The Center for Law & Religious Freedom

October 10, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  Kim Colby, Senior Counsel, (703) 894-1087,

Religious Groups File Brief to Protect Religious Liberty in New York City

Religious organizations, many of whom represent hundreds of New York City religious congregations, filed a brief today to protect religious groups’ right to rent school facilities on the same basis as other community groups.  The New York City Board of Education discriminatorily excludes any group that wishes to meet for a “religious worship service” on weekends or in the evenings,

Organized by the Christian Legal Society, the friend-of-the-court brief was joined by thirteen other religious organizations: Council of Churches of the City of New York; Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; Brooklyn Council of Churches; Queens Federation of Churches; American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; National Association of Evangelicals; Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; American Bible Society; Anglican Church in North America; Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing; Synod of New York, Reformed Church in America.  The brief was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York, No. 12-2730. 

Traditionally, congregations have rented school facilities for their religious worship services when they are beginning to meet, have outgrown their old facilities, or have suffered flood or fire.  While most school districts welcome congregations’ rental of empty facilities on weekends or evenings, for seventeen years, New York City’s Board of Education has labored to bar such religious groups. 

The brief filed today urges the Second Circuit to protect New York City congregations’ religious liberty to meet for religious worship services on weekends in empty public schools and to uphold the injunction entered by the federal district court on June 29, 2012.

The brief was written and filed by Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr., Esq., and Thomas P. Gies, Esq., of Crowell & Moring LLP. 

The Christian Legal Society is a nationwide association of Christian attorneys, law students, and law professors and can be visited at