State/church success moves from Hawaii to Michigan

Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber, FFRF Lifetime Members, have made several notches in their state/church separation belts since moving home to Michigan 16 months ago from Hawaii, where they had lived since 1992 and founded Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church.HCSSC was involved in dozens of high-profile controversies there.

Their new group is the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists. Mitch provided a rundown of recent activism successes:

• We forced the city of Grand Haven to remove a 50-foot steel cross and a huge annual nativity scene from Dewey Hill. Both the cross and nativity had been in place on public property during Christmas since the 1960s.

• We also forced two public school districts, Fruitport and Grand Haven, to evict a pastor-led bible club (“Freewater”) that was operating during lunch hour.

• MACRA also forced Ottawa County to remove a sign promoting biblical scripture from Hager Park in Jenison.

• Most recently, MACRA forced Hudsonville Public Schools to evict Bible Club Ministries International from three public schools.

“We have been contacted by more parents and are currently researching other Michigan schools where illegal and unconstitutional religious activity is reportedly taking place on campus while school is in session,” Kahle said.

The Center for Inquiry-Michigan invited Huber to speak March 11 at the Women’s City Club in Grand Rapids on MACRA’s work.

Kahle was FFRF’s 2011 Freethinker of the Year for convincing the Hawaii Senate to drop prayers to open legislative sessions. He and a colleague successfully sued state officials for assaulting them in the Senate during their peaceful protest.

Freedom From Religion Foundation