Beren Academy is a modest sized school in southwest Houston, one that values both academics and athletics. This year their boys basketball team has experienced a successful run through the state basketball playoffs of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). They dominated their quarterfinal opponent, Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, 69-42, advancing to the state semifinals this Friday evening in Mansfield. It is a game they will never play. You see, Beren Academy is an Orthodox Jewish school, and the game is scheduled for the Sabbath.
Coach Chris Cole readily admits that school administrators knew that this was a possible outcome for the team. Beren is only in its second year in TAPPS after competing as an independent in sports. Led by a slippery point guard and a skilled post player with a deft outside touch, the Stars were clearly the best team in their district, and they have been untested so far in the playoffs. Despite the fact that the semifinal and final games of the state championship have long been scheduled during the 24-hour period in which the Stars are unable to play, a past exception made for a Seventh-Day Adventist school in the state soccer tournament gave Coach Cole and his team hope that accommodations could be made.
This story has been picked up by the major newspapers and ESPN, so it is not my intention to belabor the issues involved. This story is somewhat personal because my son plays basketball in the same district as Beren, and the Stars were the only team in the district to defeat his school twice. The district is made up of four Christian schools and Beren. All of the district schools readily adjusted their schedules so that games against Beren could be played on Thursday night instead of Friday night. Coach Cole has been outspoken in his appreciation of the schools’ flexibility, as well of that of their quarterfinal opponent.
There are big problems in the world, and this does not qualify as a big problem. But there is a principle at stake. From Beren’s perspective it is a principle of honoring the Sabbath. But from most people’s perspective, it is an issue of justice. Perhaps Beren should bear some additional cost if arrangements have to be made that inconvenience other schools. But it does not seem like that cost should include not competing for a state championship.
TAPPS was in the news a year ago for its decision to oust Allen Academy, a Bryan private school, because of questions regarding allegedly improper tuition breaks to recruit players. Rather than accept probation from TAPPS, Allen joined an alternative private school association, the Texas Christian Athletic League, and has won the last two TCAL state boys basketball titles. But the decision made by TAPPS in that case was arguably a defense of the integrity of the association, one intended to insure fairness in competition.
This situation is different. The only thing TAPPS is really protecting is convenience, and perhaps the pocketbooks of TAPPS members. It is not impossible to imagine a scenario by which TAPPS could find an alternative location for an early afternoon basketball game Friday Then, if Beren makes the finals, the game could be played Saturday night at 8 p.m., immediately following the last game of the day on the current schedule.
Is there a religious freedom issue here? Probably? Is there a religious accommodation issue? Certainly. But this is not about legalities; this is an opportunity for TAPPS to demonstrate something that you would think would come readily to an association that is primarily made up of schools that are explicitly identified with Jesus Christ—grace.
TAPPS cannot win this dispute in the court of public opinion, but that is not why they ought to let those Beren boys play. They ought to do it on priniciple. They ought to do it as a demonstration of respect for the convictions by which Beren unapologetically operates.
But, most of all, they ought to do it because it is the right thing to do.
This is an religious discrimination issue. TAPPS has a policy of not scheduling games on Sunday because it is a day of worship for Christian’s, i.e. the Christian Sabbath. There would be no issue if it were not for this policy. Jews and Seventh Day Adventists observe a different day as their Sabbath, one that, like Christians, precludes them from playing basketball on what is set aside as a holy day. We are living in a pluralistic, diverse society. TAPPS has to change the way it does business to accomodate and respect all faiths.
Wow, what a serious story. I think there is some doing the right thing opportunities by TAPPS. Aren’t these schools about respect and dignity and teaching their kids the same?
I enjoyed your perspective very much and agree whole-heartedly. Just one thing you might like to know in response to your comment about TAPPS pocket book if a schedule change was made; Beren offered to pay for any costs in rescheduling and this is mentioned in some of the news articles. It seems that TAPPS had nothing to lose and everything to gain by letting Beren play.
My initial reaction is agreement with Dr. Shaub concerning the need for TAPPS to practice what it preaches. Anybody who has ever experienced success in sports knows the amount of effort, both individually and collectively, it takes to make a playoff run. I would say nothing hurts worse than a loss that ends those playoff runs, but I can’t imagine not even having the opportunity to see how it plays out.
That being said, I personally believe playing basketball on the Sabbath is completely acceptable. Regardless of your religion and respective Sabbath day, I humbly think God did not intend for any particular day to exceptionally more Holy than others. Instead, I think He meant that at least once a week, we should make an effort to step away from the hustle and bustle of life and purposefully spend time in worship bringing glory to Him. And there is certainly a way for Beren to play basketball while ensuring all the glory goes to God.
I agree with your perspective to let the boys play. If what Anne says is correct (that no financial obligations will be put on TAPPS), then it seems the only reason TAPPS would not reschedule was out of control issues. I particularly liked your comparison of the issue to grace. TAPPS should make accommodations in order to teach the kids that “it’s not all about you” in life, as well as, having respect for people of all different backgrounds. Regardless of all the arguments one could make, at the end of the day, it simply is just the right thing to do.
From a teleological perspective, TAPPS really wouldn’t lose much if it agrees with Beren. Other district schools can adjust their schedules and from Anne’s comment, Beren is willing to pay for cost of rescheduling. But if TAPPS refuses, it may lose Beren, and because it is primarily made up of schools that are explicitly identified with Jesus Christ, TAPPS may hurt its own values.
However, after all, there are things to do without counting. Respect for religious variety is one.
