Apparently the word “Lord” is the latest thing to trigger people into a magnificently offended meltdown, after it was scene on a memorial for fallen officers.
Prayer. A petition or solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.
But it isn’t prayer in general that is the source of debate in a South Carolina town – it is very specific. And according to city leadership, it should be a generic conversation with anyone other than God or an object of worship.
A memorial to fallen officers has a request etched in stone. It is a request asking for courage, strength and dedication. Unfortunately, it is a request addressed to no one. The memorial sits outside the new police station in Tega Cay. The stone was recently edited, leaving out the word “Lord”.
So, a memorial that was purchased and provided by a women’s group has apparently ruffled feathers.
“These people, you know, they put their lives on the line every day for the safety of the community and that’s what we hope people get out of it,” said Tega Cay City Manager Charlie Funderburk.
The community reacted as well.
“Yeah I thought someone who was upset about it just crossed it off,” said resident, Lauren Albano.
People were upset, but they weren’t ones who covered up the word “Lord”, which appears three different times. Instead, it was Tega Cay city leaders.
“A little surprised, but as the complaints came in the end result was pretty clear,” said Funderburk.
Funderburk says complaints were received almost immediately after the memorial went up. City leaders met with the the city attorney, and subsequently, they decided to get rid of the invocation of God’s name.
“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,” said Funderburk.
The city originally painted over the black letters with paint that matched the color of the stone.
“I mean it was a beautiful monument with a beautiful little prayer on it. I would have left it as is,” said one resident.
“There is just as many people upset now that it got removed over people upset it was there in the first place. There is no win here at all,” said Funderburk.
Funderburk also said that the statement on the back is the same seen on fallen officer memorials throughout the country, including in Washington D.C. He said that it held no historical significance, so the city decided to make the change.
Apparently painting over the three locations to match in color, was not good enough. The city doubled down by then filling in the lettering with a plaster that, when dried, matches the coloring of the stone.
What does it all boil down to? Why did they city decided that a prayer offered up in support of fallen heroes?
“Any family members, friends and colleagues are not going to like what I have to say this evening,” said resident, Dann Dunn, during a July 15 Tega Cay city council meeting.
Dunn told city council members he supports the memorial, he supports police officers, and he even believes in the God, but he doesn’t believe God and government should go hand in hand.
“The Tega Cay Police Station is not the place for a religious memento,” said Dunn.
Dunn says his greatest concern was the use of the word Lord could open up the city to a lawsuit, which in turn could waste tax dollars.
Groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation scour the country to find instances like this, sending out a letter demanding the removal of the said signage or memorials, and threatening a lawsuit if city officials refuse to do so.
Our nation’s currency contains the phrase “In God We Trust.” The FFR never successfully threatened or sued the US government. They are, however, willing to attack smaller towns and cities, knowing that the city will typically opt to remove the ‘offending’ object rather than face the potential of a lengthy and expensive legal battle.
Dirty political posturing is dictating what can and cannot be said on a memorial that was not purchased or commissioned by the city. It was 100% financed by this women’s group. It was intended to be a reminder to praying people to lift up those who have fallen in the line of duty as well as those who run the risk of doing so.
Let me tell you something. You don’t have to believe in God. You don’t have to pray. I support your rights to do so. But what you do need to do is respect other’s right to do both of these things. This is not about separation of church and state. This is absolutely an effort to squelch the very reference of God from the public space.
If we spent less time removing His name and more time talking to Him, this nation might just be even stronger and that much more amazing of a place.