New York Educational Board Creates New Laws to Discriminate Against Religion

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   2/1/2012

A century ago the Bible was a necessary textbook in the public schools. Then it was relegated to the shelf of the school library. Eventually, the Bible and its congruent discussions were "chained down," in a sense-- censored and closely monitored.

The Bible never changed, but culture did, and in many public schools faith has now become a source of unwelcomed controversy.

A decade ago, Biblical discussions were permitted if they were student-led or not during class hours. But this year, a ban exists to disallow churches to hold services inside a school building-- even on Sunday when school is not in session! The ban is scheduled to begin February 12 and was reported on by Tiffany Owens of WORLD magazine.

According to WORLD, Pastor and New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera had been protesting the ban. He was arrested with six others earlier this month because they were singing two hymns outside the doors of the New York City Law Department during their protest. They were charged with "criminal trespassing."

The Alliance Defense Fund has been involved and could use our prayers and support. Approximately 160 congregations may be without a location to worship if the ban isn't overturned. Those congregations pay rent to use school space, so the ban also cuts this needed source of funding for schools.

According to Owens, "The rationale for banning religious groups’ use of public school space is that 'impressionable children' might think that government is endorsing religious belief."

What damage could be done to these children by a church holding services in their school on Sunday? Would New York City disallow AA meetings to meet in the public school? After all, they do refer to a "higher power."

Supporters of the ban likely don't realize that every decision supports some religious belief, even if it's humanism or atheism. All laws reflect a moral source. This country's early politicians created laws based upon the religious idea that all people are created equal.

This ban against churches holding services on school grounds follows a humanistic moral standard which conflicts with the standard set forth in the Constitution. That initial standard-- the belief that religion is a cherished practice which should go uninhibited-- motivated the written Constitutional statement that government not interfere with religion. But that moral foundation conflicts with the sandy shores many are standing on today. It seems the idea now is that religion is secondary, especially if that religion falls outside of the more popular humanistic standards.

"When someone says we cannot create laws that have a moral standard, what they are actually saying is that they want to replace the moral standards of the current laws," said author and blogger Curtis Ophoven. "They want a new moral standard."

Ophoven referenced Matthew 12:30, where Jesus states, "you are either for me or against me." "There is no such thing as a neutral law," Ophoven said. "Laws direct the path of a nation."

According to the Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence, the New York City ban reflects an "anti-religion sentiment" in that state which views religion as "dangerous and something that must be kept entirely out of the public square."

This view obviously does not consider the ministries to the poor which many churches undertake. David Garcia, a former gang member who now works in ministry, told CNN that troubled kids will be most hurt by the ban. "In schools there's a lot of violence going on. There's a lot of killing. Gang slayings and all of that. And we are trying to make a difference in the schools. If they open the doors to other people to borrow the schools, why can't they lend the schools to the churches?" Garcia said.

Has the city considered what might happen to the community if churches continue to be oppressed? The pastors are concerned that this ban would be just the beginning of hacked religious freedoms. Would religious organizations be banned from meeting in any state-funded building, even with rent paid out? Redeemer Presbyterian Church is one larger church which rents out space at Hunger College for worship services. Where would they go? What might be cut next?

Disturbing pushes against religion have occurred on our nation's other coast. According to a bulletin insert from The Church Around the World, produced by Tyndale, a California couple was fined for holding Bible studies in their home. The city said they violated a code that prohibits "religious, fraternal or non-profit" organizations from meeting in residential neighborhood without a permit. Apparently the code is only enforced if someone complains.

This all sounds much more like China than the United States.

According to Lorence, the only hope now for reversing the New York City ban is if Mayor Bloomberg exercises "executive authority" to reverse it. Let's pray he does.

The Department of Education and the New York Law Department offered this statement on the CNN article: "We view this as a victory for the City's school children and their families. The Department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse City identified with one particular religious belief or practice."

New York City may think they're encouraging religious freedom. On the contrary- they've excluded all religions but one-- and the Bible is not part of it. 

This battle for freedom may be just getting started. on Monday, "An estimated 17,000 worshipers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall Sunday to protest the Appeals Court decision to ban religious services from public schools to avoid the appearance of government endorsement of particular faiths."

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