An atheist firebrand who recently moved to Ottawa County in Michigan is being attacked by Christian residents who claim that he moved to their county specifically to persecute them, The Detroit News reports.
In the year since Mitch Kahle moved back to his native Michigan, he has been able to compel Ottawa County to remove a sign bearing Psalm 19:1 from a public park; transform a 48-foot tall cross into an anchor; and convince two school districts to block a minister from holding religious services during the lunch hour at public schools.
“Kahle is an agent of hate,” Brandon Hall told The Detroit News. “He’s a belligerent bully who is trying to bring his disturbing, hateful agenda to Grand Haven.”
When Kahle complained about the sign with Psalm 19:1 on it, it was removed the same day. At an Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting in early January, residents compared its removal to the Holocaust, and questioned whether the county would be supporting gay marriage next.
“Everybody knows this is a Christian place, not a Muslim place, not a Hindu place,” Matt Kooienga, a pastor at Harvest Baptist Church said during the meeting. “We don’t have to lock our doors. The reason for that is we’re Christians.”
“How is it that a dirtbag can come into a community and cause so much controversy and destruction?” asked Rick Phillips. These carpetbaggers need to be driven from our community.”
But a former Pentecostal Christian said that Kahle has taught him how to be an activist — no matter the cause. “He’s gotten a lot done in a short time,” Brian Plescher told The Detroit News. “He has the ability to be direct, to cut through a lot of unnecessary dialogue to make a point.
For his part, Kahle is unequivocal about the reason the state needs to be kept separate from religious institutions.
“Show me an evangelical Christian organization and I’ll show you a fraud,” he wrote in 2010. “They are all in it for the money, and power over helpless and desperate people.”