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Today's Top Ten

It's been a while since we've updated, so we'll give you more than the usual five.

1. NFL lawyers searching church web sites for copyright infringements
Like many churches, Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis was planning a group viewing of the Super Bowl. Its "Super Bowl Bash" was to include an evangelistic element: a video of Colts coach Tony Dungy and several of his players talking about Jesus.

NFL lawyers found the announcement on the church's website and FedEx'ed a cease-and-desist order. The church's large screen (only screens 55 inches and smaller are allowed), use of the words "Super Bowl," and other plans violated copyright laws, the lawyers said. So does the evangelistic video. NFL assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies wrote to the congregation, according to The Indianapolis Star: "While this may be a noble message, we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content."

There's no word on how many other churches have been contacted by the NFL, or whether Lovie Smith's own church, which was planning to show the game on a projection screen to up to 1,000 people, has special dispensation. But given the quotes from multiple NFL representatives in the Star article, this isn't just the case of one overzealous attorney. This may be the end of a very common annual church practice across the country. Already, some churches are scrambling to cancel or change Sunday's events. Others say they'll keep holding events until they get their own letter from NFL attorneys.

2. Episcopal Diocese of Virginia sues 11 departing churches Bishop Peter Lee also recently declared the churches abandoned property and prohibited the priests from ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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