I've been a part of several Super Bowl parties at churches over the years. They can be quite fun, and can be a good way to have people come through the door who normally wouldn't think of it.
So it was with dismay that I read about the NFL telling
Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis that they couldn't follow through with their plans for a Super Bowl party.
Of course, my dismay turned to my more usual disappointment when I read that the reason for the NFL's interest is that Fall Creek Baptist was charging admission to the party. That the admission was designed to defray costs doesn't matter. They're charging to watch the Super Bowl, and whether it's a good thing or not, they don't have the same exemption under Federal law that sports bars do. And while copyright laws in this country are irrational and their enforcement extreme, churches, in my view, should understand at least the basics and follow them all the time.
What's truly surprising is that they didn't just plan on having an offering plate or basket at one end of the food table with a little sign requesting donations to help with the cost of the food and other supplies. Apparently Baptists aren't as good as Nazarenes at providing a chance for people to give an "offering."
The 55-inch screen thing is still bothersome, though again what got the NFL's attention was charging admission. I also happen to think that charging admission for an "outreach" event is a bit crass and perhaps overly optimistic, since a Baptist church is unlikely to have much of a beer selection for this beeriest of football games.