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Supreme Court nixes use of NYC public schools for services; 60 churches could be homeless by Feb. 12

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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 09:56 AM
Original message
Supreme Court nixes use of NYC public schools for services; 60 churches could be homeless by Feb. 12
More than 60 religious groups will have to look for a new place to pray after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed a Bronx church fighting the city to worship in a public school.

In declining to hear an appeal, the nations highest court let stand a ruling barring religious organizations from holding services in public schools.

The case, Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York, has been churning through the courts for 16 years.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/supreme-court-nixes...
--------------------------------------------


Not sure I agree with this one. If the school was empty (Sunday), they were paying a fair market rent, and the school was allowing any group the same opportunity...Why not?
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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Same here. Big believer in Sep of Church/State, but don't understand the harm in renting
out the school auditorium when the school isn't in use.
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leftyohiolib Donating Member (413 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. same here. what's the harm in letting cash strapped schools cash in on un-used space
Edited on Tue Dec-06-11 10:19 AM by leftyohiolib
petty. and this was brought by the city? what, they dont want the taxes from the rent?
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good.
No church should be allowed to worship in a school (or any other public building), period.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Why should schools districts refuse rent money for use when the building is empty?
I guess I just don't see the logic in refusing an income source when finances are already so difficult. The building is empty and unused, why not make it available to a group willing to pay to use it for an hour or two?
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. Hmmm. Very small risk of very small harm. Probably a "camel's nose" decision
The only problem here is that of juvenile congregants who attend the same school conflating the ideasd of education and worship as they happen in the same room. More risk of that the other way round though as I suspect the church would not have been allowed to put up permanent religious symbols in the school.

Only two reasons I see for this:

1) Allowing religious group A to rent the rooms would only be legally possible if religious group B had the same option, and they are wary of allowing Muslim, Satanists, even atheist groups access to school-rooms (this is the real reason some schools ban Bible groups etc - although the Xians always pretend it's all about them)

2) They were wary of allowing any church/school entanglement for fear of using the precedent to get more and more. Given the current court maskeup I doubt a majority would see this as a problem though - rather an opportunity.
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leftyohiolib Donating Member (413 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. regarding point 1 from the article
. The department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice. so apparently they were allowing anyone who asked. but the article didnt go on to mention specifics groups.

from the article: City officals, who argued that allowing worship services in schools would violate the church-state separation, relished the news.

so it either was just a separation issue or the church of anton levy showed up so they shut the whole thing down to avoid a lawsuit
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:28 AM
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6. I suspect there is more information to be had.
But if you look at the Lemon test, I can see how there might be some questions.

1) The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
2) The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
3) The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.


1 doesn't really apply but 2&3... I dunno.
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Background on the case:
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/files/07-5291_complete...

The church was challenging a school board decision to prohibit the use of the school for worship services. The school board instituted their prohibition as a safeguard against violating the Establishment clause. The 2nd Circuit ruled that the school board wasn't engaging in religious discrimination or abridging the church's free-speech rights and that the board's action was a fair preventative measure.

Lemon is referenced in the Circuit court decision:
In discussing the second prong of the Lemon test, the Supreme Court has warned that violation of the Establishment Clause can result from perception of endorsement. The Establishment Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief or from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a persons standing in the political community. Cnty. of Allegheny, 492 U.S 573, 593-94 (1989) (emphasis added) (quoting Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 687 (OConnor, J., concurring)); see also Lynch, 465 U.S. at 690 (OConnor, J., concurring)) observing that the second prong of the Lemon test asks whether, irrespective of governments actual purpose, the practice under review in fact conveys a message of endorsement or disapproval); Skoros, 437 F.3d at 17-18. It was certainly not unreasonable for the Board to conclude that permitting the conduct of religious worship services in the schools might fail the second and third prongs of the Lemon test, and that the adoption of the worship services branch of SOP 5.11 was a reasonable means of avoiding a violation of the Establishment Clause.
(bold emphasis mine)
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Thank you for that!
When it comes to issues like these, I'd much rather see my government err on the side of strengthening the wall than poking holes in it.
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qb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
8. Simple: Since no conservatives stand to profit, SCOTUS defaults to following the Constitution.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. That's really the bottom line with the current court. This is a "slippery slope" as..
well. Many Scout troops, youth groups, and sports teams are sponsored by churches. Can they no longer use school facilities because they are part of a church? Is a church prohibited from using public kitchens in schools to cook holiday meals for the less fortunate?

This is not going to go over well, and, of course, Obama and atheists will be blamed by most simple minded Christians who don't bother to get allthe facts.
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