Justice Department backs churches renting space in public schools
New York City Board of Education objects
Jun 28, 2005
The U.S. Department of Justice is urging a federal court in New York to uphold the right of religious organizations to conduct worship services in public school buildings.
In prior rulings in such cases, courts have held that religious organizations are entitled to the same access to public school buildings as other groups, and that to forbid such religious usage is to practice unlawful discrimination. The practice is growing, with more than 10,000 congregations, often newly formed ones, worshiping in public school buildings across the country. While temporarily housed in schools, many are able to save money to build their own churches.
Now the Department of Justice has made its position clear in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in May with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In the brief the Justice Department sided with the Bronx Household of Faith in its suit against the New York City Board of Education.