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NY District Judge Orders City to Allow Use of School Buildings for Religious Activity E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Monday, 02 July 2012

In yet another chapter in the saga of the Bronx Household of Faith, New York District Judge Loretta Preska has issued a permanent injunction barring the City from enforcing its ban on the use of school buildings for religious worship after hours. 

The status of this case - which many including me thought was over - is confusing to say the least. When the Supreme Court declined to hear the Bronx Household appeal of the 2nd Circuit's ruling siding with the City, it appeared to mark the end of the dispute in a surprising result. The Appeals Court had ruled the City was within free speech bounds by restricting the use of school buildings out of concern that worship services in schools in the weekends would give the impression of an endorsement of religion. Many religious liberty advocates including the BJC argued that was the wrong decision, that if public facilities are open to all other groups they must be equally accessible to religious groups.

Unfazed by the 2nd Circuit's ruling, however, Judge Preska nonetheless issued an injunction earlier this year, arguing that while the Appeals Court had decided based on free speech grounds, Bronx Household was entitled to access on free exercise grounds. Her ruling issued Friday makes permanent that injunction, potentially sending the matter back to the Appeals Court for another review. The NYTimes reports on the latest decision here. You can read Judge Preska's opinion here.

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