Huffpost New York

Bloomberg Defends Decision Prohibiting Religious Groups From Worshiping In Schools

Posted: Updated:

As the final day of worshiping in public schools came and went on Sunday, Mayor Bloomberg defended the city's ban on worship services in public schools citing the decision as one of the "basics of this country."

Bloomberg referenced Constitutional law and told reporters at a press conference on Monday:

I've always thought that one of the great things about America is that we keep a separation between church and state and the more clear that separation is, the more those people who want to be able to practice their religion will have the opportunity to do so.

He went on to say, "For those that want to get rid of those separations, let me just point out: Someday the religion that's practiced there may not be your religion and you might in that sense look back and say let's keep the two separate."

Back in December, the 48-member Bronx Household of Faith led by Pastor Robert Hall lost a 17-year series of lawsuits against the city when the Supreme Court ruled to reject the church's plea to overturn the ban.

Public officials praised the court for recognizing the need for separation. A senior counsel for the city, Jane Gordon, said she viewed the result as a major victory and that "the department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice."

However, as expected, the decision was met with widespread criticism from religious officials, including Hall who said, "We're very disappointed. We think this is a dangerous precedent that allows the state to make a distinction between various types of religious activity."

In 1994, Hall applied on behalf of the small church to utilize a public school as a place of worship, which ignited the long legal battle.