A South Carolina town might have been hoping to avoid controversy over a memorial to fallen police officers when it decided to edit out a crucial word.
But it just ended up drawing more attention — and outrage — to itself.
According to The Charlotte Observer, officials in the Charlotte suburb of Tega Cay took the word “Lord” out of the inscription of “A Policeman’s Prayer” on the memorial after receiving a complaint from a resident who objected to the combination of religion with a public amenity.
The city also removed a scriptural reference to Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
At a July 15 City Council meeting, Tega Cay resident Daniel Dunn said he attends church and doesn’t object to religious references.
But he said he did have a problem with religion on government property.
“Public grounds and public services should remain secular and neutral for all members of the community — all members — so they should feel welcome here,” Dunn said, according to The Observer.
In response, the city physically blotted out three references to “Lord” on one side of the monument.
“There was never any intent to hold one religion in higher regard to another, or one person in higher regard than another. It was a donation from a civic group,” City Manager Charlie Funderburk said, according to WJZY-TV.
“On the front of the monument was text that read, ‘Matthew 5:9,’ which is often referred to as the ‘Law Enforcement’ or ‘Peace Keepers verse,” Funderburk told the station. “On the back of the monument is the Policeman’s Prayer. In the prayer, the word ‘Lord’ appears three times.”
Tega Cay Police Lt. Jay Parker told The Observer that the city decided to remove the religious references on both sides.
And social media lit up with criticism.
Are you with the “Lord,” or against it? The word’s been removed from a fallen #memorial outside the Tega Cay #Police Department in #SC. Complaints about “#Lord,” on it caused city leaders to take it off. But now that it’s gone, complaints about the word’s removal are starting. pic.twitter.com/P9wz7iHI6E
— Amber Roberts (@AmberFOX46) July 23, 2019
Tearing down and defacing monuments is how most all oppressive regimes started out… the mild mannered/easy going people just let it go… it is/was a fad… it will pass…
— Darin Thompson (@darint117) July 23, 2019
Outrageous! This city council is like many who submit to the loudest voice and fail to actually uphold the law. #Shameful ~ ‘Lord’ removed from the #Tega Cay police memorial stone; public outrage building. https://t.co/y4m8nJJ10g
— Facts Matter (@ChuckJordan7) July 23, 2019
As one woman told WJZY:
“I mean, it was a beautiful monument with a beautiful little prayer on it. I would have left it as is,” she said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.