Turtles all the way down

West Mich. towns riled by atheist’s crusade

Posted by doctore0 on January 25, 2015


Norton Shores – — What is an atheist doing in the heart of Michigan’s Bible Belt?

Raising hell, for one thing.

Mitch Kahle, who moved to this lakefront community in western Michigan a year ago, has quickly made his presence felt.

He convinced Ottawa County to remove a religious sign from a county park, persuaded Grand Haven to turn a 48-foot cross on city land into an anchor, and got two school districts to stop a minister from continuing to hold lunchtime programs at schools.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners will decide whether to return the sign bearing Psalm 19:1 to Hager Park near Jenison.

Far from turning the other cheek, conservative churches and their members have railed against Kahle at emotional City Council meetings and overflowing forums.

“I’ve been called every name in the book,” said Kahle.

He has received hate mail and death threats, and been cursed at by Christians.

From pulpits to social media, he has been compared to a terrorist, Hitler, vampire, demon and even the dark prince himself, Satan.

“How is it that a dirtbag can come into a community and cause so much controversy and destruction?” asked Rick Phillips, 59, a Spring Lake real estate broker who organized a rally to support the cross last year. “These carpetbaggers need to be driven from our community.”

Residents also hope to recall one of the Grand Haven council members who voted earlier this month to remove the cross. The ballot language was approved by county officials Thursday, allowing them to petition for a recall election against Councilman Bob Monetza.
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