On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law No. 113-291). Section 3051(b)(5) of this new law authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to study the viability of the National Park Service supporting historic sites associated with the Flushing Remonstrance, the document signed in 1657 that is recognized as the precursor of religious freedom in America. Properties that will be examined are the John Bowne House and our very own Friends Meetinghouse. Here is the text of the new law:
The Secretary of the Interior (referred to in this section as the ``Secretary'') shall conduct a special resource study regarding each area, site, and issue identified in subsection (b) to evaluate--(5) Flushing Remonstrance, New York.--The John Bowne House, located at 3701 Bowne Street, Queens, New York, the Friends Meeting House located at 137-17 Northern Boulevard, Queens, New York, and other resources in the vicinity of Flushing, New York, relating to the history of religious freedom during the era of the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance.
The Park Service plans to use internal standards to determine whether the Bowne House and our Quaker Meetinghouse meet the criteria to be included in the nation’s park system. The criteria will be based on the sites meeting national significance, suitability, and feasibility, as well as the need for National Park Service management. The study, which will cost between $200,000 and $300,000, could lead to the two locations becoming either National Historic Parks or National Historic Sites.