Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Church Super Bowl Parties Sacked by NFL

You undoubtedly heard the uproar last week regarding the NFL "coming down on churches and their Super Bowl parties." Well, at least that's how it was reported. Truth is, it all started with one church that 1) promoted an admission fee (although is was more of a 'we're getting pizza, and you can chip in if you want'), 2) planned to promote the image larger than the mandated 55 inches (they planned to go with a 12-foot screen), and 3) created their own logo that included the words Super Bowl. OK, so all of that was a no-no. #'s 1 and 3 are easy to just not do - and the church said as much. However, the screen size issue was the final back-breaker, since it's kinda hard to have 100 to 200 people and not have a screen of some size. I suppose another issue was combining their copyrighted event with some sort of "video testimony" or some other message. So instead of watching a video about NFL players who are Christians, they want us watching Prince and the newest Bud Light commercial. I guess I do understand that at least a little, not that I like it at all. I guess their "product" can be attached to any other kind of message or propoganda other than what churches might provide (Amway, Tupperware, KKK, etc.)

This has been labeled so many ways..."The NFL cracking down on churches"..."The Evil One wins a victory against the church", etc. Really? Sounds like the NFL just pointed out to one church (it was pretty easy to see their new logo & all their details on their website, or we would never have known), that they were in violation of a federal copyright law. Somehow, that story was leaked to the Indy Star, which got it on the evening news, which caused all sorts of uproar here in central Indiana (I'm curious to know if this was an issue anywhere but here, since the national media didn't really give it much attention). Truth is, those of us who have had Super Bowl, er, Big Game Bashes for the past buncha years (how long has the S.B. been around??), well, we've been in violation of copyright law. Every time we've done it, though we had no clue, no one was hurt, and a good time was had by all.

What should our response be? First, we should obey the law. Of course, there will be those (I'll call them "boneheads" who give all Christians a bad name) who see this as a chance to "stand up for what is right" and do their event anyway. Really? Stand up for what is right? Teach the impressionable youth you're trying to reach that if a law doesn't suit your fancy, no problem. Just ignore it! Aren't our prisons overflowing with folks who live by this philosophy? Nice going.

But I don't think we should avoid some discussion. I do think there are some solutions that can be found that wouldn't harm the product the NFL has with CBS (or whomever), would fit w/in the guidelines of the law, and would allow us to build this cultural phenomenon into a ministry event. So let's talk to the NFL, to our lawmakers, to the folks at CBS, etc., and try to find some common ground. All of this talk about a victory for Satan? Let's cut that out. I didn't hear anyone taking away our religious freedom or forcing us to stop praying, meeting, worship, etc. Whatever the response from Christians, I hope we're taking the opportunity to be salt & light in this conversation.

All that said, this cartoon made me laugh from the Indy Star. Also, see the previous post for a couple of pics from our retooled, sized-down, Big Game Bash party that fit within the stipulations that were so public the last several days.

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