Councilman, Pastors Arrested At Protest Against NYC’s Plan To Ban Worship Services At Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Several pastors and a New York City councilman have been arrested at a protest against the city’s plans to evict worship services from school buildings.

Seven demonstrators, including Councilman Fernando Cabrera, were charged with trespass Thursday.

“We were praying and we sang a song,” Cabrera told 1010 WINS. “The event took like 2 minutes and we were arrested — which is a lot shorter than the Occupy Wall Street people had the opportunity to stand.”

Police said the group refused to move from the entrance to the city’s Law Department in Manhattan.

“Now I have to go home and explain to my grandson, who was scared for his granddaddy, why I was arrested,” Cabrera said. “I have to explain to him about civil disobedience and about just cause.”

The city has told about 60 churches they must stop holding worship services in public schools after Feb. 12. It argues separation of church and state and cites a court decision.

In addition, the city Housing Authority says it’s reviewing its policy on renting space to outside groups, including five churches.

An attorney representing some of the churches says about 25 people, mostly pastors, took part in the demonstration.

“We’re standing firm, we’re not going to waiver on this, we’re not going to go away,” Cabrera said.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • CT

    The government can cry “church & state” and throw the churches out, but in Hawaii where they want to choose who to rent their facilities to, the courts are forcing _them_ to rent to whomever asks, even when it violates the church’s beliefs.
    “Its only fair, they are putting out their building for public rental, same as anyone else”
    No, apparently NOT the same as the government, They rent out schools – and now the Housing Authority too- to the “public”; but not the religious public.

  • A Long

    The only group without rights is the group that worships the True and Living God. Why are they so afraid of Truth,Truth not according to me, but to God? Is Christianity really so intimidating that officials must push them out, get rid of God, get rid of Jesus?

  • B

    Are there enough jails in New York to house all the Pastors and Christians if they decide to disobey this law and worship in public places? Is there any activity better than a worship service to be held in schools? Are these churches not paying for the use of these facilities? It is very clear that the whole thing of separation of state and church is being taken wayyyyyyyyy too far and it has to be stopped. If we submit to these men and women who misinterpret the law it will just keep getting worst. It is just an effort to do away with God and JESUS in this nation by a few.

  • Jak

    And that whole “love your neighbor as yourself thing”, our world would just be terrible if everybody did that…just a little bit of sarcasm

    • Jak

      This was in regards to Carlos’ comment below

  • Erzulie DuBois

    The people who pay taxes pay them for the building to be used for education, not religious indoctrination.

    Morality is ingrained in all of us, You live by example, no religion needed.

    • Michael


      To your second point morality is not ingrained in people, all of us are born in to sin. It is only by the grace of God by faith that we are capable of living a true moral life. You are right about one thing, no religion is needed only a savior Jesus Christ.

    • Vada Lavina

      Educate yourself. The churches pay rent.

    • A Long

      Where does morality come from?

    • A Long

      How about atheistic indoctrination. Our public schools allow only one god into their classrooms and that is that there is no god. talk about discrimination.

  • Dakotahgeo, Pastor/Chaplain

    There is a point to where normal, common sense Pastors and participants have to step in and say Ënough of this nonsense¨ by fanatical and fundamentalist religionists. I am almost embarrassed to call myself a Christian when I see these loose cannons rolling around on the altar, praying in the courtroom, praying when they get their fsnnies in a legal jam. Fine them nightily and if they get arrested again… 6 months minimum in the slammer!!! Let them pray there!

    • Erzulie DuBoise

      Thank you, Pastor.

  • Erzulie DuBois

    Should not rent to churches, NYC is in the right.

    There are plenty of defunct churches if they want to rent something relatively inexpensively.

    This is just a way to foster ‘religion’ in public spaces, patently wrong since WE paid for those places, not a church that is considered ‘tax free’.

    • Carlos

      Ohh.. as if the congregants who attend these churches dont pay taxes.. the groups pay rent to the schools when they are not in use.. the congregants pay taxes to keep the schools open.. i dont see a problem with this.. the only real problem is eliminating places that remotely teach some type of morality in this degraded society.. God forbid we promote No stealing and killing .. or honoring your parents.. sheesh

      • Jak

        And that whole “love your neighbor as yourself thing”, our world would just be terrible if everybody did that…just a little bit of sarcasm

        • B

          Little by little the rights and freedoms will be taken from the Church of America until one day we will not even be able to recognize it as the America we knew. It will be worst here than it is in China for Christians. Can’t we see it coming? What will be taken next. Soon our women’s rights will be taken and you will think we are in Iran. It will not stop with the rights of the Church to practice their faith or Worship in public places…….

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