South Carolina memorial put into storage after it rocks a community

South Carolina memorial put into storage after it rocks a community July 25, 2019


Image via YouTube

IT’S anyone’s guess what the fate will be of a police memorial recently erected, then doctored, then removed, from Tega Cay, South Carolina.

When local authorities were warned by a church-goer, and not an atheist, that religious references on the memorial – gifted to the Police Department by Tega Cay Women’s Club – appeared to breach church/state separation rules, an amateurish attempt was made to white out the word “Lord”.

Christians, naturally, were furious, and amidst an escalating row, it was decided that the memorial should be removed and put into storage.

Image via Tega Cay administration

Tega Cay City Manager Charlie Funderburk told CBN News:

The word ‘Lord’ was completely removed from the marker, along with the Bible verse on the back. Removal of the religious references were more about trying to find a compromise between the two sides. We tried to find a common ground to stand on, but the intention was never to offend anyone.

There was polarization on both sides of the discussion. It was in everyone’s best interest to remove the marker and place it in storage.

The city is reviewing the feedback they’ve received and will decide what is in everyone’s best interest.

The fate of the monument remains to be seen. We are a community accepting of all people.

This got right up the nose of someone called Curt Hara, who wrote on the CBN News site:

‘We are a community accepting of all people …’ NO YOU ARE NOT!!! You are accepting of all people so long as those people are not CHRISTIANS.

City officials said the problem started with an email to the mayor from Tega Cay resident Dann Dunn, who spoke out against the monument’s wording at the July 15 Tega Cay City Council meeting. Dunn told Council he wasn’t offended by religious references and attends church. He said:

What I do have a problem with is religious references on government property, especially law enforcement. Public grounds and public services should remain secular and neutral for all members of the community – all members –so they should feel welcome here.

He alleged that, as it stood, the monument’s religious references made the city seem exclusionary and biased.

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  • rubaxter

    As noted in another forum, here, this is a middle-class, cheapskate, white flight Charlotte community, built in South Carolina, barely over the border, for much cheaper living. It’s 95% white, with one road in, so it’s essentially a gated community, with demographics that thumb their noses a the rest of the state. They are taking advantage of the good schools in the area, which all those “Welfare Queen Babies” will NEVER be allowed to have, seeing as they live in ‘less exclusive’ areas of this shi&#8203te poor state.

    It’s a little haven of booboisie exclusiveness in a state of poverty. I’m sure their attitudes border on the Judge Smails/Bushwood Country Club side of smug.

    This monument will prolly be hidden until such time as it can ‘reappear’ when the offending resident leaves. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when the residence association comes around looking for ‘scofflaws’, either.

  • Cozmo the Magician


  • Dana W

    I dunno, I’m an atheist, but this is way too much bullshit for a little thing. Seriously, fight the big battles and skate over the little stuff.

  • larry parker

    How many “little” violations of church/state separation does it take to make a “big” violation?

  • Brian Westley

    City officials said the problem started with an email to the mayor from Tega Cay resident Dann Dunn, who spoke out against the monument’s wording at the July 15 Tega Cay City Council meeting.

    No, the problem started when the city accepted and put up the religious monument.

  • Anri

    “Hey, guys, whaddya thInk would happen if we just kinda… stopped trying to cram god into every message and just respected the law of the land? We’d be able to put up monuments and without these stupid legal battles!”

    (long pause)

    (all): “Naaahh!”

  • Sophotroph

    This battle is free. We’ll win, it’ll give our newer lawyers some practice, and the resultant legal fees will be paid by Christians who can no longer use that money to shove their religion down peoples’ throats.

    These little battles are still a net win, and we have the resources to fight them and the big battles.

    It would be silly to pass this up.

  • overgrownhobbit

    Seriously, it wasn’t an atheist who lodged the initial complaint, it was a self-identified christian. I think this is a time to show some solidarity in protecting the separation of church and state.

  • a_b704

    Update #2 – Jesus is coming back to government property. For a Second Coming!

    By WBTV Web Staff, Bria Bell, and Caroline Hicks | July 26, 2019 at 10:40 AM EDT – Updated July 26 at 6:35 PM
    TEGA CAY, S.C. (WBTV) – City leaders in Tega Cay say a police memorial will be restored after a debate about the Biblical message on the monument.

    According to the City of Tega Cay’s website, City Council decided that the Police Officer’s Prayer will be restored to its original condition and returned to the Fallen Officers’ Memorial located at the new police station.

    “We want to thank everyone for voicing your opinion, as it’s not always easy to do so on such a sensitive subject,” the message on the website read.

  • towercam

    NO. ‘ALL’ would not go ‘Naaahh!’!
    You portray us poorly. Phooey!

  • Gregory Mead

    If “its original condition” includes a religious reference, they’ll wind up with a lawsuit.

  • Jam

    Can you provide links to support your claims about the townspeople? I searched and found nothing about them. Appears to be a “one Road Town” only because it’s geographically impossible to fit 2 roads onto the spit of land around their little lake. Why trash the townspeople unless you actually know something about them and can prove they’re evil? In fact, the town council agreed with the resident who asked that the artificial “rock” be put in storage. The mayor replied, “Well said and thank you.” They put the offending rock in storage. The silly rock was a gift from a local women’s garden group to commemorate the opening of the town’s new police station.

