Decoration or racism?

Ken David said it's no secret he is a Mitt Romney supporter. But that doesn't mean the lawn chairs hanging in his frontyard are an attack on President Barack Obama, or anyone else for that matter.
Becky Vargo
Sep 27, 2012

Area residents are calling the display racist and an attack on the Democratic president. They say the hanging chair is symbolic of lynching Obama.

David said it’s “absolutely not” an attack — it’s a decoration.

“People decorate their trees all the time,” he said. “We’re no different than anyone else.”

David and his wife, Judy, live at 15896 Comstock St., across the street from Peach Plains Elementary School. He strung metal lawn chairs from trees on their property on Monday. One of them is next to the driveway. The other one hangs next to the road, not far from a sign that says, “Take Back Our Country in November.”

David said he saw a police car with an officer shining a spotlight at the chairs on Monday night.

On Wednesday morning, Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies stopped and talked to David about the chairs. A complaint had apparently been made by someone at the school, David said.

The homeowner said he has done nothing wrong.

“This is my property. I have the right to freedom of expression,” David said.

Some members of the Tri-Cities area think David has taken that expression too far.

“There are all sorts of incidences of this (chair hanging) happening across the country,” said Grand Haven Township resident Ed Ketterer, who has a child attending Peach Plains. “... I don’t buy it that the chair doesn’t have the racial connotation."

Just sitting on the ground, the chair would not be a problem, Ketterer said.

“It’s kind of funny — it’s mocking what (Clint) Eastwood did at the convention," Ketterer said, referring to a speech the actor made at the Republican National Convention in August, next to an empty chair representing President Obama. “When you hang it from a tree, you take it to a new level."

Ketterer said there is no way David would not know what the empty chair represents.

“To me, it’s not about rights, it’s about decency,” Ketterer said. “I wouldn’t condone it anywhere.”

In an e-mail to the Tribune, another area resident said she was also disturbed by the hanging chair.

“I’m all for freedom of speech," Donna Timmer wrote, "but when my granddaughter asked what it meant, it was hard to explain.”

Ketterer said he had the same problem with his third-grade son.

“We talked around the issue,” he said. “We said it was a political sign and that it was against President Obama.”

 

Comments

Mr. Conservative

snl is the most retarded thing since president carter

opinionscount

You have the right to your opinion, and hats off for expressing it. In regards to religion and government. It's my opinion that when we took Christianity away as the compass for our nation and our schools (our children are our future), things began to go astray rapidly. Now, we have no compass, only confusion. Do we love or hate? Is right, wrong...and wrong, right? It's crazy. Our nation is a complete mess. Children killing children in our schools. Babies being aborted right and left because it's the convenient thing to do. Men marrying men and women marrying women, and on top of that, the "government" wants to force "churches" to pay for contraception for their employees and also force them to marry homosexuals when its' against their right of conscience. So, where's the separation of Church and State in this issue? Could you explain why it's okay for the government to intervene and force their views on the Church, yet the Church is suppose to stay out of government? Another double standard. Also, countless US citizens deliberately do not work because it's easier to draw a check, which in turn, was provided by the shrinking percentage of those who want the American Dream and want to work for their keep. What happens when that well runs dry? Any back-up plans on that one? By the way. Just wondering why both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention opened in prayer to Jesus Christ? (You can check out each of these on Youtube.) Would this have been a political stunt or could it possibly be that there are those in government who clearly recognize that we need divine guidance in our great nation? Just a thought to ponder. Last, I must clearly verify that my Father God and Savior, Christ Jesus does not tell me in the Bible to hate and kill others. He tells me to love my neighbor as myself and to pray for my enemies. Yes, the god of the 911 pilots is a god of hate...a false god. There is only one true, loving, sacrificial Lord...Jesus Christ. I invite you to come to St. Patricks sometime and give Jesus a chance to love you. Don't expect a bunch of do-gooders, either. We're just normal folks who know we need our Savior. Thanks again for responding. Opinions count! It's our freedom!

snlfan

I take great offence to your comments... You seem to believe that without "faith" (which in all reality means you have to believe in something you have no evidence to support) that you can not be a good person. You also want me to have to subject my children through the public school system to be forced fed your ideals on relgion, specifically jebezus... I feel sorry for you that you must have make beleive man in the sky to keep you from being a bad person. The 911 pilots version of the make believe man in the sky is just as valid yours, you know that right? And Christians throughout history have been most violent religion on the planet, time it is done away with. Killing in the name of make believe makes no sence.... killing at all makes none, but, I can see the logic in economic strife bringing up a violent reaction, but in the name of your version of brainwashing... really?

