December 2, 2004


Lawsuit seeks to stop Calif. missions funding (SIGNONSANDIEGO NEWS SERVICES, December 2, 2004)

A lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., Thursday is aimed at keeping California's 21 deteriorating missions from receiving a $10 million repairs grant that President Bush approved.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on grounds that spending federal funds on buildings that hold religious services violates the doctrine of separation of church and state. [...]

Preservationists hailed the plan because it will be used to shore up crumbling adobe walls and replace termite-eaten wood at the historical landmarks.

Officials say the missions require at least $39 million in repairs, and an additional $11 million for visitor improvements and for conserving colonial- era paintings, priests' garments and fragile documents.

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala needs $2 million to repair a 200-year- old friary. Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside needs about $5 million for earthquake retrofitting and to upgrade electrical and well-water systems.

California's missions attract 5.3 million visitors annually, including thousands of elementary school students studying California history.

The missions, which stretch from San Diego to Sonoma, were built from 1769 to 1823. The Roman Catholic Church owns 19 of the missions, where Mass is regularly said. Two others are state parks where Masses are said occasionally.

Two years ago, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., wrote the California Missions Preservation Act, which authorizes the Interior Department to give the $10 million to the California Missions Foundation, provided it matched the amount. The foundation, which oversees mission restoration, has raised $3 million.

There are no more fanatical folk than the Separationists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 2, 2004 10:17 PM

Makes you wonder how all those major cities along the California coast have been able to keep their religious-based names for so long.

Posted by: John at December 2, 2004 11:29 PM

Oh no, federal money going to fix historic RELIGIOUS buildings...please no! I don't mind the government supporting x-rated art or NPR, but not the restoration of religious, especially Christian buildings. Was the naming of countless cities, townships, counties, rivers & lakes across this great country part of a religionist conspiracy?


Posted by: Dave W. at December 2, 2004 11:41 PM

Why is this a federal matter?

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 3, 2004 4:07 AM

I think, OJ, you should sometimes consider yourself blessed by having such adversaries. Can Barry Lynn even spell PR?

Posted by: at December 3, 2004 8:18 AM

Good-bye Old North Church.

Posted by: Mikey at December 3, 2004 10:54 AM

So is the position of AUSCS that federal funds should not be used to maintain the houses of Congress? After all, religious ceremonies are held there. What about the WhiteHouse? Or aircraft carriers?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at December 3, 2004 11:39 AM