The N.Y. State Senate has passed a bill requiring N.Y. City public schools to host worship services.
The bill passed in response to a 2011 U.S. Appeals Court decision upholding a N.Y. City policy against worship services in public school buildings.
The plaintiff church, the Bronx Household of Faith, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the High Court refused to take the case.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver blocked the Senate bill in the Assembly, at least temporarily.
In January 2012, Bronx Household returned to U.S. District Court with additional claims, and District Judge Loretta Preska let congregations continue to worship in public schools while she considered the claims.
Action on the proposed legislation has paused during the renewed litigation, so we have time to express our opposition to the Assembly bill, A8800.
If you feel inclined to send a ready-made letter, try this.
Honorable John Doe
N.Y. State Assembly
Albany, New York 12248
Dear Mr. Doe,
Please oppose bill #A8800, which would REQUIRE N.Y. City public schools to house religious worship services.
The N.Y. City Education Department has this policy: “No permit shall be granted for the purpose of holding religious worship services or otherwise using a school as a house of worship.”
Jane Gordon, senior counsel of the N.Y. City law Department, explained that the city “was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice.”
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the policy.
A8800 would overturn that reasonable policy. Please oppose bill #A8800. Thank you.
To Identify Your N.Y. State Assembly Member
Take the following steps to learn the name of your N.Y. State Assembly Member.
1. Google N.Y. State Assembly.
2. Click Assembly Members.
3. Click Member Search.
4. A dialogue box will appear. Fill it in.
5. Click Submit.
6. Your Assembly Member’s name will appear, with a link to his website. If you want to send your message by email from the website, click on the link.
7. When the website appears, look for the word Contact. Click on it.
8. Your Assembly Member’s email address will appear. Click on it. His email form will appear.
Willing to Write Other Officials?
Well-informed persons recommend letters to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
You can write to Cuomo at NYS Capitol Building, Albany, N.Y. 12224. If you prefer to send him an email, google his name, and a link to his website will appear. Enter the website, click on Contact, and his email form will appear.