SAN ANDREAS, Calif. — A county board of supervisors in California has voted to uphold a resolution commending a local Christian pregnancy center despite threats from a prominent church-state separation group to file a lawsuit over the matter.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors originally approved the measure applauding the ministry Doors of Hope in May, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asserted that the resolution violated the Constitution because it endorsed Christianity. Doors of hope provides free assistance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
“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 resolution read.
“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,” it
According to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a Christian legal organization in Sacramento, the ACLU threatened to sue the county over the matter, declaring that it was “crossing a fine line between church and state.” In response, PJI offered to represent the county at no charge should legal action ensue.
“The ACLU is simply trying to bully a small county for recognizing the community service of a Christian, pro-life group based upon the specious claim that this resolution unconstitutionally shows a preference for certain religious views,” stated PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider.
“But a county’s resolution binds no one to a legal code and does not spend one penny from the local treasury. It is highly unlikely that such a threatening letter would have been sent by the ACLU if the Board of Supervisors had recognized a Humanist organization promoting euthanasia,” he said.
Last week, the board decided to rescind the resolution and bring it up for another vote. It removed the word “unborn” from the text of the measure, but left the language regarding Christianity in tact. The reason for the removal has not yet been specified.
After several hours of discussion, with a vote of 3-2, the board upheld the resolution commending Doors of Hope, with Supervisor Cliff Edson, Chairwoman Debbie Ponte and Supervisor Darren Spellman voting in favor of the gesture. Supervisors Merita Callaway and Chris Wright expressed opposition.
PJI states that it is pleased that the board reaffirmed the resolution despite pressure from the ACLU.
“We commend Supervisor Darren Spellman for leading the way in pushing back against the ACLU, and we are gratified that our involvement made a difference,” President Brad Dacus wrote in a press release this week. “We will continue to work with the county to defeat any frivolous lawsuit the ACLU might bring. We want to ensure that no community has to face down these legal bullies alone.”