The blog Religion Clause reports that the NFL has loosened their guidelines for churches that want to show a certain championship football game in their parish halls this coming Sunday. But if you don't follow their guidelines, you can still get in trouble.
...the NFL adopted new Guidelines last year to ease limitations on churches showing the copyrighted Super Bowl Game. Churches are no longer limited to projecting the game on screens of 55 inches or less. Now they can use bigger screens and sound equipment so long as those are used regularly in their ministry. Churches may not charge admission for the showing, but can take up a collection to defray expenses of the party. Finally churches are encouraged to call their events something other than a "Super Bowl" party. The NFL continues to send cease and desist letters to venues other than churches that plan to show the Super Bowl on large screens.
Just to prove that even Christians watch the S*p*r B*wl mostly for the ads, Religion Clause guesses that more church groups will want to tune in to watch a controversial anti-abortion ad featuring University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
Ironically, Focus on the Family was able to place their ad CBS because the United Church of Christ got CBS to drop their "no advocacy ads during the Super Bowl" policy so that the denomination could run one of their "God is Still Speaking" ads called "Bouncer" during the game. When the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12th, the UCC pulled the ad and redirected the $2 million or so fee for 30 seconds of air-time to earthquake relief. Focus on the Family still plans to run their ad. (The deflated advertising market may have been a motivator for the change in policy.)
Episcopal Cafe says that one "mega-church" in California has created a Dorito's ad through a company-sponsored contest that will run as one of six ads that viewers can then vote on on-line or via text message. Believe it or not, the groups says they found a way to at once hawk Doritos and the resurrection by way of a "light-hearted spoof."
One good way to redirect all that S*p*r B*wl hype is to take part in the Souper Bowl of Caring. This is a nationwide project where youth from local schools and churches collect money on the day of the Big Game in large Soup Bowls, and then direct 100% of those funds to a local food bank, soup kitchen or feeding ministry.
--posted by Andrew Gerns