NY College Scraps Ban on 'Religious Services'

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By Nathan Black, Christian Post Reporter
August 19, 2009|6:23 pm

A Christian law firm settled another case of alleged religious discrimination in which a church was not allowed to use facilities at a Binghamton, N.Y., college.

According to the Alliance Defense Fund's announcement on Tuesday, attorneys reached a favorable settlement with Broome Community College on behalf of North Pointe Church. The church can now access campus facilities.

"Churches shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs," said ADF Litigation Counsel Daniel Blomberg. "We are pleased that Broome Community College now recognizes the constitutional right of churches and other religious groups to meet in public meeting facilities on the same terms as other groups."

The lawsuit against the community college was filed in February after North Pointe Church was barred from renting space on campus. Although the church had been holding meeting there for several months, a few members of the public complained to the college about a church meeting in a public facility, according to ADF.

ADF lawyers stated in their arguments that the college's policy banning "religious services" violates First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion as well as Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection under law.

The college has agreed to scrap its ban and allow equal access to campus facilities as well as reimburse legal fees and costs. The settlement prompted ADF lawyers to file a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit with the court Tuesday.

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The Broome College case is just one of numerous cases of religious discrimination on college and university campuses that ADF has been fighting.

A legal alliance of Christian attorneys, ADF has set up the Center for Academic Freedom to address the religious liberties, particularly that of Christian students, that are being attacked across the country.

"There's something terribly wrong on American campuses when Christian students are silenced or punished for speaking their most basic beliefs, when Christian student groups are denied access to facilities or to funds on the same basis as any other student group, and worst of all when Christian students are compelled to participate in activities that violate their deepest beliefs or even compelled to believe things that violate Scripture as a condition for getting a degree," said David French, senior legal counsel for ADF.

According to the legal group, nearly 50 major universities and colleges have had their discriminatory policies legally challenged by the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. And in all of those cases, ADF has been successful in having policies changed or removed.

On the Web: www.alliancedefensefund.org

 

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