    Then social media targeted the town with right wing complaints about this being Gods country and all, so the state legislature got involved, seeing how the elections are coming up, and the rest is history. The town caved. They removed the Bible verse from the rock (“Blessed are the Peacekeepers”) and put it back. But on the back side of the rock is still the corny “policeman’s prayer” with the word “lord” in it. So next they put the word “lord” back into the prayer as a compromise.

    Hey, it’s a cornball prayer suggested by the National Police Memorial for fallen officers, in Washington, DC. If you want to seriously do something about the implied religion left on the rock, without bible verse, it seems the effective place to start is not by trashing the town but by taking your case to the National Police Memorial in DC. The town never asked for, or paid for, any of this BS.

  • Jam

    You forgot to mention that the town never wanted the stupid rock in the first place. You also forgot to mention that, as a compromise, after right wing Christians targeted the town on FB, the town took the artificial “rock” out of storage (where they already dumped it) and had the verse taken off (“blessed are the peacemakers”) and put it back at the police station.

    The whole thing started because the town built a new cop station and a local women’s garden club wanted to give them something for the front yard. It’s clear the town and even the cops never wanted it, and they took it down as soon as 1 good citizen asked for it to be taken down (which is rare in itself). They hid the damned rock in storage. After the dust up, the town brought the rock out of storage and removed the verse.

    Yes, to compromise further, they put the word “lord” back into the corny prayer on the back of the rock. The town had already voluntarily omitted the word, but this irritated the crap out of the garden club women. But now, the word is back. My guess is the town hopes the word won’t cost them 50K in legal fees since they already tried to remove the word.

    Could be an interesting legal case because the word “lord” doesn’t belong to a particular religion. That’s likely how SCOTUS will view it since at least 4 religions use the word to mean “hero” or cultural icon, including Judaism and the Hebrew Bible.

  • Mythblaster

    Storing a rock has got to be one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard of.

    The best use of the stone is to crush it up, add a little bitumen to it and fill potholes.

  • Jam

    LOL. It’s a fabricated rock (not real) given by the local garden club to commemorate the opening of the town’s new police station. The town never wanted it. The cops never wanted it. Their mistake was accepting it. That’s why, when the first person complained, the town agreed and put the silly thing in storage. Then outside evangelicals got on FB and demanded they put the rock back. So the town removed the verse — “blessed are the peacemakers” — and put it back in the front yard.

  • Jam

    Google the story instead. The local women’s garden club gave the town and police the rock with the Irish prayer and verse on it, to commemorate the opening of the new police station. The town never wanted it. The prayer was written and suggested by the National Police Memorial Dept in Washington DC. Because of that, the local police station pretty much had to accept it. Then a citizen wanted it removed and the town council agreed, thanked the citizen, and moved it to storage. Then evangelicals on FB demanded it be put back. So the town removed the verse “blessed are the peacemakers” and put it back.

  • Jam

    Should be an interesting case. Read my comments above to see the real history. The town removed the bible verse “Blessed are the peacekeepers” but put back the original word “lord” in the prayer on back of rock. ‘Lord’ is not religion specific and is used by many religions as well as sovereign nations today for secular purpose, including secular Irish Blessings for cops on the beat.

    Irish Blessings typically begin, “May the good lord…” and are found on tavern walls across the country. Besides all that, the town never wanted the rock memorial in the first place. It was a gift from the local garden club who consulted with the National Police Memorial Committee in Washington DC., who actually suggested the prayer. So, yeah, THAT would make an interesting court case but the town shouldn’t have to pay to defend itself since it never wanted or purchased the rock in the first place. In fact, the town REMOVED the whole thing when requested to do so by the complaining citizen.

    That citizen, BTW, is later photographed shaking hands with the mayor (in front of the rock) when it was brought back to the yard, and after the bible verse was removed. The citizen is quoted as saying it’s a “happy compromise” for all concerned. I doubt any court, after all that, would disagree. LOL. Fascinating case.

  • jhampl

    Were you so bored last night you decided to essentially copy and paste, and/or paraphrase, the same reply to posts written by different people?

    (I do appreciate your extra sleuthing to complete the story and wonder why the writer did not. Thank you.)

  • Gregory Mead

    “‘Lord’ is not religion specific” – except that (1) not ALL religions are monotheistic, (2) it is mostly Christian religions that use the term, and (3) it IS religious, and as such leaves out non-religious.

    As an atheist, visiting that city, if I saw that, or as someone with heritage in several non-Christian religions, I might very well be worried that I would receive equal treatment under the law.

    How hard is it for people to understand that the do not need to insert religion into government in any way?

  • Brien

    Keep all references to religions and their gods away from anything and everything that has to do with any government facilities!!!

  • Brien

    Nope – collect the pennies and the dollars grow.

    Delete all references to any gods everywhere….

  • Gregory Mead

    Thanks, I didn’t know that, but of course as you said that still doesn’t make it OK.