The California legislature is refusing to contribute to the restoration of our state's historic missions because of that old saw, the so-called separation of church and state.
A California Democrat's spokesman said that while the federal government contributes to the restoration of famous churches such as Old North Church, the missions conduct too many services to allow spending state funds on restoration. In his eyes, if a church has two services a week, as they do at Old North, it's all right for the government to help with the restoration; but if a church has daily services, then basically that's just too much religion and you can forget government funds for restoration projects.
There are few (if any) buildings in California which are more significant in our state and national history than the missions, many of which are in dire need of earthquake retrofitting and other expensive preservation measures. Some of these parishes serve relatively poor congregations. If the state government is going to involve itself in the preservation of historic buildings, then the missions should be at the top of the list.
Below, a 2004 photo of the ruins from the 1812 earthquake at Mission San Juan Capistrano. These ruins are sometimes referred to as "the American Acropolis."
Another view, with restored bells in the foreground:
I find the attitudes of the anti-religionists in this matter quite regrettable. I suspect that the day is not far off when lawsuits will be initiated to prevent California schoolchildren from taking field trips to missions. And I'm rather amazed a lawsuit hasn't yet prevented the annual ritual of thousands of California schoolchildren, constructing missions from popsicle sticks and styrofoam.