A church on Indianapolis' northwest side went ahead with its plan to show the Super Bowl on a projection screen Sunday, despite a warning from the NFL not to do so.
About 400 Colts fans were at Second Baptist Church to watch the game,
6News' Cheryl Jackson
"The numbers indicated strong support to take a stand and say, 'NFL, we're most committed to God,'" said the Rev. David Greene, Second Baptist's pastor.
The decision to proceed with the plan came after the NFL told a different Indianapolis church not to use a wall projector to show the game, citing copyright laws.
Greene, said in a press release and a separate letter to his congregation that the church's Super Bowl event was a way to minister to people, and that the NFL shouldn't be able to stop it.
"The NFL implied that it has a problem with the venue and medium that local churches conduct ministry," Greene said in the news release. "We want to save souls by any means necessary. Football, traditional service, street ministry -- it doesn't matter."
"All we want to do is increase fellowship with believers and demonstrate true love to people that don't know Christ."
In the letter to the congregation, Greene said that the NFL doesn't want churches to host Super Bowl gatherings, though "people can gather at sports bars and other secular locations with no problem."
"I believe that God's people have to take a stand," Greene said in the letter. "If the church continues to compromise with the world, it will soon have no influence on the world that God has instructed us to reach in His Great Commission as directed in St. Matthew 29:18-20."
Earlier this week, the NFL, having spotted a Web site promoting a Super Bowl gathering at Indianapolis' Fall Creek Baptist Church, told that church that it couldn't use a wall projector to show the game. The NFL's stance prompted many churches across the country to cancel their planned Super Bowl events.
The NFL said the law generally limits Super Bowl showings to one TV no bigger than 55 inches.
Last week, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl. An exception is made for sports bars and other businesses that show televised sports as a part of their everyday operations.
"We have contracts with our (TV) networks to provide free over-the-air television for people at home," Aiello said. "The network economics are based on television ratings and at-home viewing. Out-of-home viewing is not measured by Nielsen."
It is also the reason no mass viewings were planned in large arenas like the RCA Dome or Conseco Fieldhouse.
On Friday, an NFL statement expanded on Aiello's explanation, saying the league's policy is "nothing new."
"We are simply following copyright law and have done so with regard to any type of commercial establishment including hotels, theaters, museums, schools, arenas and others," the statement said.
The statement said the NFL "has absolutely no objection to churches and others hosting Super Bowl viewing parties as long as they do not charge admission and show the game on a television of the type commonly used at home."
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