Mr. Conservative

You are confusing Islam with christianity

opinionscount

This is a saddening post. There is so much hate in your writing. You will be in my prayers.

snlfan

I'de rather you go do something fun with your kids on a Sunday morning, possiably a hike in Hoffmaster or simular, than to waste your time on this planet subjecting them to the false promise of forever life. Live in the now... do good just because it is good... that is all it takes.

Vladtheimp

Who cares that you are offended? Under our Constitution we have a right to express our opinions, even if they offend those who belong to the Church of the Perpetually Offended, like athiests, who seem to be especially offended that they were born in, and benefit from being citizens of, this great nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. SNLFAN is a prime example of Tyranny of the Minority - where athiests who, like homsexuals are less than 5% of the population (WIN-Gallup International) , but feel they have a "right" to dictate to the 95% our beliefs, our schools, our practice of religion, our symbols, etc. As far as public schools, children are now forcibly educated in the gospel of the Church of Liberalism, genuflecting at the altars of diversity, affirmative action, radical environmentalism, redistributive "fairness" and other feel-good movements of the day.
Feel free to be offended by these comments, and return to reruns of Saturday Night Live - which conforms to the Church of Liberalism completely. Progressives are outraged by their mistaken belief that 1% of the population controls their lives but, ironically, folks like SNLFAN see no problem with less than 5% doing the exact same thing; irony is not their strong suit!

snlfan

Vladtheimp, You seem to be offended that I'm offended by right wingers like you, and then attack me for being "Perpetually Offended" Huh? You can express your opinion and I can stand against it, so there. BTW non-believers in your man in the sky is near 15% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irr...)
of the US population and is the quietest minority group out there, and the most discriminated against IMHO. Just image the public outcry if an open athiest were to run for office in Ottawa County, holy cow would these pages be lit up. Your bigitory hidden in the "Judeo-Christrian principles" are no longer excepted by a majority in the US, that is why the conservative idealogs are loosing ground, see polls more people are for gay marriage rights than against
(http://www.pewforum.org/Politics...) It comes down to this simple suggestion I have... PLEASE DO NOT PREACH IN MY SCHOOLS, AND I PROMISE I WILL NOT COME THINK IN YOUR CHURCH.... Freedom of religion includes FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, if I so choose.

Vladtheimp

I'm not offended – I'm amused at the double standards folks like you embrace as long as they fit your needs. If I were offended, I would recognize that being offended is part of being an American, and not whine petulantly about being offended. Although I believe a scientific poll instead of Wikipedia, whether it's 2% or 15%, as an atheist you apparently believe that in this representative democracy, your being offended gives you the right to dictate your beliefs to the other 98% or 75% of the citizenry. You have the chutzpah to say that the schools are YOURS, rather than belonging to the vast majority. You make up a fact that Judeo-Christian principles are no longer “excepted” (I assume you mean 'accepted') by a majority. As far as polls, I would direct you to the real thing – the results of the midterm elections of 2010 where “right wingers like me” caused liberal democrats (but I repeat myself) to lose six seats in the U.S. Senate, 64 seats in the House, six governorships, and 700 seats in state legislatures. To paraphrase your childish repetition of athiest talking points, please do not force anti-Christianism/Liberal Theology in OUR SCHOOLS, and I won't try to get Planned Parenthood abolished, although I will continue to try to keep them from being supported by tax dollars. Of course, although you apparently think it is cute and avant garde to use words like “man-in-the-sky” and “jebezus” that you know are deliberately offensive, I think it just shows what a limited, defective, little man or woman that you are. (Yes, there is a big difference between being offensive and being offended,) God Bless!

snlfan

Where in the constitution does is say the the majority religion shall be the one force on the government on the rest of the population? Oh right the constitution establishes a secular governments...

snlfan

The schools are OURS... not yours not mine, since the constitution establishes freedom of religion you can just keep it out of there.... If you are interested in learning about god, do it in your church, keep it away from our schools, that is freedom you Hypocrite.

