ICC Note: At the end of June, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) contacted the mayor of Henderson County, Tennessee, regarding the inscription of a Bible verse on a county courthouse wall. The FFRF asserted that the verse violated the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause and served as a government endorsement of religion. However, the mayor responded by saying that he has no plans to remove the inscription and that he hopes to add an additional verse soon.
By Garrett Haley
07/31/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – After receiving a complaint letter from a prominent atheist group, the mayor of a Tennessee county says he has no plans to remove a Bible verse inscription from his county’s courthouse and hopes instead to add an additional verse to the building’s walls.
On June 30, attorney Rebecca Markert with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) mailed a letter to Dan Hughes, mayor of Henderson County in Tennessee. She said that a “concerned local resident” told FFRF about a biblical inscription on the cornerstone of the county courthouse.
“We understand that a Bible verse is etched on the wall of the Henderson County Courthouse in Lexington, Tennessee,” Markert wrote. “The verse reads, ‘Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: Mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Psalms 89:14.’”
Arguing that the scriptural inscription violates the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, Markert said the verse on the courthouse is “inappropriate” because “it conveys government support for religion.”
“The context of the religious message is particularly problematic,” she added. “The verse alludes to the throne of a Judeo-Christian god, and it is embedded into the walls of the courthouse, the seat of government. This perpetuates the myth that our law is based on biblical principles, and it sends the message to private citizens with business at the courthouse that the justice they seek will be decided based on religion.”
Markert concluded the letter by urging Hughes to remove the verse from the courthouse wall “as soon as possible.”