Churches in New York Schools Not Evicted Thanks to Alliance Defense Fund

An startling example of all that wrong with the governance of our educational system has had its come-uppance. Seventeen years after of the Board of Education of the City of New York began trying to evict “religious” groups from worshipping in their empty school buildings when school is not in session, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has announced a permanent injunction against such evictions. Churches will continue to meet in empty New York schools.

Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera

Churches meeting in New York City public schools for worship services have fed the poor, have assisted in rehabilitating drug addicts and gang members, have helped rebuild marriages and families, and have provided for the disabled. The churches have also helped the public schools themselves by volunteering to paint the interiors of inner-city schools; donating computers, musical instruments, and air conditioners; and providing effective after-school programs to help all students with their studies.

“There is no reason to exclude worship services from these empty school buildings, especially when the school allows all other community groups to meet,” Lorence explained. “Why exclude churches that are helping their neighbors in so many significant ways?”

In February, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary order that allowed Bronx Household of Faith and other religious groups to conduct worship services in schools while the ADF lawsuit against the city proceeded. The new order makes the preliminary order permanent.

…“Defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing Ch. Reg. D180 so as to deny Plaintiffs’ application or the application of any similarly-situated individual or entity to rent space in the Board’s public schools for meetings that include religious worship.” Source: SpeakUpMovement

Breaking Bronx – Norwood News – December 2011 (photo credit as well):

In an interview today, he [Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera] called New York’s exclusionary policy “ridiculous” and vowed to do everything in his power to overturn it legislatively.

Just to give you a little refresher: On Monday, the United States Supreme Court, with its inaction on an appeal brought by Bronx Household of Faith, a small evangelical congregation that has met at PS/MS 15 in University Heights for the past decade, essentially upheld the city’s position that allowing worship services on school property amounted to a violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state doctrine. (For more background, click here.)

It leaves at least 60 city churches, and, according to Cabrera, at least some Jewish and Muslim groups, homeless, come Feb. 12. (The city originally said churches would have to cease worshiping, Jan. 1.)

According to Councilman Cabrera (paraphrased – not his exact words):

1. Of the 50 largest school districts in the U.S., New York City is the only to exclude worship services.

2 Boy Scouts and AA meetings happen in New York City schools, along with 9,998 other organizations.

3. When the City invokes Separation of Church and State under the 1st Amendment, they are distorting what that separation means, which is, the government will never embrace a certain religion and make it the religion of the land, and force citizens to follow that religion.

Cabrera is a pastor and says the issue has “awakened a sleeping giant.”

Visit the Alliance Defense Fund here.

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  • Thanks to Alliance Defense Fund for supporting Churches in New York for not evicted. This is really a good news.