New York, NY – OpEd In NY Post Questions Funds For Religious Organizations.


    New York, NY – Can you tell the difference between a youth soccer league organized by a church and a youth soccer league organized by a religious school? Neither can we – but, according to the Bloomberg administration, funding the church league is fine, while funding the religious-school league would violate the First Amendment.

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    That’s just one example of how city policy on funding for religious institutions is shot through with inconsistency and incoherence. The confusion has been hitting home across the city in recent weeks, as nonprofit groups of all kinds have learned whether they received funds in the city’s budget for the new fiscal year.

    Of course, the city government does not (and should not) allow taxpayer dollars to support sectarian activities such as worship services and religious instruction. On the other hand, it does (and should) fund religious institutions in their role as community organizations – but only sometimes.

    The Bloomberg administration believes it’s OK to fund “operating expenses” of community programs run by religious institutions. This year’s budget, for example, provides funds for Beis Medrash of Kew Gardens, a synagogue, to operate youth programs and for Bethany Baptist Church of Jamaica to operate a senior center (and that’s just in the “B’s” – the budget funds literally hundreds of such programs) [nypost]

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