WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz
32nd Senatorial District Bronx County, New York
The struggle for the right of churches to continue worshipping God while renting space in public schools moves head on. The Education Committee of the New York State Senate, just approved a piece of legislation, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden, that gives the churches the right to be able to hold services of worship in public schools.
As you know, my beloved readers, the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, apparently has declared war on everything that is religion. The Mayor began this war by not allowing any minister, priest or rabbi, to participate in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York.
The horrible destruction, pain and suffering, caused by the terrorist attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001, was an occasion where we saw New York City, State and the whole nation seek God like never before. Churches, Synagogues, and Houses of Worship everywhere were seen full of people crying out to God, and asking for direction, strength and comfort for the families of the more than three thousand victims and for the leadership of our nation.
In every activity held after 9/11 to commemorate that disastrous date, a minister, rabbi, priest or Imam were always invited as religious leaders to invoke the presence of God, at the beginning and at the end of the activities. In other words, God was always part of the celebrations, until last year, when Mayor Bloomberg decided that he did not want the participation or mention of God in such activities.
Now, the latest thing that Mayor Bloomberg has done to show his rejection of religion is to take away the right of the churches to rent the auditorium in public schools to conduct their religious services.
To try to repeal Mayor Bloomberg’s law, Brooklyn State Senator Martin Golden, has submitted a piece of legislation that would authorize and give churches, Synagogues and Mosques, the right to rent public building space, especially school auditoriums, to conduct their services when the buildings are not in use.
This piece of legislation which was approved by the NY Senate Education Committee will now go to the full Senate floor, where all 62 senators will have the opportunity to vote in favor or against it.
It is very important that this legislation is approved by both Chambers, the Senate and the Assembly, and then sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his approval, so it can become law and give the churches the right to conduct their services in schools when they are not in use.
That is why this Sunday, January 29th, at 3:00 p.m., Rev. Salvador Sabino and Councilmember Rev. Fernando Cabrera are inviting everyone to join them in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, in support of Senator Martin Golden’s law.
For this demonstration, they have also invited the Rev. Al Sharpton. We all should participate, and cross the Brooklyn Bridge as a sign of solidarity for this noble cause.
I urge all the members of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, to wear their white Jackets, to dress warm, and join this call of unity and Christian courage. Sunday, January 29th at
3:00 p.m., we will meet at the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn to start our march into Manhattan. Let’s send a message to Mayor Bloomberg, that freedom of religion and expression are part of the American Constitution.
I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.