.- A bill passed by the House of Representatives authorizing $10 million for the restoration of 21 Spanish missions in California has been submitted to President George W. Bush for approval.
Of the 21 missions, 19 are owned by the Catholic Church and two are owned by the state; seven have been declared national landmarks.
Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, a supporter of the legislation, notes that all of the funds will be channeled to and overseen by a nonprofit group, the California Mission Foundation.
Nonetheless, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has threatened to sue.
Catholic League president William Donohue says the threat of a lawsuit is misplaced since excising religion from history simply cannot be done.
“The fact is that the history of California is unintelligible without noting the magnificent and lasting contributions of Spanish missionaries,” he said. “The government has a strong interest in preserving the nation’s heritage, and that is why it was appropriate for the House to provide the necessary resources for the restoration of the Spanish missions.”
The Catholic Leagues expects Bush to sign the bill.