ICC Note: Following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Tennessee police department has decided to move a plaque displaying Romans 8:31. The group asserted that the plaque was unconstitutional as a government endorsement of religion and threatened to take legal action if the police department did not comply. In a press conference, the mayor noted that it was best for the city to comply rather than use tax money to protect the plaque.
By Heather Clark
07/27/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A police department in Tennessee has decided to relocate a Scripture plaque that has long been displayed on its walls following receipt of a complaint from a prominent atheist activist organization.
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch explained during a news conference on Wednesday that the plaque, which quotes from Romans 8:31, will be moved from near the employee deli to a soon-coming Hall of Inspiration inside the Safety Building.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, then who can be against us?” it reads.
Rausch had received an email from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which asserted that the plaque was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The group threatened a lawsuit if the display was not removed.
“Please note that the Knoxville Police Department is a government entity and as such should be devoid of religious promotion of any kind,” the correspondence read. “Having a Bible verse promotes one particular religion and in so doing is discriminatory toward those of other religions or no religion.”
“Please see that the verse is removed so that all who enter your police station may feel equally treated,” it said. “Failure to have the verse removed may expose the KPD and/or the City of Knoxville to expensive litigation that cannot be won.”
Mayor Madeline Rogero, who identifies as a Christian, advised during Wednesday’s press conference that officials did indeed consult with Knoxville law director Charles Swanson and concluded that it was in the best interest of the city not to spend taxpayer money defending the plaque.