Did anyone notice? Another one of the seven instances supposedly demonstrating that our religious freedom is endangered has just bit the dust. Last week a federal judge permanently enjoined New York City officials from barring worship services in public schools. Religious groups, Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled, should have the same access to empty school buildings on weekends as any community group, without distinguishing between worship and other activities.Will this ruling stand? Should it? I don't know. The city will likely appeal, and there are good arguments on both sides, although I lean toward those of Judge Preska and the Bronx Household of Faith, which has led this fight. But this latest turn in court again suggests that even the bishops' chosen examples present something a good deal less than a picture of religious liberty in grave peril.Comments here are turned off so that everyone can enjoy the Fourth. Also because I'm afraid that nobody, myself included, has anything new to say on the topic.
Peter Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal and religion writer for the New York Times, is a University Professor Emeritus at Fordham University and author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.