Robert M. Beren Academy is a Jewish school in Houston, Texas that has a basketball team that qualified to play in a State tournament for independent and religious schools. As mets102 diaried here, the league refused to move the game times to avoid the Jewish Sabbath. However, there is apparently a happy ending; details below the fold.
There are several bits of good news, all gleaned from this article in the Houston Chronicle. First, the three other schools agreed to change the game times so that Beren could play. All three of the other schools are Christian schools and the fact that they were willing to change their plans at the last minute is a testimony to the religious tolerance that exists in America that we often forget exists when we fight our political battles.
The second bit of good news is that prominent public figures, including two state senators got involved in an attempt to pressure the league, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, to allow the rescheduling. The two senators were Sen. Rodney Ellis, an African-American liberal Democrat, and Sen. Dan Patrick, a right wing white conservative Republican. This may be the first time that these two have ever agreed on anything! This shows how universal the support for freedom of religious expression is in the United States -- and I mean real religious expression, not the nonsense arguments about contraception we have recently seen.
The third bit of good news is that Beren will get to play! But there is a bit of ugly news here, too. Despite the intervention by the public figures and the willingness of the other schools to be inconvenienced, it took a lawsuit by players and parents -- a lawsuit not encouraged by Beren Academy -- and a temporary restraining order. The difference between the three Christian schools and the league management is striking. The league does not play on Sundays, and had in the past allowed a Seventh Day Adventist school to avoid playing on their Sabbath which is the same time as the Jewish Sabbath. The Christian schools clearly got what America is about; the league management doesn't. Kudos to the public officials and the three Christian schools -- Logos Preparatory Academy in Sugar Land, the Covenant School in Dallas, Logos Prep in Sugar Land, and Abilene Christian Schools.
And may the best team win!
Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 8:15 PM PT: UPDATE after Shabat:
Beren won the semifinal and is now playing for the championship: