Jerry Newcombe

A new court ruling has determined that churches can no longer rent public school facilities.

Writing for Facts & Trends (4/3/14), Bob Smietana observes, “The 2-1 ruling from the Second Circuit Court is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle between the Bronx Household of Faith and the Board of Education of the City of New York.”

Indeed, this is not new. This is the latest decision in an on-going battle that the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been fighting for years. In fact, I can remember interviewing Rev. Bob Hall, the church’s founding pastor, as far back as the 1990s on this case for a religious freedom TV special, hosted by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy.

Jordan Lorence, one of the ADF attorneys, fighting on behalf of the churches, said that the city officials trying to oust the churches are treating Christianity as if it were asbestos.

The amazing thing about all this is how contrary it is to our national spiritual heritage. Consider a short review.

First of all, the idea of schools for the masses, which eventually became public schools, is a result of the desire to teach the Bible. After about a dozen years after the Puritans founded Boston, they passed “the Old Deluder Satan Act.”

They stated that it is one of the chief ends of that “old deluder Satan” to keep people from the Word of God. Therefore, people need to read the Bible for themselves. Therefore, they need to read. Therefore, we need to have schools to teach them how to read. This is the origin of schools for the masses in the American experience.

America was founded by different colonists, the vast majority of whom came for religious freedom. They were all Christians of one stripe or another. They eventually learned to work together when Mother England threatened their rights.

When we became a country, we agreed that we would not allow any one denomination (all being Christian) to lord it over the others. The very first freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights was the freedom of religion. The framers wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Liberals today talk about the “freedom of worship”---but, as we see in this case in New York, they don’t even grant that. Freedom of religion includes that of worship, but much more.

George Washington famously said in his Farewell Address that we can’t maintain national morality apart from religion. John Adams said our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people and will not work for any other.

Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.