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SC City Removes Police Monument That Displayed Prayer


City officials in Tega Cay have removed a monument to police officers after religious wording caused a flap over the separation of church and state.

The city announced late Tuesday that staff had removed the monument from the municipal police department. The stone monument, which was donated by the Tega Cay Women's Club, displayed what's commonly known as the "Police Officers Prayer" as well as a Bible verse.

A resident spoke up at a City Council meeting earlier this month, though, arguing that religious language had no place on government property, according to the Rock Hill Herald.

Public grounds should remain "secular and neutral for all members of the community," the petitioner said.

"We started getting a lot of negative backlash, and they started reaching out to council members,” City Manager Charles Funderburk told WSOC-TV. “It wasn't just one person."

The city covered up the word "Lord" and removed the Bible verse. But that drew even more eyes to the small York County city.

It caught the attention of Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, who represents York County in Congress, and even gained national exposure, being featured on "Fox & Friends."

"To have this scratched out is sad to say the least," Norman said, posing next to the monument, in a video posted to his Facebook page.

The city says it will continue to "seek a solution" that shows support for its law enforcement officers – but in the meantime, the monument is gone from the police station.

"We attempted to find a compromise but failed as our community has further divided," the city said Tuesday night. "In an attempt to find a resolution, we have upset parties on both sides of this issue and for that we are truly sorry."