Stone with prayer, minus Bible verse, to return. Tega Cay backtracks on monument.

A stone bearing a prayer that was removed from the Tega Cay Police Department is going back.

The Tega Cay Women’s Club earlier this month gifted city police a monument at the new police station on Tega Cay Drive. The stone included a policeman’s prayer and Bible verse reference modeled after national monument.

A Tega Cay resident protested at the July 15 city council meeting, saying religious wording and references shouldn’t be included on a public monument in front of the police station, The Herald previously reported. Tega Cay officials painted over the word “Lord” in multiple places and also removed the Bible verse reference at the bottom on the front of the stone.

The city announced on Facebook Friday the monument would be restored and put back. The city has not said when the stone will be reinstalled.

“After careful consideration and much conversation with people on both sides of the discussion, City Council has made the decision that the Police Officer’s Prayer will be restored to its original condition and returned to the Fallen Officers’ Memorial located at the new police station,” reads a statement from the city.

“We want to thank everyone for voicing your opinion, as it’s not always easy to do so on such a sensitive subject,” the statement says.

However, the city is not restoring the Bible verse on the monument, according to a post on the city’s Facebook page.

“By restoring the Police Officer’s Prayer on the back and not restoring the reference to the Bible Verse on the front of the monument, we can begin to understand what it means to compromise even when we completely disagree,” reads a comment by the city. “Not everyone has the same beliefs, but we know this: We love our community, our police officers, and are proud to live in the greatest city in S.C.”

The city initially decided to remove the “Lord” references to avoid possible litigation and as an attempt to compromise following the complaint, The Herald previously reported.

That decision was faced with immediate backlash from the community, with elected officials such as U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman and former county sheriff and state Rep. Bruce Bryant weighing in.

Tega Cay’s action made national headlines.

“We have received many comments, both locally and nationally, in response to the monument at the Tega Cay Police Station,” reads a statement from the city sent earlier this week. “We attempted to find a compromise but failed as our community has further divided. In an attempt to find a resolution, we have upset parties on both sides of this issue and for that we are truly sorry.”

City officials in Friday’s statement thanked residents for their feedback.

“This was a tough week in Tega Cay. It is our hope that we can now move forward together and continue to be the strong, welcoming community that we have always been known for,” reads the city’s statement. “Regardless of our different viewpoints, our people are what truly makes this City such a wonderful place.”

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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