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Petition: Wednesday night makeup games are 'religious discrimination'

WBTV

Hundreds of people in Lancaster County, SC, have signed a petition started by a woman calling for the county to stop rescheduling make up games on Wednesday nights. The petition says the issue "directly infringes on our rights to worship freely."

The petition was posted online at Change.org Monday and has been signed by more than 200 people.

It was posted by a Lancaster woman named Nancy Smith.

"I am deeply troubled by the fact that the Parks and Recreation Department in our county is forcing children and parents to make up games on Wednesday night," Smith wrote in the petition. "This is a time of religious gathering and forcing children to play during this time directly infringes on our rights to worship freely. It is religious discrimination at the highest level."

Right now, Smith says if teams do not play the makeup game on Wednesday night, then the team is forced to forfeit the game.

"Why can these games not be moved to Friday night or Saturday night, or moved to the end of the season?" she asked. "There are plenty of times when the fields are open and these games could be made up other than Wednesday night."

Katherine Walters, the Assistant Director for Lancaster County Parks & Recreation says the group has seen the petition and does "not discriminate against religion."

"We follow our current policy, which is to reschedule games on the next available date in order to get all scheduled games in for every team in a timely manner," Walters told WBTV. "We do not schedule games on Wednesdays or Sundays, but we may have to use those days to makeup games due to inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances."

Smith calls the current policy "unfair" to the children.

"At a time when so many of our religious freedoms are being taken and tested, we must protect the few that we do have," Smith wrote. "[You should be able to stand] up for the liberty to attend church without being forced to take a loss on your season!"

"Sadly, our team will take a loss tomorrow night," she wrote. "Not because the kids deserve it and not because we lost a great game, but because the parents on our team value their families' time with the Lord."

Walters says Parks and Recreation officials have been made aware of the concern and plans to bring the petition before the Joint Recreation Commission for consideration.

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