Church And State Battle Brewing As NYC Mulls Kicking Worship Services Out Of Schools

City Council Debating Resolution 1155, Which Would Allow Practice To Continue

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Since 2002, churches in New York City have been holding worship services in public school buildings.

But that’s about to come to an end and, as CBS 2’s Mark Morgan reports, religious leaders are upset.

The Department of Education has stated that all churches holding services in public schools must vacate those schools after Sunday, Feb. 12. On Thursday, the NYC Council Committee on Education held a hearing on Resolution 1155, which would allow churches access to public schools.

“These houses of worship are paying rent just like every other non-profit group. The fact that they’re paying substantiates the fact that the government is not supporting,” Councilman Fernando Cabrera said.

“This, to me, is about whether or not we’re going to subsidize churches in our public schools. We’re not talking about a bible study class. We’re talking about regular worship each and every week in our public schools,” responded Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.

Opposition to Resolution 1155 comes mainly from the belief that church and state should remain separate.

“It appears to be a house of worship and that creates confusion, and that’s what our constitution was designed to prevent, that confusion of a state supporting any religion,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said.

Since 2002, about 60 religious organizations have been holding worship services in NYC public school buildings. These religious groups feel they need these public facilities to continue to benefit their surrounding communities.

“We’re taxpayers. We’re equal participants in our society. We just want to have the same access to the same public institutions that other groups have access to,” said Rev. Kirsten John Foy of Abiding Love Ministries in Brooklyn.

The City Council will discuss the resolution in another hearing before deciding whether to hold a vote.

Advocates are calling on the state Legislature to pass the resolution and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to then sign the legislation.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

Comments

One Comment

  1. Bob HuDock says:

    I admire the courage and integrity of Council Members Lappin and Dromm for standing up to the religious fanatics who seek to infect our secular public schools with religion. The religious fanatics want to force the rest of us to subsidize their activities. The argument that the churches paying rent makes everything okay is nonsense. They are not paying anything close to real market rates for using the schools because if they did, there are thousands of vacant businesses all over the city they could be using. We must protect our public schools from being used as a base for evangelical activities, This is not Alabama, or Saudi Arabia.

    1. KPMc says:

      So then you are against secular groups from using public school facilities at below market rates too? After all that would be fair, correct?

      1. Bob HuDock says:

        Secular groups are not banned from receiving government support by the US constitution. Religious groups are. These are two completely different situations, a distinction that this “fair access” argument seeks to ignore.

  2. Bob HuDock says:

    I admire the courage and integrity of Council Members Lappin and Dromm for standing up to the religious fanatics who seek to infect our secular public schools with religion. The religious fanaatics want to force the rest of us to subsidize their activities. The argument that the churches paying rent makes everything okay is nonsense. They are not paying anything close to real market rates for using the schools because if they did, there are thousands of vacant businesses all over the city they could be using. We must protect our public schools from being used as a base for evangelical activities, This is not Alabama, or Saudi Arabia.

  3. Bob HuDock says:

    I admire Council members Lappin and Dromm for standing up to the religious fanatics who want to force the general public to subsidize their private religious beliefs. This issue is about protecting the mission of our public schools there is absolutely no threat to freedom of religion whatsoever.

  4. Randy says:

    Just a little research clearly shows the original intentions of the phrase “seperation of church and state”. The intention or idea of the writer was not to seperate church activities, or ideals ,or involvement from government in the least bit. The intention was to protect the church from the possibility of a government riseing up and limiting ones freedom to congregate and worship “God” the creator of heaven and earth. Is this not one of the primary reasons others have come to this great nation, for freedom of religion and speech.

  5. KPMc says:

    If they pay their rent..

    If no one group gets special treatment…

    If no group is turned away because of their religion…

    If no one is being forced to join any group…

    If it is not part of the public school curriculum…

    If they clean up and take their religious symbols home with them at the end of the night…

    Then what in the world is the problem?

    I have argued many times about preserving the separation of church and state but this is ridiculous.

    I really don’t know why it is so difficult for people to support religious freedom in this country AND the separation of church and state. They go hand in hand.

    But this is NOT a violation of that separation.

    Now if you want to ban ALL groups from renting public schools after hours than by all means, have at it.

    But in this case, a little tolerance and understanding goes a long way. Fat chance of that happening.

  6. Action Kate says:

    Wait, if they get to pray in my school, does that mean I get to think in their church?

  7. GeorgeG says:

    Call your Assembly member and State Senator. Ask them to sign on to assembly bill A8800, so that houses of worship may be allowed to rent from public schools. It is time to get allow for the freedom of access and speech in public spaces, including public schools.

    1. Vernon Hell says:

      That means the Church of Satan would have the same right of access. Do you really want that?

  8. Linda Elsey says:

    Time for Americans to take our Country back ! To many radicals are infiltrating our every nook-n-cranny trying to take our freedoms away. I believe some are misinterpreting the Constitution.

    1. Vernon Hell says:

      Do not give me this crap about “taking the country back.” You and your ilk are the ones taking away our freedom to think as we please and voice those thoughts.

      Time to tear the pages from your bible and wipe your rear with them. That is all they are good for. As for you personally, BURN IN HELL!

  9. Adeyinka says:

    Russia is a good exaple as to what happened to a country that says NO to the scripture.As the bible says they PERISH.

    1. Vernon Hell says:

      Scripture sucks! It’s a pack of lies. BURN IN HELL, pigs.

      1. Blasterific says:

        Funny how you say it is a bunch of lies, yet you say burn in ‘hell’.
        SMH

  10. mike says:

    Sad that the government controls the schools, when it’s the tax payers who pay the bills…I remember 50 yrs. ago someone said ” Little by little a democratic society becomes communist…Past nuber of years, I’m starting to believe it..

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