May 2014 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a New York City Board of Education policy banning churches from meeting in public school facilities after hours.

The board created the regulation in order to avoid the appearance of endorsing religion, but a local Christian church, the Bronx Household of Faith, objected to the rule and sued.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last month that the board’s decision is “consistent with its constitutional duties.” In the majority decision, Judge Pierre Leval wrote that freedom of religion “has never been understood to require government to finance a subject’s exercise of religion.” The ruling reverses a 2012 decision by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, who blocked the board from enforcing the regulation.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a large Religious Right legal group that is representing the church, has vowed to appeal the Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education ruling to the entire 2nd Circuit.