The Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN wanted to have a “Super Bowl Bash” this Sunday evening. But the NFL has sacked those plans citing copyright law infringement. Now churches all over the nation are scrambling to adjust their plans for this Sunday.
Here are the comments of Fall Creek Baptist’s Pastor John Newland, copied from the home page of Fall Creek’s website.
Fall Creek Baptist Church Family…
We regret to inform you that we have had to cancel our bash to view the Colts game this Sunday in a family friendly environment due to the fact that the NFL believes we would be in violation of the Copyright Act, because we had planned to show the game on a screen bigger than a 55 inch diagonal. We have appealed to their legal counsel and exhausted all options without success. We have been informed that the only exceptions to view the game are given to sports bars and restaurants. While we have argued that we only intend to provide a family oriented environment that will make no profit from the showing, the NFL claims that our event cannot proceed by law. Therefore, we have no choice but to challenge this in court or cancel the event. We choose to cancel the event. We deeply regret that we have been prohibited by the NFL from providing a family friendly environment for celebrating the Colts great season.Pastor John
The World blog has posted about this topic as well.
First of all, I think it’s silly that the NFL is making an issue of this, even though they have every legal right to keep churches from showing the game. Second, I think it’s silly for churches to show the game. The idea of preempting a worship service to watch a football game just doesn’t sit well with me; even if it is the Super Bowl, even if it is the Colts. I’d much rather gather in the Lord’s house on the Lord’s day and worship the Lord. I feel that a church is capitulating to the culture by arranging their Sunday evening service around an entertainment event. Super Bowl parties should take place after the regular Sunday evening service.
I know that not everyone agrees with my position. In fact, the youth pastor of Fall Creek Baptist Church is a good friend of mine. Obviously, we have differing views on this subject. That is fine; people can disagree and still be friends. Those in favor of Super Bowl bashes would argue that since most people would either skip church for the game or want to skip church for the game, why not offer them a “family friendly” viewing experience. This way, instead of watching Prince at half-time they are exposed to a devotion or skit.
I understand the motivation behind these type of events. I understand that some positive benefits could result. I still don’t like it. I think it sets a bad precedent. I think it’s a not so subtle indictment against Sunday evening services. “Hey, these things are so boring, let’s watch the big game instead!”
The last sentence in Pastor Newland’s written statement to his church made me cringe just a little; :
We deeply regret that we have been prohibited by the NFL from providing a family friendly environment for celebrating the Colts great season.
My problem is this, a church service is for celebrating Christ not the Colts.
I’m a huge sports fan, and even though I am from Bengals country, I have always followed the Colts; since 1984 anyway. I am going to be cheering like a madman for the Colts to win this game. My cheering just won’t begin until after the church service has ended.