To me this issue has an easy answer. Accomodations are made for Christian schools who cannot play games on their holy days, and the same should be made for the Beren team. Besides the issue of not respecting religious variety, as was mentioned in a post above, it also goes against the whole point of a sports championship. If the Beren team has to forfeit due to the game being scheduled on their Sabbath day, the team who advances to the championship will be decided without a fair game. In addition, I agree with your point mentioned above about TAPPS needing to stand up for the principles it claims to support through Christianity, namely grace. It would be hypocritical to not be accomodating to a school that is merely sticking to its religious principles. I hope that TAPPS realizes it will have more to lose by refusing to reschedule the game than the mere inconvenience it would cause to push the game to another day.
I think that accommodations should be made for Beren to play on a different day, mainly because it is their pursuit to honor God on the Sabbath. However, I agree with what Logan said about taking time to pursue God’s glory each week, regardless of the day or even the manner in which we make our day holy.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)
While I don’t personally see anything wrong with playing basketball on the Sabbath, if the Beren players don’t feel they can honor God through it, then their wish to play on a different day should be honored.
This situation would give TAPPS a great opportunity to demonstrate its acceptance of other cultures and belief systems to the many students in the association. Many high school students only interact with a small group of people, and seeing the conference administration being so accomodating of a team that has obviously earned the right to play in the state tournament would send the message to the students that doing the right thing includes being accepting of other groups and what is important to them. By emphasizing how important diversity is, TAPPS could move forward from this situation where they seem to be unaccepting of the Beren team.
I believe that there really shouldn’t be much thought behind the decision. What difference would it make if the game was simply moved to be Saturday? In Luke 6:31, the Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Many Christians would feel the same way if the game was scheduled to be played on Sunday when Sunday should be a day of rest, and they would be very appreciative of a change in day for that game. Given that fact and the fact that TAPPS is mainly comprised of Christian schools, the answer is obvious: simply move the game. TAPPS has a chance to show grace and love to someone else.
I think it is a shame that the game is not being moved. The other schools don’t play on Sunday, apparently because it is their Sabbath day. They should be able to move the date so that the appropriate teams can play.
That being said, maybe there are costs to moving the game that we do not know about. The game has been on the schedule for a long time and the coach also said that the school administrators knew this was a possibility. The players and team have a choice; either play or forfeit. So be it. The schedule is a schedule. If it cannot be moved it cannot be moved and the team has to either play or forfeit, regardless of their feelings on the matter. After all, they go to school on Friday right? I don’t see how this is any different.
I agree with many of the comments above about letting the boys play. As Anne stated above, no financial obligations will be put on TAPPS, so then it seems unreasonable that TAPPS would not reschedule the game. It would be unfortunate for the Beren Team to lose out on a wonderful opportunity after all the effort and time they put in. If TAPPS accommodates Christian schools by not scheduling games on Sundays, then why should they not also do the same for Beren? There should be no reason to treat these schools differently. We should respect people’s religions if we expect them to respect our own.
I followed this story whenever it was first released, and I had a very similar viewpoint of the issue. In my opinion, TAPPS has let their own convenience outweigh another’s religious views. It is not just a question as to which is more important, but it is apparent to me that there are far less consequences for the TAPPS to reschedule the game away from the Sabbath.
From what I am understanding, the only consequences for TAPPS to reschedule would be convenience to the other team and possible extra costs to change location/referees. However, for the alternative, they could ruin their reputation as a reputable institution and ultimately cause a likely contender a championship. The right thing to do would be to allow the teams to play on another day and to save themselves from the likely consequences they would face.
Like many others who have commented before me, I agree that efforts should be made to reschedule the TAPPS semi-final game, which would allow Beren to rightfully compete. I went to a TAPPS high school, and the majority of the schools in my district were Catholic, but there were non-Catholic Christian schools as well. With this mix of religions, all efforts were made to ensure that we never had games on Catholic holy days, such as Ash Wednesday and All Saints. For these accommodations to be made, catering to one specific religion, it is completely unfair and unjust that accommodations are not made for Beren as well. If it is not an issue of additional cost, then TAPPS should show grace and reschedule to early Friday afternoon before Sabbath begins.
I too believe this is an issue of religious discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employement. It also requires employers to reasonably accomodate the religious practices of employees unless this would cause an undue hardship on the employer. If Beren really did offer to pay for all additional cost of rescheduling, this would not impose any undue hardship on TAPPS. As a result, i believe that TAPPS is in violation of Title VII.
I also humbly agree with Logan’s viewpoint that God does not intend to restrict us to a specific sabbath day. I believe that the Lord wants us to make time to take a step back from the normal routine of life to remind ouselves of who God is, what He has done for us, and to praise Him for it. That being said, even if Beren were to play on Friday, they can do it for the glory of the Lord.
I believe that as you described it, “Grace” is exactly what is needed with a situation like this. I have been a Young Life leader at Allen Academy (the school in Bryan mentioned above) for the last four years. I have not only seen them go through the transition from TAPPS to TCAL, but I have lived life with many of the schools athletes whom this change has affected. It’s really easy to keep the conversation at a high level talking about the rules of TAPPS, but I believe that we must remember to focus on the kids. If changing the day of the state game gives 15 high school guys the chance to live the moment they have been dreaming of all season, I think they could find a way to make it happen. I know Money is always an issue with changing venues, but from my experience, TAPPS schools aren’t very big, and with only 2 schools remaining, it wouldn’t believe it to be very hard to find a suitable venue. My focus is on the kids, they have earned the right to make it this far, they should make the necessary accommodations.