Vladtheimp

It was YOU who claimed ownership of the schools ("PLEASE DO NOT PREACH IN MY SCHOOLS") and you can't walk away from it - it's in your post, Let's parse the logic that asserts: having established freedom of religion the Constitution says that it must be kept out of public education, out of politics, cannot be symbolized on public property, cannot be subsidized in any manner, ad nauseum. Where do you find that in the Constitution? I wear the badge of hypocrite proudly, when it is awarded by someone whose logic is so impaired. God Bless!

snlfan

I guess you have me there, because thinking is to be done in schools as that is what they are for, so when I said MY SCHOOLS, I was insulting you as a non-thinking zealot. Schools are to be a safe place for thinking people and those of faith, this is preserved by not having god taught there Details.. big deal. Hey you want to teach church in school, go to a private one that is not funded with tax dollars. To educate you just for fun, because I'm having a slow day at the office: First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", and with together with the Free Exercise Clause "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." These have been tried and tested many times over the years in the Supreme Court to define the interpretation. Free exercise has been challenged and curtailed stop human sacrifice, bigamy, and other religious beliefs. The Establishment clause has been interpreted to prohibit the establishment of a national religion and any preference of one religion over another. I still argue that giving tax free property and other benefits to any religion is borderline, but, I usually don’t make too much of a fuss about it, as I do recognized that many provide positive services to the community. I do think we should go after the abuser for profit mega churches, really push the boundaries of fairness (as they seem profite motivated not good dead motivated)… Oh Another place religion is mentioned in the Constitution is that practice of faith shall not be a test for one to be elected to or hold public office (I'm paraphrasing but, that's the jest of it)... What do you think of the Mormon faith? Pretty strange stuff ie, we all came from another planet and that is where god is?? And magic underwear, and NO BEER…

Vladtheimp

I suspect slow days are not an unknown phenomenon for you, but thank you for your lecture on the Constitution. Perhaps you can further elucidate me and other readers by pointing out what specific legislation has ever been proposed in the Congress that attempts to establish a religion for the United States. Clue – there are none. People like you have successfully changed the clear meaning of the First Amendment to include any mention of religion in the public arena when public funds are involved. I obviously disagree with the Supreme Court decisions that extend the clear meaning of the First Amendment, but I understand that under our representative democracy, the Supreme Court has the final say on legal matters until a subsequent Court provides a differing opinion. Do you really believe that a cross erected by a community in honor of fallen veterans constitutes Congress making a law respecting an establishment of religion, such that athiests can demand it be torn down? What about our lovely Nativity celebration on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven? Do you really believe that students initiating a prayer before football games, or expressing respect for God in a Valedictory Address the equivalent of the House and the Senate passing a law establishing a religion that is signed by the President? Get Real! What do I think about Mormonism? I don't think about it anymore than I think about Calvinism, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc. - if people want to believe in a deity in a certain manner, that's up to them. If people want to reject the idea of a deity, that's up to them as well. What I really object to are people who reject the idea of a deity, small in numbers as they are, attempting to force their belief (or lack thereof) on the vast majority of the population through threats, boycotts, ridicule (magic underwear) and lawsuits. If a person is so irrational that they believe there is no force behind the magic of the universe, the mysterious abilities of the human body, the wonder of nature, and rely on the explanation that “Spit Happens” – I simply feel pity for them, and for their pitiful desire to have everyone think the same as they do by eliminating the competition from the public square. By the way, if you want to focus on some real issues, you should devote your time to overturning real legislation that establishes religion – 5 U.S.C. 6103(a) establishes Christmas Day as a National Holiday. Merry Christmas and God Bless!

