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Theocracy at the Skate Rink

John on June 24, 2006 at 12:43 pm

According to this story, the current definition of civil rights in New York comes down to this: it’s an all-atheist-skate:

The New York Division of Human Rights threatened Len and Terry Bernardo, owners of the Skate Time 209 rink in Accord, with an investigation because the rink plays Christian music during certain hours. The agency also threatened to charge a local newspaper which advertised the event for “aiding and abetting” unlawful discrimination.

It seems like there are some first amendment rights about assembly and religion that have been overlooked here, but then again if that were the case I’m sure the ACLU would be on top of it in a heartbeat.

Honestly, it’s hard to believe any group, even a government agency, could be this stupid. There must be more to the story. Either that or someone in the NY Division of Human Rights has been reading way too many Frank Rich columns for his own good.

Update: Here is a link to the Skate Time 209 web site. As you can see, this is a brand new facility which just opened in April. Right on the front page is a schedule which for Sunday reads, “Christian Music.” And in what appears to be a new addition to the site, the following legalese has been added:

[T]his is a disclosure of the genre of music that we play during this session, as listed on We do not deny or discourage anyone from coming to this session. All are welcome.

It seems increasingly clear to me that the NY state Human Rights Division is way out of line in taking action against these people. Hopefully the media attention will cause them to reconsider and back off of what appear to be some really decent, community minded people.

In that regard, I note this story which says Len and Terry Bernardo (owners of the Skate Time 209) just received a “Communits Asset Builders” award from the Ulster County Youth Board.

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Category: Absurd & Outrageous |

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