Religious Leaders and Electeds Protest Mike Bloomberg in the Rain Prior to State of the City

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The rain didn't stop a group of religious leaders and elected officials from rallying outside Morris High School in the Bronx today before the mayor's State of the City speech. Around 100 protestors were fenced in a block away from the school chanting under a sea of umbrellas. They had trekked to the Bronx to speak out against the city's ban on religious institutions using public school facilities. (In June, it was ruled by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the city could "bar any religious worship in the schools because it appears to promote a particular faith.")

"We've been good neighbors. We're not here to ask for a favor. We're here to ask for fairness," shouted Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a pastor who was arrested last week protesting this cause. "What about religious equality?...Our soldiers have died for our religious freedom. We're not going to allow one mayor [to stop that]."

Councilwoman Letitia James joined in on the fun, first praising the weather: "I'm glad it's raining," she said (Runnin' Scared did not agree). "It reminds us of our humbleness...who we are, who we are here to serve...Think of all the suffering."

She added, "Mayor Bloomberg, this policy has got to end, because there's too much violence in our community. We know how to save them, because we know how to bring them closer to God."

Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield began his short speech saying, "I have a secret to tell you. My secret is I'm Jewish."

Why was he telling this secret? "This is not a Christian issue. This is not a Jewish issue. This is not a Muslim issue. It's an issue of fairness. ... Our country was founded on freedom of religion," he said.

Runnin' Scared, wet and umbrella-less, got to speak to one protestor before seeking shelter inside the State of the City auditorium. David Haberer, a 59-year-old reverend who lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, said he showed up because he doesn't want to see valuable programs lost: "The churches play an important role in the the neighborhood," he said. "When you remove that, you remove stable institutions out of the community."

Even though the protest was sectioned off away from the school, Haberer added, "[Bloomberg] knows we're here. He's chosen not to deal with us."

[SamTLevin / @SamTLevin]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.

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6 comments
Dnzspecop
Dnzspecop

First, we all know that we have zealots and crazed religious folks out there. However, the majority of the people who participate in church events to help the community are rational minded individuals who is no different from anyone else who desires to help, other than, they believe in a higher power. It amazes me how a small group of individuals who have no faith, who have a hatred for religion are able to expel organizations from public space when they do good for the community. Many times, communities have no one else to turn to except to a church or religious organization. If people disagree with religion, fine, but dont stop religious organizations from providing the help they give to the communities that many other organization don't participate in or even care about.

Jesuspath
Jesuspath

I praise God for this man and women of God that made them self present to make a positive point and request we need to be able to have the auditorium to continue bring new and valuable programs to the comunity of how to love one another and forgive and to be able stand in the mist of changes that the world is coming to because is all writin in the word of God.

Sunny
Sunny

Do it in your own auditorium. You have churches and temples and mosques. Do it there, not inside schools.

Dnzspecop
Dnzspecop

some facilities are not able to house such events, some churchs/temples and mosques are nothing more than a hole in a wall. Many times, the churches do not receive these locations for free, they pay for the time they use. Myriam, you sound like someone who really has an issue with religion and religious folk. Hey, some are truly annoying and are unable to accept logic, science and philosphy. Yet, these organizations do make a difference in a community that is constantly forgotten by people and politicians, unless it's dealing with money, votes or some white person gets robbed.

Budbear
Budbear

And, may I add... tax-exempt... churches, temples and mosques.

Myriam Breitman
Myriam Breitman

 "I'm glad it's raining," she said (Runnin' Scared did not agree). "It reminds us of our humbleness...who we are, who we are here to serve...Think of all the suffering."  This quote demonstrates rather well why people are leaving the church. There is nothing great about suffering or pain.  Stop promoting it and just live your life and be happy. Jesus does not concern himself with you. That is if he is there at all.

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