Locked Out: Court Narrows Restraining Order to One Church

Restraining order only applies to one church appeal court says.

If you’ve been following our coverage of the plight of New York City churches and religious institutions that meet in the city’s public schools, you learned that a 10-day reprieve was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. That reprieve was received with gladness on Thursday as dozens of churches immediately applied for and received new permits from the city to meet this Sunday and next.

Homeless Churches

On Friday, however, the mood quickly changed as the Bloomberg administration promptly revoked the permits except for the one issued to the Bronx Household of Faith. The move followed the court’s clarification that its order only applied to one church.

This stunning development continues the drama that has been going on for months, but seemed to have worsened just before the final Feb. 12 services were held. Several churches managed to make other arrangements, contracting to meet at Jewish synagogues, at Seventh-Day Adventist churches and at other locations around the city where their Sunday services would be allowed. Other churches were finding it difficult to find affordable places to meet in the communities they serve, expecting to cancel services until then.

Attorney Comment

An attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, Jordan Lorence, explained to the Associated Press that many of the churches “…really want to ride this roller coaster to the end so they can meet in the schools as they should.” The clarification was made too late in the day for the ADF to issue a follow-up news release.

The New York state legislature is considering a bill that would force the city to reverse its policy against churches meeting in public schools. However, the state assembly is currently on recess and will not be returning to Albany until Feb. 28.

Building Perseverance

American Christians are witnessing the gradual and steady demise of their religious liberties with New York City taking a position against churches that no other large city has ever taken. There are several scriptures we can all take comfort in as we endure hardships for the Lord. In Romans 5:3-5 we are encouraged as follows:

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Photo: Creation Cafe

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