January 29, 2012
The New York State Senate Education Committee passed a bill Jan. 24 as the first step toward overriding a New York City policy banning churches from holding weekend worship services in rented public schools, WORLD News Service reports. The city's Department of Education gave churches eviction notices in December after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on a 16-year-old viewpoint-discrimination case of a Bronx church that was kicked out of a public school. The city has given more than 60 churches serving primarily low-income neighborhoods until Feb. 12 to find new facilities. "I salute the [Education Committee] on taking bold and decisive action on this important issue," said New York City councilman Fernando Cabrera. If the bill does not pass, New York City would become the first major city in the U.S. to ban churches from meeting in public schools. Several peaceful demonstrations protesting the policy have taken place; Cabrera, who is also a pastor, was arrested along with others at one protest earlier this month.