Rob Perez

Raising Cane

By Rob Perez

Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Satanic, gay signs
to test laws

Andrew Crothier wants to tell the world he worships Satan. He wants to do that by erecting a 20-foot-high symbol of Satanism in his front yard in Manoa.

Michael Golojuch Jr. wants to tell the world he's gay.

He wants to do that by erecting a 20-foot-high symbol of male homosexuality at the Makakilo townhouse where he lives.

Both men separately have applied to the city for building permits to put up the respective symbols. Crothier's would be a pentagram within a circle, painted black and made of wood and pipe. Golojuch's would be two intersecting circles with an arrow in each pointing diagonally upward. The symbol would be painted purple and also made of wood and pipe.

Both men say they should be permitted to erect the symbols because the city has allowed a 20-foot-high outdoor cross to remain standing at St. Jude Catholic Church in Makakilo. The free-standing cross, lighted at night, is easily visible to motorists as they exit the H-1 freeway.

Critics say the cross violates zoning and sign regulations because of its size.

But a city official recently told the Star-Bulletin that crosses are not considered commercial signs and are exempt from the building code. Randall Fujiki, director of the city Planning and Permitting Department, last month indicated the city would not order that the cross be taken down.

That position puts the city on shaky legal ground, especially as it relates to other religious symbols, civil rights lawyers say.

"Once they make an exemption for one religion, they have to make an exemption for all," said attorney Carl Varady.

If the city exempts crosses from zoning regulations, it has to exempt nonreligious symbols too, including those intended for residential property, according to Brent White, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Hawaii.

Some say that could open the door for people to put up huge symbols representing such things as Nazism or the Ku Klux Klan.

"I think it's very clear cut," White said. "You can't make exemptions from certain laws only for certain symbols."

Asked about the status of the two pending applications, city spokeswoman Carol Costa said they have been referred to city attorneys. She declined further comment.

Crothier and Golojuch are both members of the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, an organization that has regularly butted heads with government officials and institutions over religious issues. Both men filed their permit applications after Golojuch complained to the city about the Makakilo cross and was told it was exempt from zoning laws.

Crothier says he has been a member of the Satanist Church since the early 1970s and this year helped start an Oahu chapter. He said the group intends to get a business license and apply for tax-exempt status.

Crothier refused to say where in Manoa he lives, fearing people might come to his home to harass him even before he gets approval for the pentagram. If he gets that approval, he's hoping people are more accepting of the pentagram, knowing he followed all the proper city requirements.

Golojuch would like to erect the gay-pride symbol on property that actually is owned by the townhouse association. Even though he doesn't believe such a symbol would pass association approval, that can't have a bearing on the city's consideration of his application, Golojuch said.

If the city rejects the two applications, the issue may end up in court, according to Mitchell Kahle, president of the Hawaii Citizens group.

White said the ACLU's litigation committee will consider today whether to take on the case.

The Rev. Roland Pacudan, parish priest at St. Jude, is puzzled about all the fuss over the cross -- something that has long been a symbol of the Catholic Church.

"It's not meant to insult anyone," he said.

Star-Bulletin columnist Rob Perez writes on issues
and events affecting Hawaii. Fax 529-4750, or write to
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. He can also be reached
by e-mail at:

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