When New York City announced last spring it intended to evict religious groups from public school facilities they rented for weekend services, churches fought back with a very public campaign. In June they won a court injunction against the city allowing the churches to stay, for now.
Meeting space is nearly as tight in Toronto as New York, but the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in late August informed churches renting public school space that, beginning Sept. 1, faith-based organizations no longer qualified for reduced rates available to other charitable non-religious organizations, such as the Girl Guides. With only a couple of days' notice these churches saw their rent doubled, quadrupled, or worse, with another 44 percent hike for all renters scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
The rent increases could drive out many of the hundreds of churches now meeting in Toronto public schools. And Canadian churches lack the experience, inclination, and legal advocacy groups that the New York churches had to duke it out in the public square over what strikes many as religious discrimination.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Education Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Posted September 13, 2012 at 6:00 am
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