I suspect slow days are not an unknown phenomenon for you, but thank you for your lecture on the Constitution. Perhaps you can further elucidate me and other readers by pointing out what specific legislation has ever been proposed in the Congress that attempts to establish a religion for the United States. Clue – there are none. People like you have successfully changed the clear meaning of the First Amendment to include any mention of religion in the public arena when public funds are involved. I obviously disagree with the Supreme Court decisions that extend the clear meaning of the First Amendment, but I understand that under our representative democracy, the Supreme Court has the final say on legal matters until a subsequent Court provides a differing opinion. Do you really believe that a cross erected by a community in honor of fallen veterans constitutes Congress making a law respecting an establishment of religion, such that athiests can demand it be torn down? What about our lovely Nativity celebration on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven? What do I think about Mormonism? I don't think about it anymore than I think about Calvinism, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc. - if people want to believe in a deity in a certain manner, that's up to them. If people want to reject the idea of a deity, that's up to them as well. What I really object to are people who reject the idea of a deity, small in numbers as they are, attempting to force their belief (or lack thereof) on the vast majority of the population through threats, boycotts, ridicule (magic underwear) and lawsuits. If a person is so irrational that they believe there is no force behind the magic of the universe, the mysterious abilities of the human body, the wonder of nature, and rely on the explanation that “Spit Happens” – I simply feel pity for them, and for their pitiful desire to have everyone think the same as they do by eliminating the competition from the public square. By the way, if you want to focus on some real issues, you should devote your time to overturning real legislation that establishes religion – 5 U.S.C. 6103(a) establishes Christmas Day as a National Holiday. Merry Christmas and God Bless!

Vladtheimp

Sorry everyone - my finger was quicker hitting the save key than it was in deleting the portion of the comment with my edits. This was too long as it was, without a repeat.

opinionscount

Vladtheimp. No need to apologize. This guy needs a good kick in the behind! Thanks for being the one to do it!

snlfan

Need to put some fact to you response here, you seem to be in the Fox Bubble on a couple of things: There is not the intention to force chruches to pay for contraception for all of their employees, they just can't choose a health insurance policy that does not provide that coverage. There is and exception for those who fall under a the direct preaching side of the organization (preists, nuns, alter boys (they need rape kits)). The intent being in large institutions (think Notre Damn, Hospitals, etc.. ) that employ 1000's people of all faiths/no faith from having the faith base decision of contreception made for them by their employer (genrally speaking the catholic church) This is freedom of them (the employeed majority) to choose thier religion convictions with repsect to contreception. So this concept is a great ideal of freedom of religion, no one is being forced to take contreception, but, those who would like to can, how much more free can you get. Not to mention that there a lot of non-birth control medical reasons to use the pill, that protect womens health in other areas.

biped

Oh what life must be like inside the Fox (fake) News Network bubble.

John M

Could someone from the lakeshore diversity empowerment assembly council association committee please show me the text in the US Constitution that protects your right to go through life un-offended.

Wingmaster

Ya, no kidding.

dyankee

Good question John M and right on Opinionscount! Well said. Offended people by Ken's chair should go listen to the stories(if they'll tell them) of any Military member of our armed forces with close combat experience in any war, about being offended and if we should let Ken's chair hurt our feelings. The people most offended by Ken's chair are precisely the most inexperienced/sheltered indivduals of life you'll ever meet. They are the epitome of why our Nation is so weakened. However, help is on the way. Jimmy Carter gave us Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama will give us Mitt Romney. Although Romney appears to be an average joe, ironically, that is exactly what most Americans thought of Reagan 30 days before the election in 1980. A devine intervention is on the way and the world is making one hell of a mistake to believe that America is now a basket of whimps. Most of these 270+ post are providing the rage thats coming to a voting booth near you and the counter-punch to all of our enemies abroad that will make them think twice before burning our flag and attacking our country. America is in a deep hole, but we have a big shovel and when hitting on all cylinders, this giant for world good will rise again, no doubt. Thanks Ken for getting our community jacked about the importance of this election......lets roll!

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