NYC church fighting public school worship ban

(Photo: Wikimedia)

A New York City church is fighting against Mayor Bill de Blasio's prohibition against worship services in public schools.

Bronx Household of Faith, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed a brief with the US Supreme Court on Monday after losing an appeal in the Second Circuit. 

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg adopted the policy, which bans churches from renting school buildings outside of school hours. Mayor de Blasio previously spoke in favour of overturning the ban.

"I believe that a faith-based organisation has a right like anyone elseā€¦ to use that space," he said in April. 

The policy was never changed however, and the mayor's office submitted a petition to the Court earlier this month defending the ban. 

"The department's decision to make public schools available to religious organisations for a wide range of activities, but not for worship services or as a house of worship, is constitutional," the city insisted, according to World.  

"The policy does not prohibit, limit, or burden any religious practice; does not entangle the government in matters of religion; and does not impair petitioners' ability to speak freely."

ADF attorney Jordan Lorence strongly disagreed. 

"Evicting churches and the help they offer the people in their communities through their worship services in otherwise empty buildings on weekends helps no one," he said in a statement. 

"Violating the First Amendment, as New York City is doing, hurts everyone. For that reason, we hope the US Supreme Court will agree to hear this important case."

Bronx Household of Faith's dispute with the city goes back to 1995, when they were holding services inside of PS 15 in the Bronx. The church got its own building last summer. 

On February 20, the Court is expected to decide whether it will hear the case.