The following comes from a May 30 story in the Calaveras Enterprise.
The American Civil Liberties Union is asking Calaveras County’s board of supervisors to reverse its April vote honoring the Door of Hope, a Christian group whose services target women with unplanned pregnancies.
The May 15 letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said that the resolution violates sections of the California Constitution intended to prevent governments from endorsing and supporting any particular religion.
In particular, the letter noted that the resolution praised Door of Hope for “advocacy and education” that “seeks to enlighten and strengthen the lives of women and young women in Calaveras County by inviting them to test and see for themselves the many blessings that can come from living the teachings of Christ.”
Supervisor Darren Spellman, who sponsored the resolution, said it was reviewed before the April 8 meeting by the county counsel and that he believes it is legal and that it does not endorse a particular religion.
“Christianity is not a religion,” Spellman said. “Christianity is a concept, a philosophical concept.”
On the other hand, Spellman said he believes it would be inappropriate if the Board of Supervisors were to endorse a particular church, such as the Methodist, Lutheran or Catholic denominations.
The agenda report for the resolution noted that it was being presented in conjunction with 40 Days for Life, an annual event leading up to Easter in which so-called “pro-life” groups voice their opposition to abortion.
That political connection caught the attention of some community members who consider themselves “pro-choice” and so favor keeping abortion legal.
Muriel Zeller of Valley Springs appeared at the April 8 meeting to tell the board that by approving the resolution it was supporting a “religious crusade” and taking a position that “elevates Christianity over all other religions in Calaveras County.”
Zeller is one of 28 Calaveras County residents listed on the ACLU letter as supporters of the organization’s request.
The board vote that day was 3-1-1 with Spellman, board Chairwoman Debbie Ponte and Supervisor Cliff Edson in favor. Supervisor Chris Wright was opposed. Supervisor Merita Callaway abstained, saying she felt the resolution endorsed a specific religious point of view.
To read the entire story, click here.
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