“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us then who can be against us?”
~ Romans 8:31
After nearly a half-century – and one complaint – a plaque displaying a single verse of scripture (quoted above) at the Knoxville Police Department employee entrance will be removed, Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch announced at a press conference Monday.
As a consolation, Rogero said in a statement the piece will be moved to a new “Hall of Inspiration” at KPD’s headquarters in the Safety Building, “along with other inspirational writings from a variety of faiths and philosophers.”
In her prepared remarks, Mayor Rogero said, “We are not aware of any complaints or issues raised in recent history by KPD staff or members of the public. It has become part of KPD tradition, providing strength and comfort to our officers as they perform their daily – and often dangerous – duties.”
“I know that people both inside and outside City government are upset with this ending of a tradition,” she added. “As a person of faith, I understand and respect the passion that people feel for this issue. ”
The move is in a response to a letter by the leftist anti-Christian group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, who demanded the plaque be taken down due to alleged First Amendment violations.
The Knoxville News Sentinel obtained a copy of the letter – sent February 23 via email.
The letter is another in a shocking series of attacks by the group, colloquially known as FFRF, who proudly tout their victories squelching the free speech of others in their website’s News section. Since January 1 of this year, the group has posted a staggering 235 statements outlining the actions they’ve taken against people and organizations across the country.
Interestingly, the capitulation by the Knoxville Mayor – who has received a fair amount of notoriety recently for heading up one of the country’s worst-run cities – has not warranted a statement from the FFRF as of press time.
The News Sentinel reports a petition is underway to return the plaque to it’s original location:
Don Wiser, a retired KPD investigator who served for 23 years, fondly recalled the plaque being mounted after the agency moved into the Howard Baker Jr. Boulevard building in 1969.
“I believe in Jesus, and I believe that when they turn their back on Jesus that we’re going to be in bad shape,” Wiser said. “I think that, as wicked as our people are getting, I think that’s the wrong thing to do, to take that off there.”
“Jesus has made a place for us,” he continued. “But Satan’s got a place for you too, and it gets awful hot in his place. I like air conditioning awful well.”
An online petition to keep the plaque that was started early Wednesday had 222 signatures as of 11 a.m.