Tuesday, January 10, 2012


For more on the battle brewing on the issue related to "Houses of Worship" renting space from public schools, please see the information posted below.


WHO: New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera and Religious Leaders including Alliance
Defense Fund Senior Counsel

WHAT: Prayer Rally Opposing Mayor’s Decision to Evict Houses of Worship from Public Schools.
Faith leaders to Bloomberg: “Don’t leave churches homeless; stand for equal access, religious
liberty.” Discriminatory policies will eject churches from communities citywide by Feb. 12,
growing coalition continues protests.

WHEN: Thursday January 12, 2012 12:00PM EST

WHERE: Morris High School, 1100 Boston Rd. (at corner of 167th St.), Bronx, New York

NEW YORK — New York City Council Member Fernando Cabrera and Religious Leaders including Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence will be available for media interviews Thursday following a rally organized to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to evict houses of worship from public schools. The rally is open to the public.

“Houses of worship throughout the city consider this policy to be nothing short of discrimination, and we will make that known on Thursday,” said Cabrera. “I applaud the New York City Housing Authority’s efforts to work with religious groups that meet in their spaces, but the Department of Education needs to follow suit.”

Cabrera explained that the city is in perilous economic times and that houses of worship provide social services that take the burden off the city and its taxpayers.

“Treating houses of worship equally with other community groups helps our communities,” said Cabrera. “Evicting them hurts people and neighborhoods by denying them the social and spiritual services they desperately need, which in my district includes tutoring services, soup kitchens, and more. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott need to listen to what the citizens of this city want.”

The rally comes on the heels of the first big victory for equal access in New York City this year. Following a series of rallies and demonstrations organized by Pastor Dimas Salaberrios and other religious leaders (including a rally on Thursday January 5th where Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Pastor Dimas Salaberrios, Pastor Bill Devlin and Pastor Michael Carrion were arrested along with three congregants): the New York City Housing Authority relented from its efforts to evict at least five churches meeting for worship services in the community centers of the city’s public housing properties. Pastor Joe Fletcher of Bronx Bible Church and Pastor DimasSalaberrios of Infinity New York Church received calls from Housing Authority officials who told the pastors that the city is willing to sign long-term agreements so the churches can continue conducting their services in the projects.

“Churches and other religious groups should be able to meet in public buildings on the same terms as other community groups,” said Lorence. “These churches offer the people in hurting communities hope and help for their daily needs. To drive out the churches based on a discredited, extreme notion of ‘separation of church and state’ benefits no one and harms people who need help most.”

In December, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in the Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York case, the Housing Authority sought to expand the ban on worship services from the city’s public schools to include the community centers at public housing developments. ADF attorneys explained the relevant constitutional law to the Housing Authority and warned of legal action if it did not allow the churches to keep meeting.

Councilman Fernando Cabrera has served the 14th Council District of the Bronx since January 2010, and he has served as senior pastor of New Life Outreach International since 1988.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.



Carmen said...

To God be the glory. God will be with us. Man wants to stop God's plan but that is not going to happen captain! Freedom of expression remember! Helloooooo! Country has bigger issues to worry about.


Anonymous said...

a church is a church, a school is a school. get a church instead of taking our public space. most of them are fundamentalist, with bigoted views of women and freedom anyway....Rev Diaz has a place for you.

Boogiedowner said...

Thanks for your genuine expression of your beliefs.

Personally, I think each request should be considered by the principal, school board and or the community at large, not a central dogmatic authority that is often “outside” the community. I do understand the sensitivity since impressionable youth can be a "target". Much like an abortion clinic in a school would be inappropriate; there are times when over zealous religious institutions can be an issue. From my personal experience in the NYC public school system, the church groups that rent space are discreet extra sources of revenue that teach foreign languages or possible religious instruction to children who often are not from the school in question but do live in the community. I personally have only witnessed these rentals after school hours and heard about them on weekends when children are not in school. I have never seen recruitment drives of any type amongst the children.

In regard to renting from Rev. Diaz; much like the development that has his name that rents to the Bronx LGBT community without discrimination, religious institutions should have the same right to rent space in public schools when the community deems it appropriate.

In relation to the preordaining religious groups as fundamentalist, bigoted or against woman, these are your opinions. People do have the right to have fundamentalist beliefs. Calling religious institutions or religious bigoted is again your opinion. In regard to stating religious institutions are against women, if this is the case they grossly deformed their message and again this is your opinion. In my religion the bond between mother and child is PARAMOUNT.

Lastly, religious institutions have always served as a force in the community to EDUCATE. Even alphabets were often given to societies through church figures. One prime example includes the life of Saints Cyril and Methodius. They crafted an entire alphabet used by hundreds of million for the past millennium.

Religion can be used as a means to mind control or a pre-text for hatred and yes even war. Unfortunately, this is only the case due to our ignorance as a society and the state of our own spirituality. I hope for a society were religion and spirituality are used to improve us. We have been down the “Religion is the Opium of the People” road before. Why are we trying to repeat ourselves? What I believe we should fear more than a society where people contemplate and discuss religious issues is a society where power is centralized in the hands of the few who make the decision for us as to what we should believe.