Religious freedom in the United States won a long, hard fought battle recently when the Bronx Household of Faith was given permission to resume weekend services on public school property. The ruling will allow dozens of churches across New York City to continue meetings after New York City’s board of education sought to bar them from using school property, the only city in the United States to do so.
07/03/2012 United States (The Christian Post) – The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) won on Friday a permanent injunction in the 17-year legal battle involving the Bronx Household of Faith and the NYC Board of Education. Religious groups will now be allowed to meet freely for worship services in public school facilities.
“Churches that have been helping communities for years can continue to offer the hope that empty buildings can’t,” expressed ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence in a statement. “The court’s order allows churches and other religious groups to meet for worship services in empty school buildings on weekends on the same terms as other groups. ADF will continue to defend this constitutionally protected right if the city chooses to continue using taxpayer money to evict the very groups that are selflessly helping the city’s communities, including the public schools themselves.”
The ADF had argued against claims that allowing congregations to come on Sundays to worship at public schools would be seen as government endorsement of religion, and insisted that churches would not be doing anything that religious groups at school are not already allowed to do.
Pastors, school officials and community members have described the public school churches as greatly beneficial to the community. They have helped buy school materials for poor children, assisted the disable, donated computers and air conditioners, and established rehabilitating programs for people struggling with addiction and life issues.
“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 added. “Why exclude churches that are helping their neighbors in so many significant ways?”