Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
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27-06-2012, 01:57 PM
Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
I stumbled on this news article from 2011.

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top...dings.html

And yes, it's on foxnews, so the comments at the bottom are straight from an imagined theocracy.



"The Supreme Court has rejected an evangelical church’s plea to overturn New York City’s ban on renting public schools for religious worship services. That means the city now has a green light to begin evicting congregations who pay rent to use public school buildings for church services.

"The Department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice,” said Jane Gordon, senior counsel for the New York City Law Dept. “”The Court of Appeals correctly upheld the Department of Education’s policy not to allow the City’s public schools to be used as houses of worship. This case has been litigated for 16 years, and we’re gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear it. We view this as a victory for the City’s school children and their families.”

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the city’s policy.
The court case involved the Bronx Household of Faith – a church that paid weekly rent to hold worship services at a public school since 2002. The church, along with five dozen other congregations, was allowed to continue worshipping at public schools pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
It’s a sad day for religious liberty,” said Jordan Lorence, the church’s attorney and senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “Churches and religious other groups should be allowed to meet in public buildings on the same terms as other community groups and they’re being denied that in New York City.”

Churches will have to vacate public schools on Feb. 12, 2012.

“What’s odd about this is that of the top 50 school districts in the nation, New York City is the only school district that has a policy banning worship services,” he told Fox News & Commentary. “It does not show respect for religious liberty.”

The immediate impact means dozens of Christian churches will have to find a new place to hold services.
“A lot of churches are going to be homeless,” said George Russ, executive director of the New York Metropolitan Baptist Association. He said about seven of the 220 Southern Baptist churches in the city will be impacted by the decision.

Russ said churches will be scrambling to rent hotel space, banquet halls and movie theatres.
“It’s going to be a lot more money,” he said.

“The odd thing is these guys have blessed the schools they’ve been in,” Russ said. “They all have good relationships with the schools they’ve been in. They’ve purchased furniture for the teacher’s lounge they’ve given video equipment to the schools. They’ve done so many thank-you kinds of projects.”
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that allowing churches to use schools resulted in an “unintended bias in favor of Christian religions” – since most Christian churches worship on Sunday.

“Jews and Muslims generally cannot use school facilities for their services because the facilities are often unavailable on the days that their religions principally prescribe for services,” Judge Pierre Leval declared. “At least one request(ed) to hold Jewish services (in a school building used for Christian services on Sundays) was denied because the building was unavailable on Saturdays. This contributes to a perception of public schools as Christian churches, but not synagogues or mosques.”

Judge Leval also took issue with the evangelical church’s membership. “Bronx Household acknowledges that it excludes persons not baptized, as well as persons who have been excommunicated or who advocate the Islamic religion, from full participation in its services.” Leval wrote.
But it all boiled down to a key point, the judges decided. “In the end, we think the board could have reasonably concluded that what the public would see, were the Board not to exclude religious worship services, is public schools, which serve on Sundays as state-sponsored Christian churches,” Leval wrote.

---------------End----------------



My first reaction is "why schools?" They say it's because it's cheap to rent, but really? That's like us atheists deciding to hold a bake sale every week and choosing a local church as our location. "Cheap rent" doesn't quell my suspicions of nefarious intent. Then they play the pity card that they'll be homeless now. Oh no, now what will we do? America will just have to get by with the 350,000 other churches leeching off the gullible. I can already see the transition happening. First, the school becomes so used to them being there that they start allowing Sunday School sessions to be held. One of the Sunday School teachers also happens to be a permanent teacher in the school and starts pushing for Sunday School classes during school hours. The teacher is so well respected and liked by her fellow faculty that the line between school and church becomes more and more blurred.

I wonder if the commentors would be in such an uproar if the judge had ruled that a Muslim group wasn't allowed to rent out the school. Christians love to forget that it's not freedom of my religion, but freedom of all religions.

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27-06-2012, 03:52 PM
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
Shy of the bias toward Sunday-based religious service religions (which may or may not be intentional), I don't in itself have a problem with a church renting space for things, as long as there is not bleed over into the location's normal activities.

I say that even if the church rented a movie theater--sure do it, but if I start seeing Christian (or other) religious stuff hanging around or "protesting" certain movies or something, that's different. At least the places can use the rent money for good (which I would say should also not go toward the religious group only). Same with a school to me, as long as what happens during the rented time stays in the rented time (as much as can be expected), I don't have a problem--the schools could probably use the money.

Now the part about the unintentional or intentional bias toward Christian like religions... that I would have an issue with depending on the situation. Mainly as I know a few places in my town that rent places just so others can't during festivals (really, for no reason other than preventing places from having a larger space without paying them money [despite the organization would have to pay for it to the town])--however, they at least are fair as all churches are welcome to booths, only they all have to pay.
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27-06-2012, 04:13 PM (This post was last modified: 27-06-2012 04:17 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

'nuff said.

But I'll spell it out. By allowing them the right to rent government space for the practice of religion they'd be bending the establishment of religion clause. And would be also bending it's neutrality on aspects of religion or lack there of.

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28-06-2012, 10:13 PM
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
I don't see the problem with renting out schools for church services so long as this ability to rent out a school for private use is available for nonsectarian uses as well and so long as the rent is in line with a market rate. If it makes the school some money I say just dedicate the funds to support additional education in evolution. That would be sure to make everyone happy then...or tick everyone off, but it's be fun to watch Smile
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29-06-2012, 04:32 AM
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
Used to drive me nuts when I would pass by the HS and there was a sign announcing the Sunday services for some particular church.

For a public school, the fees I had to pay were insane and got worse every year. The idea that they could afford to air condition the school on the weekend for the services didn't seem right to me. Add the extra lights, maintenance and cleaning, use of the restrooms and surely it couldn't have been a money maker. That and no one else was able to use the school on weekends for non-school functions.

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30-06-2012, 12:06 AM
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
I don't see anything wrong with a church renting out school halls or whatever on the weekends for services or whatever they do.

I mean they're paying for the use. That money then gets put into the school.
It's not like they're spreading the word of God to the students, they're simply using the hall or rooms or whatever.

If a school can make a few extra bucks renting otherwise unused space, I don't see what is wrong with that.

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30-06-2012, 04:15 AM
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
I'm not for or against it. As long as it's not during shcool hours and they're paying for it, I really don't mind.

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05-07-2012, 11:36 PM
RE: Do religious people have the right to rent out schools for worship services?
They could have outdoor services until they save up enough money to buy their own building. I don't see why they HAVE to rent schools or any other public building for this. I've seen a lot of churches that have just held their services outside when they didn't yet have a building of their own, or while one was being repaired after a hurricane or something.

Although, so long as it isn't during school hours, I don't think I see much harm in it. They paid for it, after all. If the money they pay goes toward the school's needs, then it helps the school in the long run. And so long as they don't try to spill over into something the school teaches or displays, I guess I see no reason it's harmful.
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