Friday, January 16, 2009

Church Super Bowl Parties

Last year, there was a lot of press regarding the National Football League's position on church Super Bowl parties. They did not want that at all. It was a copyright violation. They did not have an issue with bars and restaurants doing so, but were concerned about churches having such gatherings.

Predictably, this issue caused a lot of heartburn because many churches had planned Super Bowl parties and this was coming out in the press just a few days before the game. Churches were now afraid that the Copyright Police (they don't exist) would break the door down and cart away their TVs just before the first commercial. Super Bowl parties across the land were cancelled.

At the time, the NFL rules for mass viewing of the game were:

1. The event must be free of charge.
2. The event must be viewed on a screeen no larger than 55 inches.

Senator Orrin Hatch became very interested in this matter and sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell inviting him to explain, "prior to formal Senate consideration of this issue." Now, I don't see anyone being in any hurry to answer questions from our friendly Senators.

So, Mr. Goodell, probably wanting to decline the invitation to talk, wrote to Sen. Hatch and announced a change of rules for church Super Bowl parties. Specifically, the NFL "will not object" to live showings of the game, on any size screen, provided the following conditions are met:

1. The event is free of charge.
2. The event is held "on premises used by the religious organization on a routine and customary basis."

In English, this means that as long as your event is free, and held on your church property, you can have your party.

I like the use of the words "will not object." It's almost like saying, "I may not like it at all, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut."

Oh, yes. The source for all my quotes above:

Press Release by Sen. Hatch

Correspondence between Sen. Hatch and Mr. Goodell

Party on!

And save me some pizza.


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