TEGA CAY, S.C. (WBTV) - City leaders in Tega Cay are catching heat for accepting a gift displaying a Christian message. The police department has a new fallen officer memorial and the word “Lord” is found on the stone three times.
City officials decided to cover up parts of the message after some neighbors raised concerns about religious messages on government property.
“I really didn’t think anything about it and was a little surprised, but we understand the concerns,” said Charlie Funderburk, Tega Cay’s City Manager.
Funderburk says city leaders are taking the blame for trying to cover up parts of the faith-based message.
“We messed up. It didn’t have the effect that we hoped it would have,” he continued.
He says they only did it because they wanted to get rid of the divisiveness and to appease everyone no matter their beliefs. However, those who follow the Christian faith, felt like it was a slap to the face.
“I think it’s a topic that both sides of the issue are very, very passionate about. No doubt about it,” said Funderburk.
Funderburk says no one who works for the city could have imagined this kind of backlash because, the message that’s on the stone is no different than the words found on other monuments honoring law enforcement officers across the nation.
“York County Sheriff’s department has it at their training facility. It’s at the law enforcement memorial in Washington D.C. We felt like we were just kind of following the course of what everything else was," said Funderburk.
There’s a possibility the stone will be removed because of all the controversy, but Funderburk wants anyone in Tega Cay to know that this place is of equal opportunity and no one should feel less than.
“We care about everybody. Not just one over another, everyone is treated equally here.”
A group plans to host a prayer here on Saturday in response to all the backlash that’s come from the new memorial.