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ADF attorney available for media interviews after 2nd Circuit hearing in Bronx church case

Appellate court to hear arguments in 15-year legal battle to secure equal treatment for churches in rentals of public school buildings

Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009

WHO: ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence
WHAT: Available for media interviews after hearing in Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York
WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 6, immediately following the hearing, which begins at 3 p.m. EDT
WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, United States Courthouse, 141 Church St., New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence will be available for media interviews at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New Haven following a hearing Tuesday in Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York. Lorence will argue that the federal district court’s November 2007 permanent injunction allowing churches to rent public school buildings on the same terms and conditions as all other groups should stand.

“Churches shouldn’t be discriminated against simply because they want to rent a public building just like other groups can,” said Lorence. “The New York City Board of Education has continued to deny churches this right even though the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that the government must allow religious groups to have the same access that other groups have. It is our hope that the 2nd Circuit will continue to allow churches to exercise that freedom.”

For nearly 15 years, ADF has defended Bronx Household of Faith in their legal effort against the New York City Department of Education. Officials have claimed repeatedly that allowing churches, such as Bronx Household of Faith, to rent school buildings would be unconstitutional even though the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly ruled otherwise. The outcome of the case could have wide-ranging ramifications upon churches that meet in public schools in many places across the nation.

“Churches have the same First Amendment rights as any other group in America, and all we’re talking about here is renting space in a building,” said Lorence. “The government cannot treat people or groups with non-religious viewpoints more favorably than those with religious viewpoints. Churches that meet in public school buildings have been a huge benefit to the communities around them. It’s very sad to see government officials with a misunderstanding of the Constitution attempt to kick such groups out.”

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.