Wednesday, 11 January 2012

160 churches in New York will be evicted

Approximately 160 churches in New York will be evicted at short notice from their places of worship by 12 February 2012, the New York Times has reported, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear their federal lawsuit.

The case (formally known as Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education, City of New York) was brought with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) in order to reverse the decision of the New York City Department of Education to ban public schools from allowing churches to use their premises for worship.
The decision could lead to the closure of many local churches that may not be able to find alternative venues. It could also have wide-reaching ramifications for thousands of churches that meet in public buildings throughout the US.

Critics of the Court’s decision are concerned that the school ban will eventually become a broader ban against religious organisations meeting in any state-funded building, including university auditoriums that house the worship services of larger churches.

ADF attorney Jordan Lorence said that the ban reflects an irrational and anti-religious sentiment in New York, one that portrays religion as "dangerous and something that must be kept entirely out of the public square."
"Our city is trying to do away with faith," Lorence said. "We can tolerate everybody but religious viewpoints. That's pretty scary."
On Thursday (7 Jan) seven people were arrested, including four pastors, for protesting the Court’s decision outside the New York Law Department, where they kneeled and sang hymns with other protestors. They were held for three hours before being released without charge.

New York Times
Alliance Defense Fund
CBS New York
Christian Concern: Religious Freedom

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