While I attended a public school, not subject to speculation on what days of the week you played (Tuesdays and Fridays), I would find it bitter sweet to win the final and doubt the legitimacy of the title due to the lack of accommodations for a certain team. They ousted Allen Academy a year ago to insure fairness of competition, and that same principle of fairness should be applied to this situation. The victory of a team should be decided on the basketball court, not the court of public opinion.
By not letting the Beren boys play in the championship games, TAPPS will not only be demonstrating a lack of grace, but they will also be allowing another team to advance even though they did not earn the right to do so. Championships allow for “the best” teams to compete and only leave one winner. At the end of the day, regardless of any other factor, the winner, in terms of a title, is determined by who played the game better. By not allowing the Beren boys to play, TAPPS could be altering the outcome of the championship title. Doesn’t TAPPS, being an organization centered around sports, owe it to the other four schools in the league to let the best team win? Wouldn’t the other teams, if put in a similar scenario, hope to be able to play in a game that they earned the right to play in? As Beren has offered to fund any costs associated with changing the schedule, with minor alterations to the scheduling of the games, TAPPS could show compassion, grace, and respect in allowing the team that has earned the right to play, play.
I agree to reschedule the TAPPS game. Since there were Catholic and non-Catholic Christian schools at that area, it is completely unfair that not consider Beren. I think TAPPS should show their care and reschedule the game before Sabbath begins. religion issue is always a tough topic, but no matter we believe one religion or not, we should provide respect to it.
I attended a TAPPS grade school and high school, and I know the majority of schools within the conference are of a Christian denomination. As Erin mentioned above, TAPPS always accommodated Catholic holy days without any contest. The TAPPS Constitution states its purpose is “to foster a spirit of fair play, good fellowship, true sportsmanship, and wholesome competition.” These principles in the TAPPS Constitution emphasize treating others equally which is reflected in the Christianity-based curriculum at its member schools. Where is the fairness and equality in denying Beren Academy a chance to reschedule its game? TAPPS had the opportunity to set an example of religious tolerance and acceptance for the students within its conference by allowing Beren Academy to move the game. TAPPS should have shown compassion and respect toward Beren Academy’s situation and, within in reason, accommodated them.
TAPPS needs to accomodate for the school. Texas public high schools do not allow extra-curricular activity to take place on Sunday’s without a special exemption. Adjustments should be made to let all schools be eligible for play. It would be a shame to see kids work an entire season only to be shutout because of sticking to religious roots.
My brother attended a TAPPS school in Dallas and I know firsthand that those schools are able to make exceptions for religous holidays. It is definitely an issue that should be brought to the board to be examined and to help make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again. I would assume that Beren made it known at the beginning of the season that they would not be playing on religous holidays so the district should have already known about the problem from the beginning.
The outcome of this whole battle was that there were parents who decided that they would sue TAPPS if they did not let them play. Their case was that in previous years, TAPPS had changed a game to accomodate a Christian School, but they were not applying that rule to the Jewish school, Beren. They joined the conference because the people in charge promised that they would not have Friday night/ Saturday games. They were aware of the Jewish Sabbath, but it seems they still planned an event assuming that Beren would not make it to the playoffs. In the end, they did change the times to Saturday night, but it seemed more of the motive to avoid a lawsuit rather than adhere to a Religious conflict. It showed more of the legal environment of our society, rather than the respect of other Religions. Unfortunately, they ended up losing the game, but I believe they still won by being allowed to play.
I’m glad to hear that TAPPS eventually moved the game to allow Beren to play in the game. However, it is upsetting to think that their motive for moving the game was to avoid possible litigation. In my opinion, they should have moved the game in order to respect the Sabbath and provide Beren the same opportunity that they would a Christian school. I agree with the concept that we can honor God in any activity we particiate in, but I also feel that teams with religious affiliations should be respected and given the same opportunity to compete when conflicts arise with Religious holidays.
As Ellen noted above, this situation displayed the fear of legal matters in our society instead of the desire to do what is right. In my opinion, TAPPS took a reactive approach to solving the problem instead of being proactive to prevent this from ever happening.
I think that TAPPS should do everything in there power to have the game moved to another day so that the boys would be able to play. Playing sports growing up, I understand how the boys must feel about not being able to play the game. I really respect them that they will not play because of their religious beliefs. I think because of this alone TAPPS should assist in moving the game to another day, especially if what Anne said above is true and they would not incur any additional cost. While in the end they did move the game to Saturday night, to me it seems they only did this because of the publicity that this was getting. Society would look down on TAPPS if they did not move the game, especially after the attention this story gathered across the U.S. I am glad that they were able to make the game Saturday but it seems that it was the right decision in the first place rather than doing it after the sports nation was watching.
TAPPS should have changed the date of the game at the first request. Since TAPPS is an organization for students, the people leading the organization should realize that they are supposed to be role models for the players. What kind of message does that send to the players if TAPPS accommodates one religion and not the other? It is important for the students to learn that everyone’s views should be respected, even if they are the minority in the situation. Like Dr. Shaub said, TAPPS should have made the right decision. Changing the time of the game would have shown students that even though it may be easier to ignore a problem (leave the game at the scheduled time), it is always better to do the right thing.
