NYC Church Will Continue Fight Despite Ruling

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CBNNEWS.COM

A New York City church is pledging to continue its fight for free speech after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Big Apple's ban on worship services in public schools would stand.

For more than 10 years, the Bronx Household of Faith has been fighting a city policy banning schools from being used after hours for "religious services or instruction."

The battle began in 1994 after the church was denied access to the Anne Cross Mersereau Middle School in the Bronx.

Bronx Household lost an initial lawsuit and an appeal.

The high court's refusal on Monday to hear the case means the lower U.S. appeals court decision will stand.

Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence represented the church.

He said Monday's decision opens the door to potential problems for other churches meeting in public schools across the country.

"It will not force other schools to throw out the churches, but I think it could introduce this option to them, that if for any reason there are members on the school board who want to get rid of the churches, this would give them an excuse to do so," Lorence explained.

"I don't think it is good to have even that kind of policy floating around out there," he added.

Since 2002, the Bronx Household of Faith has been meeting at Public School 15 in New York City. The church was allowed to continue its services there while the case made its way through court.

Monday's decision will immediately impact the congregation and about five dozen other churches in the city that use public schools for worship services.