In New York City, 160 congregations have been or will shortly be expelled from utilizing school facilities as places of worship, pursuant to city policy. After the U.S. Supreme Court, last month, refused to rule on an appeal brought by one of the affected churches, protests have ensued with arrests being made – including of clergymen.
It should be noted that there may be a legitimate reason for schools to limit the use of their facilities to churches. The New York Times doesn’t tell us that such was the case, but a similar, extant situation with the city housing authority suggests liability could be an issue. Furthermore, we don’t know whether other organizations, secular I assume, will be allowed to continue to use the school facilities. It certainly does appear, however, that churches have been singled out. If churches have been unduly penalized by an ever-more secular city administration, a few items merit the city council’s consideration.
Judeo-Christian New Yorkers account for 78.4 percent of the population. Numbers are not readily available respecting the size, denomination, and activity of expelled congregations, but one may suspect that members of the congregations may well find sympathy amongst many like-minded New Yorkers, outraged at the city government’s treatment of their brothers and sisters; the city council may be surprised at the reaches of indignation generated among church-goers. Christians still hold a majority, and state, local, and federal governments ought to forget it.
Second: All people have values. If New York excludes churches from the use of public school facilities, the local government essentially prioritizes, thereby, some sets of values, and, by default, the adherents of those values, over other individuals. We usually refer to this heinous practice as discrimination, made all the more abhorrent that the self-proclaimed protector and defender of the rights of humankind, the government, is its perpetrator.
Lastly, for the irreligious, looms the possibility that they are wrong. If there is a God, and there is, and if He truly is jealous, in the Biblical sense, of course, would a government be wise to dismiss 160 congregations that worship Him, with the same impunity with which they might expel an unruly softball league? Society did not get to where it is on its own, may have farther to fall than it thinks. His help withdrawn, society may learn just how much of the burden it did not previously carry.
For more on this issue see:
UPDATE: Pastors Protest Again