Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Game which Shall Not be Named

Churches have long used Super Bowl Sunday to bring in visitors and build fellowship among members. Some congregations embrace the day with church-sponsored Super Bowl parties and big-screen TVs. Perhaps even a talk about the Gospel at halftime. But many are scaling back in the face of legal threats from NFL lawyers.

There are legal restrictions that limit TV screens to 55 inches at public viewings. There is an exception for sports bars and restaurants if they regularly broadcast sporting events - but there's no exception for churches. Presenting the game along with a message, even at halftime, is forbidden, according to the league. Plus, using the phrase Super Bowl on church fliers or on Web sites is illegal because it suggests some NFL affiliation.

An intellectual-property attorney says the NFL is exaggerating their ownership rights by saying that any use is prohibited. The Wall Street Journal quotes the lawyer, who has worked with companies like Nike, as saying “trademarked phrases as the Super Bowl are allowed free use under the First Amendment as long as it doesn't damage the brand or imply an official endorsement. And it's unlikely anyone would believe a halftime testimonial reflects an NFL position."

• A congregation of New York deaf Christians cancelled plans to broadcast the game with closed captioning after learning the league might sue them.
• The NFL directly ordered Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis to stop plans to show the game on a 12-foot-wide screen last year. This time, instead of gathering in the sanctuary, the church has planned many smaller viewing parties in the homes of Sunday School teachers.
• Louisville, Kentucky’s Southeast Christian had planned for 700 people at last year’s party but a switch to a smaller, legal screen took the number down to 400. The church is holding this year's party at a Tex-Mex restaurant.
• The Keystone Hills Baptist Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma plans five house parties for church members. To avoid mentioning Super Bowl on the website, the church’s website: "You know the Super Sunday game we're talking about?...The one with all the expensive funny new commercials and that is usually a blowout by the 3rd quarter?...Yeah, that one."

Former NFL quarterback and now Democratic congressman Heath Shuler of North says that if the league keeps pushing churches, he plans to introduce a bill that would exempt churches from the screen-size restrictions. And the civil rights group The Rutherford Institute is threatening to sue the NFL on behalf of an Alabama church.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


An abortion clinic must turn over hundreds of medical records to a grand jury, according to a ruling by a Kansas judge. Dr. George Tiller tried to stop the subpoenas issued this month by the grand jury looking into whether his clinic conducted illegal late-term abortions. The grand jury investigation began when the Christian anti-abortion group Operation Rescue helped to gather enough signatures last year to call the panel into session.


Thomas Monson will be the new the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He takes over for Gordon Hinckley who died Sunday. The 80-year-old Monson was named one of the 12 apostles in 1963. His election will take place after Hinckley's funeral tomorrow. Monson has worked in every area of the church, from missionary work to welfare services, education to genealogy.


Do you view presidential candidates who cite Scripture in a positive light? Yes – 78%

Are you more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who sees the office as a privilege to serve others, with a responsibility to God?
Yes – 84% of 18-29 year-olds
Yes – 62% of 50-64 year-olds

Would you vote for a presidential candidate who does not believe in God?
No – 49%
Yes – 20%
Would not affect vote – 20%

Source: Zogby Poll


"I think it is much more likely that there could be space ships from outer space.. than a space god flew down bodily and you know who was the Son of God and you know had sex with a Palestinian woman..." – Bill Maher on his Friday night HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher


A federal appeals court has unanimously reversed a judge's decision and ruled that the free speech rights of a nonprofit organization were violated when the state refused to issue specialty license plates with the message Choose Life. Arizona's License Plate Commission had approved plates for police and firefighter groups as well as the Wildlife Conservation Council, before turning down the Arizona Life Coalition. Just a few days ago, a federal judge ordered the state of Missouri to issue Choose Life plates. In his ruling, he said state laws were too broad in allowing license-plate messages to be rejected because of their content.


The cathedral that served as Westminster Abbey in The Da Vinci Code movie is selling off props used in the film to raise money. The cathedral in Lincoln, England was picked after Westminster turned down an offer to take part in the screen adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling, Christian-themed mystery novel. Wall hangings and foam monuments are up for grabs until the end of March.


Hollywood is getting set to film a $20 million movie called The Aquarian Gospel. It speculates about what happened in Jesus’ life between the ages of 13 and 30. The film's producers will taut him as a wandering mystic inspired by eastern religions who travels across India, living in Buddhist monasteries. The role of Jesus will be played by several actors and some parts will be created by computer animated actors for the 2009 release.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The Evangelical vote was split among three candidates:
Mike Huckabee 30%
Mitt Romney 30%
John McCain 28%
The Republican pro-choice vote went this way in Florida:
John McCain 43%
Mitt Romney 26%
Rudy Giuliani 20%
Source: CBS News Florida exit poll


A new survey by The Barna Group asked Evangelicals whether they believe a particular one was a "major" problem facing the country. The research group says the findings show the evangelical vote is not splintering over issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

Abortion 94%
Personal Debt 81%
TV & Movie Content 79%
Homosexual lifestyles 75%
Immigration 72%
Global warming 33%

The findings were quite different when all American adults were included in the survey.

Poverty 78%
Personal Debt 78%
Immigration 60%
Global warming 57%
Abortion 50%
TV & Movie Content 45%
Homosexual lifestyles 35%
Political efforts of conservative Christians 23%


"Everywhere I go across this country, I'm hearing from evangelicals who may not agree with me or progressives on every single issue, but agree that poverty has no place in a world of plenty and hate has no place in a world of believers.” - Presidential candidate Barack Obama

Sunday, January 27, 2008


The second movie based on the C.S. Lewis' seven-part book series The Chronicles of Narnia will premiere on May 16. Prince Caspian is a follow up to the Disney’s 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It grossed nearly $750 million worldwide, helped along by cultural nods like a Saturday Night Live mock hip-hop ode called Lazy Sunday or The Chronic-what?-cles of Narnia which became a viral sensation online. The new film is still a family-safe PG and being shot in New Zealand. The third installment, The Dawn Treader, is due in 2010.


The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has died at his apartment in downtown Salt Lake City. Gordon Hinckley was 97 years old. He was made the 15th president of the Mormon Church in 1995. Church presidents serve until their deaths.


A series of short videos put out by Focus on the Family (founded by James Dobson) mentions that presidential candidate Mitt Romney has "acknowledged Mormonism is not a Christian faith” - despite the fact Romney has said his church insists it is Christian. The political arm of Focus points out that Romney's campaign has not asked for a retraction. The video is posted on Focus Action Web site ( which averages nearly a quarter million hits each month.


Outspoken Christian and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton secured the best result of her professional surfing career this weekend at Roxy Pro World Qualifying Series. The 17-year-old Hawaiian, who lost her left arm to a tiger shark just over four years ago advanced to the semi-finals along with three other surfers. But her run against some of the world's top professionals came to an end at Woolamai Beach, Australia when she was eliminated after not finding any good waves in the heat. Hamilton received $2,000 for tying for third place.


The Presbyterian Foundation is getting a million dollar cash donation from Mark Hostetter and Boston’s Alexander N. Habib Foundation. The money will be used to create the Donald A. Hostetter Endowment Fund that will support camp and conference outreach programs of the Presbyterian Church, USA.