A national humanist organization sent a letter to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio last week after a Christian legal group asked him to reverse a ban on worship in public schools.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wisconsin-based First Amendment rights group, wrote to de Blasio asking for him to enforce the city’s ban on religious services in schools.
“The New York City Board of Education has been in the courts for many years because of its sincere conviction that is wrong on so many levels for public school to be used by churches for worship purposes,” the letter said.
Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving New York City’s ban on religious worship and services in public school buildings.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the city could prohibit religious organizations from using schools to host services.
“(The City) runs a substantial risk of incurring a violation of the Establishment Clause by hosting and subsidizing the conduct of religious worship services,” said Judge Pierre N. Leval.
Representatives from de Blasio’s office said they planned to work with religious groups to find a way for them to continue to use the schools like any other organization.
“Now that litigation has concluded, the city will develop rules of the road that respect the rights of both religious groups and nonparticipants,” said Wiley Norvell, a de Blasio spokesperson. “While we review and revise the rules, groups currently permitted to use schools for worship will continue to be able to worship on school premises.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, however, said they think de Blasio has an obligation to follow the directive of the court.
“The school district has done its job and win, commendable, and now it is your job as mayor to back your city,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s letter said.
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