ACLU: Board vote too religious

By Mike Morris / The Union Democrat

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors plans to revisit a controversial resolution it passed two months ago recognizing the work of an Angels Camp pregnancy resource center.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sent a letter last month to county officials asking the board to repeal its resolution supporting the Calaveras Door of Hope. The ACLU said the resolution endorses a specific religion, which violates the state constitution, and is concerned the board adopted the resolution without allowing for public comment as required by law.

Board members discussed the letter during a closed-session meeting May 27, and the following day issued a lengthy response to the ACLU. Despite disagreeing with the ACLU's legal analysis, the board plans to place the item on its June 24 agenda.

At issue is the portion of the resolution that states, "the Door of Hope 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."

The ACLU also took exception to adopting the resolution in conjunction with the annual "40 Days for Life" program - a "pro-life campaign with a vision to access God's power through prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion."

"While it is permissible for the board to recognize the charitable work of local religious groups, the board must do this without endorsing the group's sectarian tenets," states the letter from Fresno-based ACLU attorney Novella Coleman.

For the complete story, see the June 6, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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