- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Some residents in western Michigan’s Ottawa County want a sign bearing the Bible’s Psalm 19:1 restored to a public park where it had been posted for decades.

County Parks and Recreation Director John Scholtz said he had staff take down the sign from Hager Park after a Georgetown Township resident complained it promoted a particular religious view using public resources, MLive.com (http://bit.ly/1zUfczX ) reported.

Current policy prohibits signs that are not used for information, Scholtz said.

“We add and remove signs, buildings and structures from the parks on a routine basis,” said Scholtz. “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.”

The sign had been in Hager Park since the late 1960s or early 1970s. It was placed there by the county road commission.

If Ottawa County allowed it to be returned, other religious expressions might have to be allowed, Scholtz added.

He asked a county lawyer to review the issue and make a recommendation. The opinion is expected to be ready by Jan. 13 when county commissioners discuss the sign issue.

County officials said they are not sure who authorized placing the sign in the park decades ago. They said they also don’t know why Psalm 19:1 was chosen.

“I don’t know what the board will decide, but I think we need to have the discussion,” said County Commissioner Dennis VanDam, of Georgetown Township.

One man, Aaron Cooley-Themm, said he has collected about 800 signatures on a petition supporting the sign’s return.

Meanwhile, Harvest Baptist Church senior pastor Ryan Kooienga has demanded the return of the sign to the park.

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

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com

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