ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – People are speaking out after a group known as the Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded that crosses on a hilltop in Elizabethton be removed.
Although the national group, which is based in Wisconsin, has demanded they be removed, many of the City’s residents are vehemently opposed to the idea. On Sunday, a group of protesters gathered at the intersection of Elk and Lynn Avenue to say they want the crosses to stay up.
The protest started around 3 p.m. and it is the second one that has been held in recent days. Protest participants tell us that the issue is growing and that even people from outside of county lines are being drawn to support the cause.
“There’s some outrage but as you can see you know everybody is civil and peaceful and I really think that the real message here is not anger over what they are doing — it’s how strong this community is,” said Paula Greene, a community organizer.
Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford also had something to say.
“These crosses have been here for a long time and they will continue to be here as a matter of fact. I think I should ask the people of Carter County if you support these crosses, make a cross, and put it in your yard,” Lunceford said. “Maybe if we have 50,000 crosses show up in Carter County they will get the picture and they will go back to where they need to be.”
The group advocating for their removal argues that the matter is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause since they sit on public property.