I believe that TAPPS should have made a better ethical decision and changed the date of the game. I understand that schedules are set, and that if they make accommodations for one team, then there is pressure to treat the rest fairly, but sometimes there are exceptions to the rule. In a case of an entire team not playing in the championship game (which they earned the right to fair and square), I would think the circumstances and available options would be weighed. I do agree that the Sabbath is a Holy day, and we as Texans and Americans honor other’s religious beliefs, but as Logan said, God doesn’t specify which day is honored as the Sabbath. There is compromise to be had here, but I think TAPPS should have been the bigger “man” and moved the game one day. It would have been the right thing to do.
Why is it that in prior years, an exception was made for a Seventh-Day Adventist school and Beren Academy was denied this same opportunity? On what grounds was this decision made and why couldn’t the game be pushed back one day? After reading this article, I was reminded of our judicial system and how common law judgments are frequently based on judicial precedent. Judges often follow previous rulings when court cases have very similar circumstances to maintain consistency, which can be related to this particular headline. An exception was made in prior years for religious purposes, which ultimately created a standard for future decisions in similar cases. Unfortunately, TAPPS did not follow this standard and we are left to wonder, why not? This was a very passionate and talented group of young men who deserved the same opportunities as those before them…a chance to compete. TAPPS should have shown these boys some mercy, and the game should have been re-scheduled.
I am glad to hear that the game was moved to accommodate Beren. However, I am disappointed that this was ever even a question. TAPPS should have agreed to work with the school from the beginning, and I think it speaks volumes that they only changed the date after threatened litigation. This is an issue of discrimination and insensitivity. The other schools and TAPPS should have been understanding of the situation and eager to work with Beren to ensure fairness for everyone involved. Especially if an exception had been made in prior years, the same treatment should have been given to Beren initially.
There is no question that TAPPS should let Beren play the game. Is it fair to the other school to have to reschedule the game? No, probably not. But obviously, since the other schools in the district made accommodations to play on Thursday and not Friday, then I really don’t think that the schools would mind rescheduling a game as important as this one. Also, TAPPS should think of the boys on that basketball team. I could not imagine being told that I could not compete for a championship in which I had fully deserved to compete. At the end of the day, the rules would probably point to Beren losing on a forfeit. But TAPPS should consider the people involved in the issue. If they do that, then rescheduling the game would be a no brainer.
I agree that it should be accepted on principle alone, based on doing the right thing, to allow Beren the chance to recognize their holy day and compete around that day. If other schools had already been understanding of the religious practices of the school, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind rescheduling such an important game. Beren could be accommodating as well in rescheduling for a day not far off from the actual scheduled game day. Sure it’s an inconvenience for the opponent, but only a minor one. And seeing as how the team is clearly a contender, there is no good reason for forcing the game to be “played” on the current scheduled day.
I agree with Dr. Shaub and many of the other people who have commented on the post about the kids being able to play. I think this is an especially sensitive subject considering the Christian based schools. If anything this should have never been an issue about rescheduling. TAPPS, based on their decision to oust Allen Academy, seems like it values a fair playing field. So why don’t they just take the time and effort to move the game? It must have been much more of a hassle to kick Allen Academy out, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
On another note, if the game isn’t rescheduled then what does that teach the children? They wouldn’t even get the chance to prove themselves; they would receive their title, or no title, by default. They won’t get the chance to realize what it means to work as hard as you can to reach a goal, but will take away that you can win by a technicality. It makes the whole ordeal very bittersweet.
This is so sad. Having won a state championship in high school, my team would have been heartbroken if we wouldn’t have got to play because some aspect of our religion didn’t allow it. We were all very religious and would have definitely chosen our religion over the game. It’s a shame that this could be the case for Beren Academy.
TAPPS should move the game. Its only fair. If I was the team that got to play instead of Beren because of the sabbath, I wouldn’t feel good about it at all. I also wouldn’t feel like I was the best team out there even if we won because we shouldn’t have been there.
The integrity of the championship game is diminished by not moving the championship game to allow for the Beren team to rightfully attend. If the best teams in the league aren’t the teams that are playing in the championship game, then it should really be called an “almost-championship game”.
On top of this issue, there is an issue of justice. Why would one faith be treated differently than another? It seems there might be hidden motives here. I just can’t understand why the other schools would have been so willing to reschedule regular season games to Thursday night, but not the final championship game. Is the cost of rescheduling really the reason why this was ever an issue at all? Justice is about treating each other fairly, the way that you would want to be treated. So by not rescheduling the championship game to allow for the Beren boys to observe their faith, the Christian schools shouldn’t object if games are scheduled during church service on Sunday morning.
I commend Beren for adhering to their principles set by the Jewish faith. That could not have been easy to do. The issue here was not about basketball, but not letting anything compromise their beliefs. I think all of us who practice any sort of faith (or in the workplace) are all to willing to compromise our beliefs to avoid conflict or stay comfortable. We can all learn a lesson from them.
I remember reading this on ESPN.com and being struck by the same ideas as the majority of the people who commented on here and there, “Really? You can’t move it one day?”
“TAPPS cannot win this dispute in the court of public opinion, but that is not why they ought to let those Beren boys play. They ought to do it on priniciple. They ought to do it as a demonstration of respect for the convictions by which Beren unapologetically operates.”
These three sentences from your column really stuck with me the most. There are a few points of it that I believe are pushed to the side andin most cases ignored in today’s world. The first of which being, doing things based off principle instead of because they know it will make them look good. Would TAPPS have moved the game if the article and story wasn’t all over the news? We don’t know. But I do know tat they should have moved it off principle as soon as it became an issue.
The other part of that quote that stuck with me was the part about how Beren “unapologetically operates.” Too often we are asked to sacrifice what we believe in for the convience of a situation or so that things don’t get “akward.” I am happy to see Beren standing up for what they believe in, even if it does not make them the most popular school in the district/city/country.
