New York City is banning Sunday school, figuratively speaking. From the NYT:
Because of a recent federal court ruling that upheld a city policy of not allowing religious services in public schools, dozens of congregations throughout New York have been told that they must move; next Sunday will be the last time they will be allowed to rent space in schools for services. […]
Opponents say that the congregations are violating the separation of church and state, causing confusion among children who attend the schools, and that they are trying to impose their beliefs on others in a city known for its religious and cultural diversity.
No group, religious or not, deserves subsidized rent on the public dime. Costs need to be covered, rental rates should be fair, and selection impartial. Tenants are also well advised to be aboveboard about their activities. If these conditions are met, Via Meadia High would welcome everyone from the Knights of Columbus and Rotary Club to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So should any New York public school.
The church ban is madness. It’s also shortsighted: religious congregations are irreplaceable community assets. They help local residents build stronger families, promote charity, and strengthen community involvement—all of which, not incidentally, are good foundations for student performance in school.
This is a terrible sign for the future of New York. It’s part of an utterly misguided attempt to cleanse any trace of religion from public life. The state senate and assembly will soon be debating the issue. Let us hope cooler heads and less blinkered viewpoints prevail.