February 12th--Sad Day for Churches in New York

Written by Founder Raul Rivera on Feb 01, 2012 in State Compliance

The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a church in Bronx, NY that was not allowed to rent a school for their Sunday worship service.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that public schools in New York are allowed to refuse rental of their facilities to churches for worship services, even though the schools allow other groups to use their facilities.  This means that beginning February 12, 2012, all churches in New York City will no longer be allowed to lease a public school for their worship services.  It is important to note that because the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, all of the states that are in the jurisdiction of the 2nd Court of Appeals can create a policy that refuses a church use of its facilities.  The states in this district are Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. 

The court's reasoning behind the ruling

The basis of the court's opinion is that New York City's "rule does not exclude expressions of religious points of view or of religious devotion . . ." The court says that it simply prohibits a type of activity such as the "conduct of worship services."  If find it illogical to say that New York City's rule prohibiting worship services does not violate the First Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits the passage of any law that "impedes the free exercise of religion."

What should the church expect?

At this point churches in New York cannot lease and use schools for worship services.  We can expect other school boards in the three state area of the 2nd Circuit to soon follow New York City and prohibit churches from using their facilities for worship services.  I expect, as well, that other school boards outside the 2nd Circuit may rely on this ruling and do the same.  The only thing that may be holding them back is the recession.

It is noteworthy to add here that this same great state, New York, in 1857 was the hub of a laymen's revival that resulted in widespread seeking of the Lord across our nation...to the degree that some schools in NY would stop their classes in the middle of the day because students were seeking God and crying out for mercy.  That revival which began in New York was birthed because a few men decided to gather for prayer.  In light of the current state of affairs in New York City, may I suggest that we, as the Church, again emphasize prayer and crying out to God for a move of His Spirit in New York and our land?

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Raul Rivera

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