Church, state dispute still alive in Calaveras County

By Mike Morris, The Union Democrat

A controversial resolution the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors passed three months ago recognizing the work of an Angels Camp pregnancy resource center was rescinded Tuesday, then re-adopted with the deletion of the word "unborn."

The vote on the resolution recognizing Calaveras Door of Hope came after three hours of discussion and dozens of comments from those inside the packed board room.

Supervisor Cliff Edson, along with Board Chairwoman Debbie Ponte and Supervisor Darren Spellman, voted for the modified resolution,while Supervisors Merita Callaway and Chris Wright voted against it.

"I see it as supporting a group of people doing a community service," Edson said.

Callaway said the issue was not with Door of Hope, but rather "crossing a fine line between church and state."

At issue is the portion of the board's original April 8 resolution that stated, "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 original resolution also said, "Calaveras Door of Hope endeavors to save the lives of unborn children by partnering with community members who volunteer their time, financial resources and prayers supporting their clients with kindness and compassion while listening without judgment."

In May, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California asked the board to rescind its resolution. The ACLU said it endorsed a specific religion, which violated the constitution. The ACLU also said it was concerned the board adopted the resolution before allowing public comment, as required by law.

For the full story, see the July 9, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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