Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No scriptural reason for basketball ruling, Christian school leaders say

Leaders of Christian schools around the bay area said this week they saw no scriptural reason to prohibit girls from playing team sports with boys. The notion that coed contact sports could lead to sin, they said, is off base.

"I just can't imagine that being something that we would really have to guard against," said Wendell K. Murray, head of Bayshore Christian School in Tampa.

The Times surveyed a number of schools in the wake of a decision by Westside Christian School in Largo to quit its athletic conference rather than kick a sixth-grade girl off the junior varsity basketball team. The conference voted 8-2 to block Aliyah Farley from playing.

The administrators' views provide a window into Christian schools. Although they are united in their belief in Jesus Christ and the basic tenets of Christianity, the similarities often end there.

Tampa's Berkeley Preparatory School, affiliated with the Episcopal Church, has 1,200 students of varying religions. At morning convocation, Christian students recite the Berkeley prayer, acknowledging Jesus Christ as lord. Non-Christians usually keep silent, said school spokeswoman Heather Mackin. Students are taught to appreciate all faiths.

Bayshore Christian's 275-member student body also includes non-Christians. School leaders see an opportunity. "Our goal would be to see them receive the Lord before they leave this place," Murray said.

Keswick Christian School in St. Petersburg practices selective enrollment, requiring that at least one parent be a Christian.

Daily Bible classes and weekly chapel are common at Christian schools. Evolution is taught as a theory, and the creation story is relayed as absolute truth. Honor codes lay out moral rules.

Some schools ban public displays of affection such as holding hands. Keswick does not have proms or homecoming dances. Finding music and dance moves befitting a religious setting is a tough task.

"There's an awful lot of dancing that would be offensive in our constituency," said Keswick superintendent David Holtzhouse.

So instead of dances, the school hosts banquets. The events usually sell out.

No scriptural reason for basketball ruling, Christian school leaders say 12/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 1:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.