When this story first broke on our internship, I was blown away and dumbfounded. One word instantly stuck in my mind, and that word still remains in my mind today: hypocrisy. How can a league called the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, one that claims to respect, cater to, and hopefully even revere schools built upon faith display such stubbornness and self-interest. I understand that rescheduling games can be an ‘inconvenience’ but at what point does the Golden Rule come into play? Kudos to Beren Academy for upholding the virtues of humility, discipline, and gratitude. While they might not have won the state championship, they won a lot more in my book: respect.
When I heard of this story, I found it very interesting. It seems that this should be a non-issue for TAPPS, and they should accommodate for the Beren team. With the school already being outspoken about their religious priorities, it’s not like this issue “crept up” on the league. It’s a shame that this is in the news, as it highlights the lack of grace of a faith-based school system. My hope is the game will be rescheduled, proving that grace and understanding outweighs giving what some would consider “just” treatment.
I was shocked when I first heard about this story. It seems to me that there shouldn’t even be an issue at all, and the game should be rescheduled for a day earlier or later. I find it hard to believe that many people would object. I applaud the schools in Beren’s district for making arrangements to play on a different day, simply because everyone deserves to play. It really should be no different than not having games on a sunday. Just because Friday is what everyone is used to and is the more “convenient” option, doesn’t mean the athletes from Beren shouldn’t get the same opportunity to play. Those kids have worked hard all season and it’s a shame for it to end without even getting the chance to play.
There is no question that TAPPS should move the day of the game to another day. If for some reason it creates some sort of extreme inconvenience to the other team or to TAPPS, have Beren pay the marginal difference it created. Beren should teach their kids to fight for what they believe it and pursue another day for basketball. Sure, some people will argue that there shouldn’t be a problem with playing a basketball game on the Sabbath, but if that’s how Beren’s families and society treats that day then TAPPS should be respectful. TAPPS would be showing unfavorable treatment to the Orthodox Jewish schools if a date was not rescheduled.
This is so upsetting. TAPPS should demonstrate their Christian believes by changing the time the game is held. Maybe TAPPS could claim that they are using the Categorical Imperative by not moving the game time because if the time and location changed, then this could inconvenience the players, their families, fans, and then the people who work at the new location of the game, but as you have said Dr. Shaub, the right thing to do is change the time of the game. Furthermore, because TAPPS works with mostly Christian schools, it appears that TAPPS could be biased towards Beren because they are not Christian. TAPPS should follow the Golden Rule and change the time. Even more, TAPPS should feel a responsibility to be just and fair and give Beren an opportunity to play the game at a time that correlates with Beren’s believes.
In general, I feel like if you want to make an exception, you should be willing to make that exception the rule going forward. The only reason to make an exception in the first place is if you believed that it was fair, and it seems that it was fair in the situation with the Adventists. It seems just as fair now in this nearly identical situation.
I remember listening to this story while interning in Houston, and I believe that Beren won the semifinals but lost in finals.
It is surprising that an association such as TAPPS would not make adjustments for a school that clearly has the best team. If nothing else, they should adjust it for the sake of competition. I played in TAPPS at my high school and never had an issue with scheduling but I went to a Christian school so playing on a Friday or Saturday did not matter.
It is just interesting that TAPPS will not make adjustments for a Jewish school and yet the NCAA (certainly not a Christian organization) will make sure that Brigham Young University only plays on the days that do not interfere with the Mormon religion. In the NFL (another non-Christian organization), accommodations are made for players that practice the Islam religion and do not eat or drink during the daylight hours during Ramadan.
It just seems that it is simply inconvenient and so Beren is being punished, not for breaking any rule, but for recognizing the Sabbath which Jews have done for centuries.
I attended a small private high school (Summit Christian Academy[SCA]) that was once also a member of TAPPS, we were also forced to leave and join TCAL. This was about 7 years ago so my memory on the issue is a little hazy, but SCA allowed home schooled students to play for the basketball team. At the time there was no rule against this, however other schools began to complain that we had an “unfair advantage” so TAPPS restricted a team to have under a certain percent home school students. The previous year our boys and girls basketball had progressed far into playoff and were contenders for a state championship when the school received the notice. It was too late to change leagues; SCA was not allowed to participate in playoffs, crushing many young athletes’ spirits. Was it just for TAPPS to do this to the school and students of SCA on such short notice? It may have been more fair to the other teams in the league, but there was no reason the other schools could not let home school students to play.
This situation shows the danger in accepting rules for the sake of following rules. In this case, following the rule really does not accomplish anybody’s goals. These schools all want to crown a deserving champion, and all of Beren’s opponents have also shown a willingness to adjust their schedules to accommodate Beren’s unique situation. An organization like TAPPS really just exists to provide value to the member schools, and has a duty to meet the needs of its members. To link this to our class discussions, this is almost like the “stockholder” theory of management. Here, the schools are the “stockholders” and TAPPS is “management”, and management should be answerable to the stockholders and try to maximize value for them.
This is very disappointing for TAPPS. If the other school agreed to switch days, I don’t see why it would be a problem. I don’t see how those in charge could sleep at night if they were to not allow Beren to play on a different day. It such an amazing thing that they have made it so far in only their second year!
“The only thing TAPPS is really protecting is convenience, and perhaps the pocketbooks of TAPPS members.”
If the TAPPS directors are solely worried about their own pocketbook, they clearly need to realign their priorities. They should be worried about what is best for the kids, not themselves.
