ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Elizabethton’s city attorney has weighed in on the three crosses located on city property that a Wisconsin-based organization wants the city to remove.
In a statement Thursday, City Attorney Roger Day said he believes the crosses do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which is often referred to as “separation of church and state.”
Day’s statement came after the Freedom from Religion Foundation called on the city to remove the three crosses on Lynn Mountain that have overlooked the city for decades. The organization said they should be removed because they are located on city property in violation of the Establishment Clause.
Day said he agrees with a 2019 Supreme Court ruling that the display of a religious symbol on government property does not violate the Establishment Clause if it has taken on a secular meaning.
“I agree with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in American Legion which held that ‘long standing monuments, symbols, and practices’ with ‘religious associations’ have a ‘presumption of constitutionality,'” he wrote.
Day continued: “As such, it is my opinion as City Attorney of the City of Elizabethton that the three (3) crosses can remain on Lynn Mountain on City owned property as they are a long standing momument in the City of Elizabethton, they have a presumption of constitutionality and they do not violate the Seperate of Church and State.”
Day’s statement marked the first from the city since the issue was raised.