are consonant with our values:

Support for Unitarian Universalists and UU organizations: Our classified ads and many of our display ads are so consonant with our mission that UU World's advertising assistant, Teri Schwartz, considers her work a ministry (see inside cover). The magazine publishes news about our congregations and UUA-affiliated organizations, but often they want to get out messages that don't qualify as news. So we make ads available to them at rates discounted deeply from what businesses pay.

Editorial integrity: The UUA wants UU World to be as far from a house organ as possible. Thus the editors are given wide latitude to make independent decisions about content. Still, the UUA wants to use the magazine to reach readers with requests for donations and other business. To separate government and the press, so to speak, when UUA departments want to get official messages to UU World readers, they have to buy an ad.

Stewardship: Every dollar that business advertisers spend for space in our pages is a dollar that strengthens UUA services to congregations and turns up the volume of the Unitarian Universalist voice for justice. Because so much UUA operating revenue comes from Unitarian Universalist pockets—from individual donors and from Annual Program Fund payments from congregations whose money comes from members' pledges—dollars from advertisers really do enlarge what's possible.

But we don't want ads from just any business. Happily, sellers of liquor and makeup and handguns and SUVs don't want to advertise in a magazine like this one that advocates different values. But UU World does get ads for products and services that appeal to UU values—books, socially responsible mutual funds, and opportunities for travel in search of meaning, among other things.

In addition to questioning why we publish ads, readers sometimes ask why we publish ads for specific products or organizations with which they disagree. Whenever we receive a complaint we look into the ad, but in almost all cases we have continued to run the ads. After all, Unitarian Universalism is built on the belief that we are each capable of (and responsible for) our own search for truth. Ideas and products that don't stand the scrutiny of our readers will fall away.

I hope you will patronize our advertisers when possible—the more business they get from UUs the more they will advertise. And if you are a potential advertiser or if you can suggest a good prospect, please get in touch. The right products may be just what readers need—and the dollars will strengthen the UUA.

Tom Stites

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
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