The solution to this issue is simple; change the date of the game. Just as in federal and state law, the change for the Seventh-Day Adventist has set a precedent for other private school leagues to follow. These schools exists and are set apart from public schools because they are based on religious beliefs. If the goal of TAPPS is to maintain its integrity as a “fair” league for religious schools, as noted by there separation from Allen Academy, then it should not be an issue to accomidate the religious practices of its members.
I agree with what a lot of the other students and Dr. Shaub said as well, I feel TAAPS should do everything in its power to accommodate Beren by trying to schedule the game for another date. Since christianity is common in the US, there are many instances where Sunday is taken into account as a day of worship. So why shouldn’t the same be done for the Jewish community in this instance? I understand that there are rules in place as to not favor one school over another, but this is not benefitting Beren over other schools. It is simply giving them an equal opportunity to play the game. This exception wouldn’t help Beren recruit against other schools, or give them a better chance to win the game. I don’t feel it is too much of a hardship to play the game a day later, so I feel that in this situation, an exception is warranted.
I wonder why they decided to schedule the final on the Sabbath in the first place, knowing that a Jewish school was competing in their district. This is obviously a district where religious holidays are of special importance. It seems unlikely that they would schedule anything on Easter Sunday to start with, so why the Sabbath?It is certain that reaching the playoffs of any competitive sport is an impressive feat but, to schedule something so deliberately on such a day implies that the board didn’t expect Beren to make the playoffs. This leads to the possibility of collusion among the Christian-dominated authorities to somehow exclude the one Jewish school from this competition.
I’m curious to see if the situation would be different if a high school game was scheduled for December 25, Ash Wednesday, or Easter. Would there be less of a discussion? Would the TAPPS officials have less of a conflict in attempting to reschedule games?
More importantly though, I think Dr. Shaub brings up an interesting point about acting on principle. We can get into trouble when only rationalizing decisions based on precedence. We must have strong values on which to base our judgments. Otherwise, we have nothing. And in hard times, we will easily rationalize the abandonment of our principles simply because everyone else has- or it’s worked in the past. Rescheduling the game should not be seen as an exception, but rather a consideration of beliefs.
I think it is unfair to Beren if TAPPS refused to schedule the games for another date. Since the Christian schools’ preference for not playing on their holy days is accomodated, the jewish school deserves to be treated with the same respect and manner. Moreover, for the students in Christian schools, playing against a team with different religion would be a valuable experience for them and they will learn to respect other cultures and adapt to the globalized world. For TAPPS, if it has done a simple cost-benefit analysis, it would choose to reschedule the games. Because, by accomodating the need of the Jewish school, TAPPS has zero cost and at same time makes a favorable impression.
I have to give snaps to Beren, and a half-hearted snap to TAPPS. Beren did the right thing by sticking to their principles and adhering to their religious principles. Also, in my personal opinion, TAPPS ultimate decision to accomodate Beren should have been the result in almost any case. While I can understand why TAPPS would be hesitant to change its schedule to accommodate one school, that school is still a part of TAPPS. When TAPPS admitted Beren into their association they knew that this might happen. It was TAPPS’ duty to accommodate Beren, and I am relieved that they eventually did. Also, if Beren had not been able to compete for the final, then I believe the eventual winner would not have been able to claim title of true champion.
I agree with many of the above comments. TAPPS should accommodate Beren and reschedule the game, it seems obvious that this is what should happen. At the same time, if Beren knew this would always be an issue for them, maybe they should have stayed as an independent school. By not joining a league and staying independent, I would assume they would have a bigger say in when their games are scheduled. This would alleviate a good majority of the issues they could face.
I understand that is not the main point of what is being discussed but it is something Beren chose, knowing what the consequences might be. Nevertheless I believe they should have been shown grace and been allowed to play the game on an different day.
It seems completely unfair to Beren to not let them play in the finals. I cannot believe TAPPS even considered not moving the date and therefor cheating them out of a possible championship. When you said TAPPS needs to practice grace I believe you were right on. There are much bigger issues at stake here than the date of the championship, and I believe TAPPS will greatly regret their decision if Beren does not get a chance to compete.
I agree that TAPPS should be able to accommodate Beren and change the date of the playoff game. To me, it does not seem that the additional expenses would be too great to handle. If TAPPS would not be compromising, that would go against its own principles which would have the greatest, longest lasting expense to their reputation.
I believe that it is unfair that TAPPS will not grant Beren an exception the Seventh-Day Adventist school received. TAPPS needs to decide what the future course of action is. I do not believe in these special circumstances the opposing school should bear additional costs. During the regular season, the other 4 schools already accomodate Beren by playing on Thursday night. This shows tremendous grace and it should remain that way. Additionally, I think TAPPS should grant the moving of certain playoff games due to religious reasons at the expense of that particular school. But refusal to move the playoff game at all sounds too harsh to me, and it sends a bad message to these young men.
Being a resident of Mansfield, I immediately found this situation very interesting the minute the press release from the district popped up on my Twitter feed.
Although it was eventually solved with the game being moved to Nolan Catholic H.S. in Ft. Worth, I was very intrigued by the reasoning and the ignorance of precedence in the situation. Since I am related to a M.I.S.D. employee, I will choose not to comment on its actions; however, I was completely appalled by the way TAPPS handled the entire situation. When you set precedence (in this case, allowing Arlington Burton, a Seventh-Day Adventist school, to move their game from a Saturday), you are saying “this is what we believe is right and have chosen this path for our decision.” However, when TAPPS failed to even consider their previous decision in evaluating this case, they basically said that the rules did not apply to everyone the same (the basis of most discrimination). That, in my opinion, is extremely unethical, and to a certain extent is dishonest. Since they made a prior decision, they mislead others into thinking that exceptions in similar situations could be made. This however was not the case until they came under fire. Thankfully, they were allowed to move locations and the integrity of TAPPS was not damaged further.
