Newsday recently asked clergymen at several Long Island houses of worship how they would counsel parents whose kids have sports activities on the Sabbath.
Jimmy Jack, senior pastor, Freedom Chapel International Worship Center, Amityville:
"When after-school and curricular activities conflict with our Sunday church service, we challenge our families to balance their school activities to be the exception of the rule, not the norm."
The Rev. Peter F. Casparian, Christ Church, Oyster Bay:
Our kids are so overscheduled that a Sabbath Sunday without sports and other youth activities would seem to be a break...
I don't think that anyone is going back to the days depicted in the 1981 Academy Award-winning movie "Chariots of Fire," where the evangelical Christian athlete refused to run an Olympic race on the Sabbath.
Rabbi Ian Jacknis, South Huntington Jewish Center, Melville:
If it was me as a parent, my kids just couldn't go to a lot of things they had to go to. It is hard when you're a minority and want the majority to be understanding. The Sabbath is what it is. The holiday is what it is.
Here and there, sports parents are drawing the line on Sunday sports participation, though perhaps not always for religious reasons. Some are aligned with Taking Back Sundays an intriguing program based in Minnesota. Parents behind this effort take a pledge that Sundays will be off-limits for all organized sports. No travel games, AAU shoot-arounds, out-of-town tournaments and all the rest. These are principled folks. And, for now, small in number.