Sunday, January 8, 2012

Religious Freedom - #3551 - New York Arrests City Councilman, Others for Prayer Protest - Citizen Link

A New York City Council member was one of seven people arrested Thursday for kneeling in prayer and blocking the entrance to a government building, protesting a new city-wide policy of prohibiting churches from meeting in any public buildings.  The issue stems from the Bronx Household of Faith case, in which a New York City church was told it could no longer meet in a public school building on the weekends. After 16 years of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court declined on Dec. 5 to hear the case, allowing to stand a decision from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying the congregation’s constitutional rights were not violated by the policy.  As a result, the New York City Department of Education told 60 churches they must leave the public schools in which they’ve been holding worship services by Feb. 12. Now, the New York City Housing Authority has told five others they can no longer meet in community centers attached to public housing projects. The end date is Feb. 25.  City Councilman Fernando Cabrera was one of four pastors led away from the city’s Department of Law — ironically, located at 100 Church Street in Manhattan — in handcuffs only a few minutes after arriving.  “There was one prayer. There was one song. Immediately after that, we were arrested,” Cabrera said. “The Wall Street occupiers were there for 40 days, and there were some very bad things happening there. But that was tolerated.”  Bishop Joseph Mattera of Christ Covenant Coalition, one of the people organizing the protest, said one of the churches being evicted from a Housing Authority property has not seen a single homicide take place in its formerly crime-ridden Bronx neighborhood since moving in six years ago.  Read more........

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