Alliance Defense Fund, allows labor union, Bronx, city councilman, constitutional freedoms, discrimination, evicting churhes hurts people, evicts churches, Fernando Cabrera, First Amendment, hypocrites, International Christian Center, Mayor Bloomberg, New Dorp High School, NYC, Pastor Chris Dito, Staten Island, use of public schools
By: Jason Matter
February 10, 2012
Should religious institutions be able to rent public property just like any other community group?
If you’re New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the answer is a resounding no, a decision that has angered local communities and is poised to kick out dozens churches from meeting in New York City public schools even though other groups, including labor unions, are granted full access.
“Houses of worship throughout the city consider this policy to be nothing short of discrimination, and we will make that known,” said Fernando Cabrera, a Democratic city councilman representing the Bronx. “Evicting [churches] hurts people and neighborhoods by denying them the social and spiritual services they desperately need, which in my district includes tutoring services, soup kitchens and more,” he added.
At issue is whether or not allowing religious organizations access to public schools during off-hours is an “endorsement” of that particular religion’s belief system. For the past 10 years an injunction issued by the U.S. District Court of New York said that churches can, in fact, rent out school facilities just like any other group. But a recent ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals defied the lower court’s ruling, agreeing with the Department of Education that granting churches equal access to vacant government buildings amounts to a subsidy of religion.