The latest issue of Rolling Stone just arrived in my office. It's loaded with ads that promise us the world: better cars, better music, better TV, better sex, a better environment—but nary a word about a new Bible.

I know: Rolling Stone, the king of rock 'n' roll magazines, isn't the first place we'd think to look for an ad for God's Word. But Zondervan, the nation's largest Bible publisher, tried to buy an ad in RS for Today's New International Version (TNIV), but got turned away. According to a story in USA Today, the rock mag told Zondervan it has an unwritten policy against accepting ads containing religious messages.

The rejected ad shows a contemplative 20-something guy and includes the title, "Today it makes sense more than ever." The text at the bottom of the ad says, " … [Y]ou wonder where you can find real truth. Well, now there's a source … It's the TNIV … It's written in today's language, for today's times—and it makes more sense than ever." The Bible's cover is shown in the lower left corner.

There's no use of the word "God" or "Christ." But apparently Rolling Stoneobjected to the word "truth" in the ad's text. "It doesn't quite feel right in the magazine," Kent Brownridge, general manager of Wenner Media, parent company of RS, told USA Today. "We are not in the business of publishing advertising for religious messages."

Really?

Thumbing through the January 27 issue, which features a scantily clad Gwen Stefani on the cover (and whom RS calls a "Rock Goddess"), there are many religious-sounding ads:

  • the HBO series Carnivale, which bills itself as "the final battle between Good and Evil," pitting a fugitive with "hidden talents" facing off against a "shadowy evangelist" named "Brother Justin." A recent episode features a statue of the baby Jesus talking to someone, while elsewhere, Brother Justin "breaks ground on his new temple and dedicates it to the child martyrs of the Dignity Ministry." Ican only assume that no "religious message" is being promoted here, or else RS wouldn't accept the ad.
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.