“They ought to do it as a demonstration of respect for the convictions by which Beren unapologetically operates.”
I absolutely agree. By not allowing themselves even the smallest inconvenience of rescheduling, the TAPPS organization is demonstrating that they do not really care about the values of one of their member schools. I have actually played against Beren Academy and I remember them as being one of the most disciplined teams I ever played. They played well above their size and skill level because of their dedication to their team. It truly is a shame that they were unable to compete and I hope that their unreasonableness is not a detriment to the young men who worked hard and deserved to play.
Like many of the people have commented before, I agree that TAPPS should let the boys play. It seems the only thing that TAPPS would be sacrificing to change the game is convenience. If they accommodate Christian schools by not scheduling games on Sundays, then why would they not also do the same for Beren? I don’t think there should be any reason to treat these schools differently. It would be very unfortunate for Beren to lose out on a such a great opportunity after all the time and effort they put in to get to where they are. I belive TAPPS should allow Beren to play simply because it’s the right thing to do.
I definitely agree that Beren should get the chance to play. They have worked so hard all year, and it would be a devastating end to the season if they were forced to forfeit. I cannot imagine that the cost/inconvenience to reschedule the game would be greater than the strong message of acceptance and tolerability TAPPS would be sending to the public. The league knew this was a possibility and should have scheduled the game on a different day to begin with. I would suspect that TAPPS would not have scheduled a championship game on Easter or Christmas, so they need to show the same respect to every member of the league.
I believe Dr. Shaub hit the nail on the head with one of his parting thoughts:
“this is an opportunity for TAPPS to demonstrate something that you would think would come readily to an association that is primarily made up of schools that are explicitly identified with Jesus Christ—grace.”
One would assume, given the opportunity such as the one mentioned above, that this organization would leap at such a opportunity to demonstrate their core values. Unfortunately, it lends to the idea that some in power may have forgotten the mission of the organization and what ideals they are supposed to promote.
The first comment talked about how TAPPS’s policy to not play games on Sunday because of the Christian Sabbath, but fails to take into account the Jewish Sabbath. I think it’s a very apparent flaw in the system, but just hasn’t been tested until this point. Despite the fact that the United States in predominately Christian, and will be into the foreseeable future, the founding fathers made it clear that religious persecution would not be tolerated. I think it’s also important to look at what our country stands for when thinking about letting them reschedule.
I find it amazing that TAPPS would have even considered not letting Beren Academy play when they have achieved so much this season. I grew up playing in sports leagues that promoted many of the same values and ideals that TAPPS supposedly stands. Values such as fairness and equal opportunity. If TAPPS wants to continue promoting themselves as an organization with these values, I hope they did the right thing and let the team play.
In the aftermath of the complicated nature in which Beren academy reached the Tapps state semi-final and eventually final in boys basketball, it is useful to draw a dichotomy between taking a stand on principle and doing the right thing. Beren Academy captured the attention and sympathy of the national media when they decided to forfeit their semi-final matchup against The Covenant School of Dallas on March 2 because the game was scheduled for the Sabbath. Before the season began Beren Academy along with every other Tapps school agreed to the schedule proposed by the Tapps directors. after spending a week appearing content with forfeiting the game, allowing Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills to take their place. However, on March 1, Beren Academy threatened to sue Tapps for religious discrimination. The threat of litigation was all that was needed to force Tapps to reschedule the game. I am a former player for The Covenant School of Dallas, and I was not opposed to rescheduling the game with Beren by any means. However, the nature in which they accomplished their goal by waiting until the day before the game to threaten litigation raises moral questions to me. A former classmate of mine who goes to school in Colorado bought a plain ticket into Dallas to watch his younger brother play in the state tournament. When the game was rescheduled on such short notice, my friend was not able to reach Dallas in time for the game, having wasted money on a plane ticket and missing his younger brothers last basketball game. In any matter involving youth sports, the kids should always come first and I am happy for the young men on the Beren basketball team for their accomplishments this year on the basketball court. However, rescheduling the state semi-final game should be an issue that is addressed before the season starts, not the day before the game, especially when the team trying to reschedule the game has already signed their approval of the schedule.
I don’t know if TAPPS was deliberately trying to discriminate against Beren because of their religion, or if they simply just didn’t want to deal with the inconvenience of moving the game. But the fact that TAPPS has rules protecting the sanctity of the Christian holy day and refuses to do the same for Judaism sends the message that some religions have higher value than others. Or more importantly, that some people have higher value than others. This type of action from any organization is unexcuseable, but the fact that it comes from an organization whose purpose is to serve youth makes it absolutely intolerable. While an adult may have the reasoning capability to understand the grey area of
intentions and misunderstandings, a child does not. Kids take situations at face value because that’s how they see them, its not until around the age of 18 that we learn not just to judge on the black and white. So while the intentions of TAPPS may not have been discriminatory, the fact that the actions turned out that way sends the message to the players that religious discrimination is okay. And that is both intolerable and unexcuseable.
As an organization who services youth, TAPPS should be automatically be hyper vigilant about the message their actions send to their constitutions.
