The Common Good

Super Bowl XLVI: Real Battles Off the Field

Sojomail - February 2, 2012

 QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Loyalty that hides problematic conduct is a false loyalty, for it elevates reputation over reality, and esteems image over character. Though we may believe we are acting to protect the institution, in reality we do the institution and individuals far greater damage …” - Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, in an e-mail sent to students and employees reminding them of their obligation to report cases of suspected abuse and other questionable conduct. (Source: South Bend Tribune)

+ Sign up to receive "Verse and Voice" - our daily quote and Bible verse e-mail

 GUEST COMMENTARY by Duane Shank

Super Bowl XLVI: Real Battles Off the Field

Get a free trial issue of Sojourners Get a free issue of Sojourners
Donate to Support Sojourners
Donate to support
Sojourners

America’s annual sports extravaganza, the pro football Super Bowl, will be played Sunday in Indianapolis, IN. And everything about it becomes a “super” excess.

Television commercials this year cost $3.5 million for a 30-second spot during the game's broadcast, which has become the most-viewed show on television. Last year, an estimated 111 million people tuned in to watch the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Superbowl XLV, setting a new viewership record for a single event. In fact, of the five most watched events in U.S. television history, four are Super Bowl games (the fifth was the final episode of M*A*S*H* in 1983). Last year, $87.5 million was legally wagered on Super Bowl XLV, mostly via Las Vegas, and the amount is expected to be even higher this year.

Given the game's role as the preeminent icon of American popular sports culture, it’s not surprising that the struggles and problems of the larger society intrude on Super Bowl Sunday. Two new laws were signed this week by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels — one good and one bad — that directly relate to this Sunday's game.

First, the good. The seamy underside of the Super Bowl is the increase in sex trafficking that accompanies it. Like any large gathering of people, it attracts traffickers peddling their victims, many of them minors.

Over the last few weeks, 11 orders of Catholic sisters, joined by students, compiled a list of the managers at 220 hotels in the Indianapolis area. They then began calling, asking questions to see if the managers were aware of the sex trafficking issue and whether they wanted materials to help educate their staffs. The information included how to recognize the signs of trafficking, and whom to contact if it is suspected. Two-hundred managers answered questions; 99 asked for materials, while 45 others already had trained or planned to educated their staffs about trafficking.

Another citizen effort is training cab drivers about how to recognize sex traffickers. Valerie Schmitt, coordinator of a human-trafficking outreach effort, told cabdrivers, “You’re our eyes and our ears ... You meet a lot of people and overhear a lot of conversations that might be helpful in recognizing someone involved in [sex] trafficking.”

The Indiana state government also responded. On Tuesday, Daniels signed into law legislation designed to tighten loopholes that have made the prosecution of traffickers difficult in the past. The new law makes “recruiting, transporting or harboring anyone younger than 16 for prostitution or other sexual conduct a felony punishable by 20 to 50 years in prison.”

Abigail Kuzma, the Indiana attorney general’s designee on an Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans taskforce, said: "We have to be alert to protect these children. We probably will never know how many people are trafficked here because it's so easy to hide the victims.”

I applaud the efforts of both community activists and the state government. Trafficking is one of the most insidious plagues of our society, with an estimated 100,000 American children victimized through prostitution each year. It will take continued cooperation between citizens’ groups and government to stop it.

Second, the bad. On Wednesday, Indiana's governor also signed a so-called “right to work” law, which makes it illegal to negotiate bargaining agreements that require workers to pay union dues and for unions to collect dues from non-members. It’s the latest state attempt to reduce or eliminate collective bargaining by workers, and the legislation predictably has produced strong opposition from organized labor.

Earlier in the day, following final passage of the legislation by the state senate, thousands of protesters who had been demonstrating at the statehouse marched to the Super Bowl Village near Lucas Oil Stadium, the site of Sunday’s game. Union leaders have hinted at the possibility of actions related to the game, perhaps including a rally at the stadium and leafleting game attendees on Sunday.

Their possible trump card is the NFL Players’ Association. At the “media day” this week, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, explained the union’s opposition to the law, noting its own struggle with management during a lockout last summer.

“When it comes to issues like right to work legislation, and what we believe is the rightful and important ability to unify for collective action, anywhere there is a fight over that fundamental right to build teams among workers, that’s where we’re going to be,” Smith said. “The lockout taught us an important lesson about our ability to stay together. While we’re out here, we’re going to make sure the folks who work for a living and unions they belong to know we appreciate them, we appreciate the strength they gave us for our fight.”

So, if you’re watching Super Bowl XLVI, cheering your team to victory, please also remember the victims of trafficking and the rights of workers. Both deserve our whole-hearted support.

And as for the game itself, with thanks to my colleague James Colten, just remember: God is neither a New York Giant, nor a New England Patriot.

Duane Shank is Senior Policy Advisor for Sojourners. Follow Duane on Twitter @DShankDC.

E-mailE-mail this article to friends
FacebookShare this article on Facebook
CommentComment on this article on the God's Politics Blog


 ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Collateral Murder and Preemptive Love
by Shane Claiborne

I can't help but think the early Christians who talked about "practicing resurrection everyday" must be smiling down on these Preemptive Love friends in Iraq. And I can't help but think the Jesus who wept over Jerusalem because it "didn't know the things that make for peace" must still be weeping over our world so riddled with violence.
+ Click to continue

What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism
by Tim King

Taking a serious look at the Bible means acknowledging that it has a lot to say about responsibility and work. For example, as a Christian I look at what Paul told the Thessalonians when he said the one who will not work should not eat. But, we also need to take seriously all of the laws, teachings, and admonitions that show the limits of any human institution or system.
+ Click to continue

Tony Campolo: Newt's Surprising Evangelical Fan Base
by Tony Campolo

Now Mr. Gingrich has been converted to Catholicism, and has, as part of his conversion, confessed his sin and asked for God's forgiveness. Evangelicals will say that this being the case we should forgive, forget and move on "to other concerns." I have to ask, however, why they didn't do this when a Democratic president repented of his sin?
+ Click to continue

Manners and Morals
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

When our parents teach us at a very young age to say the magic words — please and thank you — they give us our first lessons in morality. Manners are the first step to morality. Etiquette is the first gesture of ethics. Manner and morals derive from the mores of a society. Etiquette derives from the ethos and ethics of a society.
+ Click to continue

On Asperger Syndrome and Broken Hearts
by Christian Piatt

Our son, Mattias, is eight years old. Everyone thinks their kid is special, and in a lot of ways, he's just a regular kid. He loves fart jokes, enjoys riding his scooter and is obsessed with video games. But we've known he was different from a very early age.
+ Click to continue

Our Budget-Busting Foreign Policy Disconnect
by Aaron Taylor

A recent Gallup poll shows that 81 percent of Americans want the President to be focused on domestic issues, while 9 percent say they want him to focus on foreign policy issues. Not too surprising ... until you consider that the fastest growing domestic priority is the deficit (69 percent). The lopsided number between the importance of the deficit and the importance of foreign policy is the first clue that, for most Americans, there's a disconnect between domestic policy and foreign policy.
+ Click to continue

 SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

+ Sign up to receive our "Daily Digest" e-mail - the latest headlines on critical issues

Top Stories:
National Prayer Breakfast Gets A Rival: The People's Prayer Breakfast
The Huffington Post
The National Prayer Breakfast has been protested in past years as a symbol of Washington influence and for its alleged ties to violent anti-gay legislation in Uganda, but the event draws a mix of liberal and conservative clergy and policymakers. For example, Jim Wallis, the well-known evangelical who is founder of the progressive Christian organization Sojourners, plans to attend the Hilton breakfast. But his organization, which runs a magazine by the same name, is also sending a reporter to the People's Prayer Breakfast.

Super Bowl a Time to Remember Tim Tebow Wasn’t the Only Example of Faith This NFL Season
The Washington Post
Sojourners magazine put together a pretty good roundup of answers to the question [what is an evangelical], but there’s another source for another answer that’s been on TV most Sunday afternoons. One actually doesn’t have to look too much farther than the NFL this past year for a few good specimens of evangelicals.

Is the GOP Dependent on Evangelicals in the 2012 Election?
Fox News
Lisa Sharon Harper and David Innes discuss their book, 'Left Right & Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics'.

Why Mark Driscoll Needs an Elephant
Patheos
[Jim Wallis] has been a major leader of the liberal wing of Christian evangelicalism. He’s been significant player in Church leadership, has been on the evening news a lot, has spoken before thousands of people on countless occasions, and he helped negotiate a truce between the Bloods and the Crips. Moreover, the guy has been lifting weights for most of his adult life and could bench-press Mark several times. Jim’s burly.

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.

 
 

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!
 
 
 
  

Chief Executive Officer Ten Thousand Villages seeks values-driven CEO to lead North America’s top fair trade retailer. To view full job description click here. Email cover letter and resume to CEOsearch@tenthousandvillages.com
 

Creighton University, a Jesuit, Catholic University in Omaha, Nebraska, is seeking a Director for its Creighton Center for Service and Justice. Experience of service, Ignatian Spirituality, supervision & administration required. Click here to apply.
 

“Discipleship Year Program” in DC offers year in Intentional Christian Community, work in a social justice ministry and classes at the Servant Leadership School. Stipend/Health Insurance provided. Contact: dlongenecker@slschool.org.
 

Scared to talk politics in church? Get the conversation going in your small group with Sojourners’ discussion guides. Lots of topics and great talking points on challenging aspects of social justice. Learn more.

 

  
 


Click Here!
 

GIVE TO SOJOURNERS: Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

GET THE MAGAZINE: Subscribe today

CONTACT US: General inquiries: sojourners@sojo.net | Advertising: advertising@sojo.net | About Us

PRIVACY NOTICE: Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.