It's an old adage that politics makes for strange bedfellows. Perhaps the latest example of this might be liberal California senator Barbara Boxer's support of the California Mission Preservation Act, a bill signed into law last week by the president. The Act sets aside $10 million over five years as funds for the restoration and preservation of California's twenty-one missions, their artwork, artifacts, and indigenous plants. Boxer emphasizes on her website that aside from their historical significance, the missions bring in substantial income for local businesses from tourists visiting the state. The Chicago Tribune offered a helpful comparison on that point-the missions bring more money into the state's economy than any other public attraction, excepting Disneyland.
All well and good, but there's a catch … one that Ms. Boxer has apparently decided to overlook. Nineteen of the twenty-one missions are owned by the Roman Catholic Church and, moreover, have active congregations. Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit in a federal court last week, asserting the bill violates the Constitution...
Here's the board for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. That organization has been around for 50 years, but I'm not familiar with them and I don't know if there's a tie to the Ford Foundation, PFAW, or other fine groups.
There's another report on the controversy in "Missions are dear to Californians, but should they get U.S. funds?"
In slightly related news, today's Disturbing Visual is the picture of Boxer and Feinstein at this link. Little sister/big sister? Barbara takes her Geritol? Feel free to provide your own disturbing tagline.
MultiCultiCult · Tue, 12/21/2004 - 12:01 · Importance: 1