Undoubtedly, this instance evokes the issue of religious freedom. If the situation were flipped and the game was to be played early Sunday afternoon when most Christians are in church service, would the outcome be the same? I, for one, do not think so. It is true that some of the religions with less followers in the United States get overlooked at times, because the U.S. is such a heavily Christian nation. To those inside the realm of Christianity, the elevated treatment of Christians as opposed to, say, Muslims is not religious intolerance. Majority rules. This may not be fair, but it is reality.
As I read this article, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with Beren. If you want to take a stand for religious freedom and equality, surely there must be a more effective, more visible way of doing so. Then it occurred to me, passive-aggressive religious persecution, and in some cases, overt religious persecution is becoming ever prevalent in the United States. If citizens of the U.S. are to not only stop, but reverse this trend, it requires a cultural paradigm shift. It requires people of all faiths to recognize that religious freedom is not removed in one fell swoop but piece by piece, basketball game by basketball game, until people are so desensitized to their rights being infringed on that a time may come where a law which bans prayer in schools can pass through a legislative body who swore an oath to defend the very rights which they would be removing. It takes people of all walks of life and of all faiths having the courage to take a stand in controversial situations to insure that the rights we are granted via anti-discrimination laws and the Constitution are upheld. While Beren may not have constitutional protection, due to the lack of government funding/involvement in private schools, taking a stand on issues that appear minor is one of the foundational elements that protects one of the greatest freedoms this country was founded on.
I say congratulations to Beren for standing up for what they believe in. Although many are going to dissent, which is true for any issue of importance, it is worth it to Beren to stand for their beliefs. It is difficult to stand up for something you believe in. This is especially true when this courage will mean consequences for you or someone you care about. The coach is definitely exhibiting courage in making this decision. His team, of course, wants to advance; however, the coach is leading by example. It is good to hear that the other schools are respecting the beliefs of Beren in arranging their schedules to fit Beren’s. I think TAPPS should allow the team to play at a different time and should respect the beliefs of the team. In the end, a big issue in this is the freedom of religion or even from religion- if that were involved here. We as a species need to understand and respect each other. Yes, our beliefs will differ- as mine do from so many others- but that should not stop us from getting along. In the end, it would not be that challenging for TAPPS to rearrange the schedule and I think more than being inflexible they are choosing not to respect someone else’s beliefs.
While I agree with what you said, I have to play devil’s advocate here. Granted that what TAPPS is doing seems like a very cut and dry issue here, there has to be something driving this conflict. I feel like there is some sort of political red tape or some rule behind this that TAPPS would have trouble dealing with. I say this because I don’t want to believe that someone in that organization is doing this on purpose. Or collectively the TAPPS organization is ignoring this. It would make me lose a little faith in humanity if this was an act of malice rather than an accident or the unfortunate result of a lengthy and complex clerical error. I agree it is wrong, but I don’t want to believe it is on purpose.
I think your last sentence sums it up well. “They should do it because it is the right thing to do.” I might be far removed from high school, but I do remember the time, effort, and dedication you put in throughout a season to prepare for playoffs. I also think Beren deserves props for standing up for what they believe in. In the world today, it is hard to find people who would put their religious beliefs over worldly success (such as a state championship). I believe that TAPPS should move the game and show grace, just like you said.
I’m surprised I missed this story when it came out last year, especially considering that I went to a TAPPS high school. Looking back and seeing that they had to file a lawsuit to get the game moved is absolutely appalling to me. It is stunning to me that an organization full of religious schools would let this happen to another school just because of their different religion. Props to Beren for fighting for what they believe in and winning!
As you mentioned, the Allen Academy was removed from the association to protect the integrity of the game. Allowing a team to have a distinct advantage that is not allowed to each team is inherently unfair and must not be tolerated or else there is no reason to play in the league.
This same truth must be extended in the case of Beren Academy. Not making adjustments to the schedule so that each team has a fair opportunity to compete destroys the integrity of the game. It no longer is about hard work, perseverance, and determination, but rather is about which school can play on the said day.
It’s a sad reality that our world will always be tainted by self-interest, even in the most religious and “upright” groups today.
After reading the article, it’s clear that there is an element of religious discrimination at work. It’s easy for TAPPS to tell Beren that they can join their league as long as they can follow a schedule set by TAPPS. But it by no means makes it right. TAPPS does allow games on Sunday because of the Christian schools in it’s league. Why should they not do the same for Jewish teams and respect their religious beliefs? I realize it would be inconvenient but the fact of the matter is that TAPPS is not an organization put in place solely for Christian teams, so they have no right to discriminate against Jews.
We live in a country where we largely avoid religious discrimination. The right thing to do is make an adjustment for a group of guys that worked their tails off to get to the championship game. Its a shame that it came to that.
“But, most of all, they ought to do it because it is the right thing to do.” I have thought a lot this mini-mester about being a calculator vs a woman of principles. I quickly realized that I treat principles with an attitude of convenience and what’s-in-it-for-me. And I saw through the stories of our guest speakers that letting the consequences dictate my ethics can have devastating results. Each time I stand for principle it costs a little bit, and I imagine it will continue to cost more in the future. But in return I develop character and hope; I become more like my King. Yes, it is worth the cost!
It’s sad that something like this can still be an issue. With globalization and the fact that we are all aware of the many cultures and differences we have, one would think that something like this should not even be an issue. We should be respectful of these obligations and make compromises. If this is a religious discrimination issue, we really should work on educating ourselves on pluralism and removing this mentality of “if I am right, then by extension, you are wrong”.