The Tyranny of Rules Tue 06 Mar 12
Rules are meant to be an means to an objective not an end unto themselves.
This past week, Beren Acadamy, an Modern Orthodox Jewish high school made the headlines when they advanced to the semifinals in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) basketball tournament. What made this especially newsworthy wasn’t their basketball prowess (as good as they are) but the fact that they decided to forfeit rather than play in a game scheduled during the Jewish Sabbath, a remarkable demonstration of staying true to your religious beliefs.
Beren had appealed to the TAPPS board for an accommodation to reschedule the time that would not conflict with anyone’s religious beliefs. The board pointed out that Beren was made aware of the potential conflict when they joined the league years ago and denied the request for an accommodation. Berens admitted that they knew of the scheduling issued but had hoped for an accommodation based upon their religious beliefs.
TAPPS issued a statement that says in part “When TAPPS was organized in the late 1970's, the member schools at that time all recognized Sunday as the day of worship. The By-Laws were written to state that “TAPPS would not schedule any competition or activities on Sunday”. At that time, there were no member schools that observed their Sabbath on Saturday.” They statement goes on to explain that Beren was aware of this and didn’t see a problem as they wanted to play in a ‘district’.