Chicago -- A gay congregation from Dallas has sued
superstation WGN-TV here, alleging that the station reneged on a deal to air a half-hour
infomercial on homosexuals and the church.
The attorney for the church, Cathedral of Hope, wrote in a
complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
that congregation representatives bought time on WGN after they were rebuffed by such
national cable networks as Lifetime Television, Discovery Channel, Black Entertainment
Television and The Odyssey Channel.
The cable networks mentioned in the suit expressed
surprise. Odyssey, for example, recently ran its own special on gays and religion, which
prominently featured the Rev. Michael Piazza, the cathedral's lead pastor. As for the
infomercial, "We never got it," a spokeswoman said.
A Lifetime spokesman said the network does not accept
"ministry programming" of any kind. BET did not return calls seeking comment.
The complaint against WGN alleged that the broadcaster
executed a contract and planned to air Holy Homosexuals, a counterprogram to the
religious right's message that gays can and should be "healed." The show
should have aired four nights in August and once in September, and WGN took and cashed a
check, according to the complaint.
However, WGN wrote church representatives prior to the
airing, alleging that the deal was due to a "miscommunication," according to the
WGN declined to comment.