Tennis competition neglected student athletes who observe Sabbath, lawsuit says
FREE Catholic Classes
High school tennis players who observe the Sabbath on Saturday have challenged a Washington state athletics association in court, saying its rules wrongly disqualify them from participating in the tennis postseason.
Seattle, Wash., (CNA) - Joelle Chung and her brother Joseph Chung, represented by the religious freedom legal group Becket, are challenging the rules of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, saying it should allow religious accommodations like it grants similar accommodations for other players.
Joelle was undefeated in her 2019 senior season playing for William F. West High School in Chehalis, Washington. She expected to win the qualifying tournaments to advance to the state tournament, which was scheduled for a Saturday. Both siblings are Seventh-Day Adventists who observe the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday through rest and worship, Becket said.
The tournament disqualified Joelle from all participation in the postseason, though her religious conflict with the tournament fell only on the last day.
The athletics association is authorized by state law to schedule interscholastic sports and other activities. Its failure to accommodate the Chung siblings' religious observance and its discrimination against religious exercise is "unconstitutional" and "illegal," charged the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Joe Davis, legal counsel at Becket, said Aug. 7 that the athletics association's failure to provide religious accommodations "hurts religious minorities and students of many faiths who honor the longstanding practice of keeping the Sabbath."
"No student athlete should be kept from competition because of their faith," he said Aug. 7.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association told CNA it does not comment on pending litigation.
Association rules require all participants to certify they will be able to participate in each level of the tournament to qualify for the championships. The rules make exceptions for injury, illness, or unforeseen events.
The Chungs had proposed moving the state championships or allowing Joelle to participate in the qualifying tournaments and use an alternate for the championships " the practice of athletes who are injured or ill. However, the association rejected these proposals.
Joelle is challenging the rules in hopes that her brother Joseph can participate in the state championships.
"As a senior, it was hard giving everything I had to support my team all season, only to be forced to sit out the entire postseason simply because of my faith," she said. "I'll never get the chance to play for a state championship again, but hopefully this case will protect other Seventh-day Adventists like my brother from having to choose between sports and their faith."
Joelle's coach Jack State discussed the lack of accommodations for her religious objections to Saturday play in comments to the Lewis County-based newspaper The Daily Chronicle earlier this year.
"It's disappointing, she's worked hard for four years to put herself in a position to try to do the best she can and she's not being allowed to do that," he said.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's administration has reportedly denied a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Louisville its license to ... continue reading
Four new sex abuse allegations have been raised against Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart, spanning his time both as a priest in Missouri and a ... continue reading
The bishop of Charleston, South Carolina announced he will reduce his public appearances after being named in a lawsuit filed in New York. ... continue reading
Planned Parenthood will no longer receive Title X funds and has withdrawn from the program entirely. The decision took effect Monday, ... continue reading
Amid a media firestorm and a small protest Sunday, the Diocese of Buffalo disputed allegations made in a letter published by a recently ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- St. Pius X: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, August 21, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, August 21, 2019
- Four more abuse allegations against former Cheyenne bishop
- Kentucky again denies abortion clinic's license
- Daily Reading for Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 HD Video
- New South Wales parliament delays final abortion bill vote
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, August 19th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, August 19th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.