Basketball League Opened Regardless of Religious Affiliation in Illinois (June 20, 2019)

A city-sponsored basketball league in Charleston has been opened up to all men regardless of their religious affiliation, after FFRF complained about its exclusionary religious requirement.

A local resident reported that the city of Charleston was offering a men’s church basketball league. The posting on the city website about the league stated that the league was only open to men who were affiliated with a religious congregation or church. A stated purpose of this league was to promote “fellowship,” a term often associated with religious activity. Because of this religious requirement, our complainant felt isolated and excluded from the league.

In a letter to City Attorney Rachael Cunningham, FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne pointed out the exclusionary nature of the league.

Cunningham responded to FFRF’s letter of complaint with positive news that the basketball league “will be offered to all members of the community and not exclusively members of congregations or religious citizens.” Additionally, the league has been renamed the “Men’s Slow Break League Basketball.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation