The Supreme Court has rejected an evangelical church’s plea to overturn New York City’s ban on renting public schools for religious worship services. That means the city now has a green light to begin evicting congregations who pay rent to use public school buildings for church services.Look at the twisted reasoning that went into this decision:
The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the city’s policy.
The court case involved the Bronx Household of Faith – a church that paid weekly rent to hold worship services at a public school since 2002. The church, along with five dozen other congregations, was allowed to continue worshipping at public schools pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
It’s a sad day for religious liberty,” said Jordan Lorence, the church’s attorney and senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “Churches and religious other groups should be allowed to meet in public buildings on the same terms as other community groups and they’re being denied that in New York City.”
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that allowing churches to use schools resulted in an “unintended bias in favor of Christian religions” – since most Christian churches worship on Sunday.This is stupid on so many levels. Although I believe a city or school district should have the right to determine who uses their facilities and when, schools are being hammered all across the country with budget cuts. These churches provide much needed revenue to the districts, and they're generally very good tenants, careful not to mess up teacher's rooms or in any way do damage to the school facility. This is easy money for the districts, but the anti-religious zealots just can't stand the idea that something that values God can have any contact with a public facility.
“Jews and Muslims generally cannot use school facilities for their services because the facilities are often unavailable on the days that their religions principally prescribe for services,” Judge Pierre Leval declared. “At least one request(ed) to hold Jewish services (in a school building used for Christian services on Sundays) was denied because the building was unavailable on Saturdays. This contributes to a perception of public schools as Christian churches, but not synagogues or mosques.”
Judge Leval also took issue with the evangelical church’s membership. “Bronx Household acknowledges that it excludes persons not baptized, as well as persons who have been excommunicated or who advocate the Islamic religion, from full participation in its services.” Leval wrote.
But it all boiled down to a key point, the judges decided. “In the end, we think the board could have reasonably concluded that what the public would see, were the Board not to exclude religious worship services, is public schools, which serve on Sundays as state-sponsored Christian churches,” Leval wrote.
During my insurance days I insured all kinds of denominations that met in public schools. Never once did a school district apply any sort of standard as far as the type of church they allowed, nor did they provide any kind of support that could be misconstrued as "state sponsoring". The judge's ruling is nonsense.
Churches that meet in schools in other parts of the country should take note and have contingency plans at the ready. The anti-religious activists will be emboldened by this decision and will seek to spread their bias nationwide.