Christians Urge Officials to Restore Biblical Sign to Park After Removal Over Complaint

SignJENISON, Mich. — Christians in Michigan are urging officials in Ottawa County to restore a sign citing Scripture to a public park after it was removed following a complaint from a local resident.

The sign at issue quotes from Psalm 19:1, which reads, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”It was erected at Hager Park in Jenison in the late 60’s or early 70’s by the county road commission. It has remained at the site for at least 40 years.

However, recently an unidentified resident complained to officials about the sign, asserting that it was wrongful to promote Christianity with public resources. John Scholtz, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation director, told MLive that after consulting with the board about the matter, he had the sign removed.

“We add and remove signs, buildings and structures from the parks on a routine basis,” Scholtz stated. “In this case, I consulted the parks commission and then decided to have the sign removed in order to reduce potential conflicts in the park.”

He said that current park policy prohibits signs that do not serve informational purposes.

But a number of Christians throughout the area are now calling upon the Ottowa County Board of Commissioners to the restore the sign to its place. Ryan Kooienga, senior pastor at Harvest Baptist Church in Hudsonville, spoke before the commission during a meeting on Tuesday.

“If we don’t take a stand now, when will we?” he asked.

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Area resident Aaron Cooley-Themm has also initiated a petition drive on over the matter and is collecting signatures from those who agree that the sign should be returned to the park. According to reports, Themm collected over 800 signatures in his first week alone.

Others are speaking out through letters to the editor of their local newspaper.

“But we have a bit of news for these perceptive citizens [who oppose the sign]. Nothing has changed, except that the sign is gone. The heavens still declare the glory of God and the firmament still shows His handiwork,” wrote resident Ron Baker of Georgetown to MLive. “If they are offended by that, they will have to take it up with the Almighty God.”

“They have not offended us who accept the Bible as God’s Word, but they have offended the God whose Word they want removed from Hager Park. And that is a dangerous thing to do,” he continued. “So, my friends, consider the risk you are taking by confronting the Almighty God. In the final end, He wins!”

Scholtz has asked an attorney to review the matter, who is expected to provide his opinion next month. He remarked that if the county allows the Scriptural sign to be returned to the park, it may have to also allow signs from other religions as well.

“I believe in God and sharing His gospel with everyone. How can people think that bringing the Bible to them is offensive?” asked supporterAshton Dykstra of Byron Center. “We want everyone to join us in Heaven. Why can’t they understand that? Its sad the way this world treats Christians who are only trying to bring everyone with them into glory.”

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  • Neiman

    This is all the result of one most damnable lie by one anti-Christ Supreme Court Justice (Hugo Black), using a single line, from a single, private letter by Thomas Jefferson, wherein he manufactured the lie of “Separation of Church and State” out of whole cloth. It does not exist anywhere in our Constitution – it is a lie. While the State is prohibited from “establishing” a national religious denomination, as they had in Europe at the time; they are just as forcefully prohibited from passing any laws or regulations that in any shape, manner or form infringe upon the right of people of faith to “exercise” their faith in private or in the public square.

    By this single lie – the Courts have acted as a super legislative branch, superior to both other branches, in passing laws that infringe on the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment. They have gone nuts trying to expunge every reference to the Christian Faith everywhere in this nation, wherein any citizen may possibly confront that faith and possibly be offended, even though there is no constitutional guarantee that anyone not ever be offended.

    This sign in no way establishes a religion.

    • BarkingDawg

      Yes it does, it serves no secular purpose whatsoever.

      • Neiman

        That is just your atheism and Christ hatred showing, it is not fact.

        • BarkingDawg

          Please tell me what secular purpose the sign serves.

          • Neiman

            Tell me what secular purpose it served to talk of Nature’s God and the Creator in the Declaration of Independence?

          • BarkingDawg

            Don’t change the subject.

            What secular purpose does the sign serve?

            Since you refuse to answer the question, I will answer it for you.


            There is no secular purpose to the sign.

            Who owns the sign?

            The county. If they decide to remove it, it’s gone. Bye bye.

          • Neiman

            I did not change the subject, I cannot help it if you are too stupid to understand the connection.

            You sure got some Christ hate in your heart – I would hate to be you on Judgment day.

            It does not have to serve a secular purpose.

          • Mike Wallace

            The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document.

          • Fundisi

            It is unfortunate that such issues are beyond the understanding of so many people that vote. No, it does not have legal standing, it is not law; yet, it is our national charter, it sets forth the spirit and intent of what we later enshrined into law in the Constitution. It tells us what we meant to achieve and we ignore that fact, we do so to our own peril.

          • Mike Wallace

            Poor dear. You hold up as legal precedent a document which possesses no legally binding material. You obfuscate and cower behind a fake name. To be fair, I would probably be embarrassed too, if I was a socialist like you.

          • Fundisi

            A socialist? Of all things said against me, that is the most ludicrous and you cannot support it with any facts.

            You are a child you make insane charges absent any proof, you don’t even attempt to defend them. When and if you ever grow up, if and when you ever get over your childish anger, get back to me with an intelligent, well thought out reply. Otherwrise, I have no time for your childish games.

          • Mike Wallace

            I am guessing that your hypocrisy is completely lost on you. You can’t actually argue the issue at hand, so you dismiss it outright with an ad hominem. This is typical behavior of the cognitively dissonant. It is actually pretty easy to demonstrate your socialistic tendencies; starting with your belief that the government can and should dictate with whom its citizens enter legal and financial contracts. You insist on licensure, which bestows special economic and legal privileges on your desired class of citizen, while systemically denying those rights and privileges to others. You are a big government crony, regardless of your dissonance on the subject matter. No run along, coward.

  • James Grimes

    Atheism is as good as a wart. The sooner it is gone, the better.

    • Carol Huyser

      Even Satan believes in God………..

  • thoughtsfromflorida

    ““If we don’t take a stand now, when will we?” he asked.”

    And here I was all concerned that Christians would be so focused on disease, hunger, and poverty that they might not spend time fighting for the inclusion of scripture verses in public parks. Thank goodness someone is taking up that important work.

    ““But we have a bit of news for these perceptive citizens [who oppose the sign]. Nothing has changed, except that the sign is gone.”

    Oh, well, never mind.

  • BarkingDawg

    It’s a rather pointless fight.

    The sign will not be replaced.

  • Starla Anne Lowry

    The sign was a classic description written in the charming 1611 style. To remove it indicate that there is no care for antiquity.

    • BarkingDawg

      The sign was only 30 years old, made out of wood. there was no antiquity involved. It has exceeded its lifespan.

      It also violates the establishment clause of the first amendment.

      The county will not restore it.

  • Carol Huyser

    I’d like to know if this is all these people have to do. Go around looking for stuff to pick at. As far as the sign, as with everything else—this country was founded on Christian principles, God is in our hearts, minds and souls. He’s on our coins, in the courtrooms, and so shall He remain. So, as far as religion goes, America grants you your freedom. But for those of us who hold these truths—-In God We Trust–still stands as the bottom line and if you have such a problem with it, please know you have the freedom to live elsewhere. And I know a lot of people, who are not afraid to stand up,– that will help you pack………

  • Mike Wallace

    The man who had the sign removed is doing something right, if he has all of the terrorists in his community up in arms.