Two Seventh-Day Adventist Siblings Sue High School After Tennis Championship Tournament is Scheduled on the Sabbath

Joelle and Joseph Chung (Becket Law)

Two siblings filed a federal lawsuit claiming that their rights are being violated because the Washington state’s high school tennis championship tournament continually includes scheduled play on Saturdays, their day of Sabbath. 

On Tuesday, a complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington against the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on behalf of Seventh-day Adventist siblings Joelle and Joseph Chung.

The case was filed after Joelle was not able to compete in last year’s Washington state tennis playoffs despite having an undefeated season because the championship tournament was scheduled to conclude on a Saturday.

As Seventh-day Adventists, the Chungs devote time for rest and worship each week from sundown on Friday until sundown Saturday. The lawsuit claims that because of their faith, the Chungs are prohibited from playing tennis during the Sabbath.

The lawsuit claims that the WIAA refused to accommodate the siblings’ religious convictions when scheduling state high school championship tennis tournaments.

“Although WIAA schedules no state championship tournament play on Sundays, and although it schedules many other state championships to take place entirely during the week, WIAA typically schedules the 2A boys’ and girls’ state tennis championship tournaments to conclude on a Saturday,” the lawsuit reads.

“As a result, Saturday Sabbath observers like J.G.C. and J.N.C. are prohibited from completing the state championship tournament, solely on account of their religious beliefs.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith