All Aboard the Runaway Decency Train
Gov. Ivey’s post is the first I’ve heard of this story, so I’m willing to be corrected — but the key fact that stands out to me is that all of the parties actually involved in playing the games were down to swap times. The Adventist school wasn’t even asking to change DATES … just slots on the same day, from 4:30 to 7:30. And the other teams involved were apparently all, “Sure, this seems reasonable.”
I taught at a private Christian high school for a year. I don’t think anybody they played at any point would’ve found it odd if they requested not to play a Sunday morning game. We don’t, to my knowledge, have a whole lot of Jewish schools or teams in Alabama … but I’m betting most people would agree that their Sabbaths should be respected.
I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist, but I don’t need to be one to think it’s bizarre and unreasonable for a sporting organization to insist an Adventist school play during their Sabbath observance or forfeit … when the other teams involved had already agreed to swap!
Freedom of religion means freedom from religion, sure … but also, in a reasonable society, it means respecting one another’s religious practices whenever these do not directly impose harm. A high school basketball team made a seemingly small request in light of a schedule that conflicted with their religious observance. The three other teams involved all demonstrated good sportsmanship –– and good citizenship–– by agreeing to an even swap that, as far as I can see, harmed exactly nobody.
I think we should really all be asking why the AHSAA felt like this was a train of runaway decency that needed to be stopped.