Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, May 10, 1999

Battle heats up
over religious signs
at state Capitol

Mitch Kahle, president of Citizens for the Separation of Church and State, allegedly removed religious emblems from several legislators' office doors, and was "apprehended" and "held" by Jason Jones, a volunteer staffer for Rep. Mark Moses, until sheriff's deputies arrived, according to Moses and House Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Ebata.

The incident occurred Friday.

Ebata said about 13 lawmakers had religious symbols removed, and eight were recovered in Kahle's possession.

Moses (R, Kapolei) said Kahle "appears to have a vendetta against those who have any religious beliefs."

Meanwhile, Kahle has secured permission from the state comptroller's office to have a poster -- it declares, "The Bible Glorifies Violence and Murder"-- displayed all of this month outside of the state Capitol's auditorium.

But someone moved the poster and its stand so that it faces a wall and can't be easily read. It's been in that position since at least Friday.

DELEGATION RANKS: Hawaii's congressional delegation scored a rare coup last week when all four members attended the White House dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

The posh event featured entertainment by pianist Van Cliburn and a menu of marinated salmon, rack of lamb and a "bonsai garden of serenity" (almond and orange cake with kiwi sauce).

The guest list of 340 included the usual smattering of celebrities -- actor Sidney Poitier, for example. But it was heavy on Japanese Americans, which helps explain the presence not only of Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Patsy Mink, who are among a small handful of Japanese-American elected officials here, but of Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, whose constituencies are heavily Japanese American.

Akaka and Mink were accompanied by their spouses. Abercrombie took his chief of staff, while Inouye went to the affair solo.

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