Skip to comments.Bloomberg evicts churches from using public schools, but allows labor unions
Posted on 02/11/2012 10:26:17 AM PST by NYer
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.
“When worship services are performed in a place, the nature of the site changes. The site is no longer simply a room in a school being used temporarily for some activity,” the majority opinion stated. “The church has made the school the place where it performs its rites, and might well appear to have established itself there. The place has, at least for a time, become the church.”
Such a ruling adheres to an “extreme version of the establishment clause and separation of church and state,” Jordan Lorence, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, the legal firm representing the local churches, told HUMAN EVENTS. “It’s hard for the bureaucrats and judges to grasp the difference between government sponsored religion and government accommodating everybody to use an empty building.”
The idea that a school would morph into a church vis-à-vis a worship service taking place on non-school days makes no sense to NYC pastors who rent the space.
“The church is a people, not a building,” Pastor Chris Dito of International Christian Center in Staten Island told HUMAN EVENTS. “If we have a prayer meeting at Starbucks, it doesn’t magically transform into a church.” Dito said that International Christian Church caters to families who have children with special needs, and the New Dorp High School where they currently meet provides his church with the ability address those needs. “The classrooms are a big help.”
And it’s not like the church is freeloading either. They pay $1,500 a month in maintenance costs.
In total, more than 70 churches are at risk of being evicted. A handful of Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu groups also had access to the school grounds, although they don't meet as frequently as the Christian groups.
What’s more, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg will forbid religious organizations from leasing out schools under the rubric of “separation of church and state,” it turns out that the Department of Education itself rents out religious facilities to house public schools. P.S. 133 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, for instance, leases a Catholic institution that is run by St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.
“Talk about hypocrisy,” notes Lorence. “The kids in P.S. 133 go everyday to a building with crosses on it and that doesn’t bother them [Education bureaucrats]. But what bothers them is a three-hour stint on Sunday mornings of a church being there.”
Out of the 1,200 school buildings in New York City, there are at least 10,000 extracurricular community uses each year, ranging from dance recitals, Boy Scout meetings and even the filming of the popular television show “Law & Order.” And, as the Alliance Defense Fund points out in one of their many legal briefs, labor unions, including the Communications Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Service Employees International Union and the United Federation of Teachers, all are allowed to meet in public school buildings.
But come Feb. 12, not churches.
Pastor Matt Brown of Park Slope Church has been meeting in John Jay High School in Brooklyn for the past eight years. He pays a fee of $3,200 a month to cover maintenance costs and is one of the clergymen being forced to relocate.
“Everyone loses with the mayor’s decision,” Pastor Brown told HUMAN EVENTS. “The janitors and guards at John Jay High School who will now be out of work on Sunday, the school itself, which uses part of the rent money for facilities; and the students at the high school who were the beneficiaries of our presence there.” Pastor Brown noted that he and his congregation has stocked the school’s library with academic books, tutored students for standardized tests, and even painted the hallways and classrooms voluntarily.
Mayor Bloomberg could single-handedly reverse the Education Department’s decision, as they report directly to him, but he’s refused to do so. In fact, the mayor’s office tells HUMAN EVENTS that the evictions will go through as planned. Legislation has been submitted by Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera to block the mayor’s decision since the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case late last year, but that bill is currently being held up by the Council’s speaker, Christine Quinn.
“The Left’s whole concept of equality goes right out the window when we’re talking about renting unused NYC classrooms on the weekends,” said Lorence. “'Churches lose’ is how the Left always interprets the First Amendment.”
One of Hannity’s guests brought this up last night. Bloomberg, like Obama, considers himself a god.
From Zero Hedge:
In summary, this budget harkens back to the classic 60s rock/country song by Joe South, Freddie Weller and others called Games People Play. Except that a new version should be recorded called Games The Administration Play. It would fit this budget proposal perfectly: its all games, not a serious effort to govern.
Oh the games people The Administration play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers (Cass Sunsteen, Austan Goolsbee, Larry Summers, Christina Romer, Elizabeth Warren, etc.)
Till theyre were covered up with flowers (cradle to grave entitlements)
In the back of a black limousine.
La-da da da da da da da
La-da da da da da de
Talking bout you and me
And the games people The Administration play
Oh we make one another cry
Break a heart then we say goodbye
Cross our hearts and we hope to die
That the other was to blame (Congress and specifically House Republicans)
Neither one will give in
So we gaze at our eight by ten
Thinking bout the things that might have been
Its a dirty rotten shame
People walking up to you
Singing glory hallelulia
And theyre tryin to sock it to you (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, EPA mandates, tax the rich, ignoring The Constitution)
In the name of the Lord (Jesus would want to raise taxes on the rich and give to the Romans funny, I missed that part of The Bible!)
Theyre gonna teach you how to meditate (or community organize)
Read your horoscope, cheat your faith (requiring Catholic organizations to fund contraceptives against their will)
And further more to hell with hate
Come on and get on board
Look around tell me what you see
Whats happening to you and me
God grant me the serenity
To remember who I am (an individual, not part of a Utopian collective)
Cause youve given up your sanity (not to mention personal freedom)
For your pride and your vanity
Turns you sad on humanity
And you dont give a da da da da da
Hey, Joe South actually understood The Obama Administration back in the 1960s!
Bloomberg is a sick communists pric$.
Fellow Christians: Learn to minister to yourselves. Learn to worship in small groups. If your church does not encourage small group ministries, demand it. The day is coming when the government will tax and regulate our large churches out of existence and we need to be prepared to go underground, as our Christian ancestors did and still do in other countries.
This is too deep for New York's current Goober in Charge.
He just doesn't like Christians.
I despise this little malevolent Napoleon more every day.
Isn’t that viewpoint discrimation? I think Jay Sekulow has won cases similar to this one in other states.
Bloomberg is in some respect worse that Obama. When the Susan Kormen Foundation first cut off Planned Parenthood, he came forward with a $250,000 donation to more than make up for the cut. This guy is a radical liberal Democrats posing off as a Republican. Time to bring back “Truth in Labeling” laws.
The guy’s a bitter, liberal statist but he’s managing the security situation well.
We make up about half or more of the nation’s voters and taxpayers. They can only do these things if we LET them.
Apathy is the killer. We need to push back and hard....
and we can start by pushing back against unions.
Everything Thomas Jefferson said about big cities is doubly true about NYC.
I'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, I don't want to hurt other Freepers. We just can't let this nation be dominated by the urban beehive mentality.
>>and we can start by pushing back against unions.
Apathy isn’t the killer. Bad priorities are!
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.Bloomberg is ramping up anger against his adopted political party ahead of the fall election.
Bloomberg can’t go swimming anymore because someone always throws toilet paper into the pool with him to make it look more natural.
is there anyway we can throw this guy out of the party?
You nailed it Bryanw92! Yours is the Quote of the Day.
Can’t stand that lil’ nanny dictator. He has to weasel himself into everything concerning NYC like he’s its demigod. What a puke he is.
I think he is an Independent now. Was a life long Rat, then briefly an (R). He is the very definition of a political whore. . . er I mean opportunist!
At the Giants post SuperBowl parade he was onstage doing the MC duties with Michael Strahan. Like that twerp tyrant had ‘anything’ to do with the NY Giants success. Yet there he was onstage, getting attention and grabbing the spotlight on their victorious efforts as if he was so dang important to it.
Bloomer makes me ‘like’ ex-Mayor Dinkins a whole lot more compared to him and we know what an incompetent boob Dinkins was....
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