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After Supreme Court Ruling, Bronx Councilman Wants to Legislate School Access for Churches

Following a Supreme Court decision that would keep churches from worshiping inside school buildings, Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a deeply religious politician who doubles as pastor of a church on Morris Avenue, will attempt to legislate guaranteed access for churches at New York City public schools.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court declined to review a court ruling, in a long-running case brought by University Heights-based Bronx Household of Faith, that upholds a Department of Education policy prohibiting churches from using city schools to conduct worship services.

“Although today’s news may be cause for some disappointment, the question now moves to the individual states,” Cabrera said in an optimistic statement today. “I have full confidence that our State Legislature and Governor will amend our education law to end the Department of Education’s exclusionary policy and allow our churches the same access afforded to other community organizations. This case was never about special treatment, it was about fairness and I fully intend to continue this fight until we see action.”

On Thursday, Cabrera, who represents the area that contains Bronx Household of Faith, will hold a press conference at noon and introduce legislation in the City Council that would amend the law that excludes churches from using school buildings for services.

Edwin Santiago, a member of Bronx Household of Faith, said church members are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision. He called the city’s policy “discrimination” and hoped Cabrera’s legislation could remedy the situation, which will leave Bronx Household and at least 60 other city churches without a house to worship in come Jan. 1.

“We’re just going to pray and take it as a message from God,” Santiago said. “[But] we don’t really know what that message is yet.”

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