KNOXVILLE - A biblical passage that was hanging at Knoxville Police headquarters and moved to inside the Safety Building has been put on bracelets for officers to wear following a lot of concern about the sign's relocation.
A Knoxville man designed and ordered the bracelets with Romans 8:31 on them after the controversial move was announced.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us then who can be against us,” it reads.
Ryan Hudson posted to Facebook last week stating he, his friends, and family ordered 300 rubber bracelets to give to officers. The post said: "They can take down a sign, but they can't destroy our beliefs. Can't wait to pass these out to our local law enforcement officers!"
After Hudson announced the purchase, his friends commented saying they wanted some of their own and the interest only grew from there.
"We have received a lot of requests from the public on how they can obtain one. Our initial order was enough to cover the PD with only a few extra. If enough people want one we are considering ordering more and selling them for $1/band. This would cover the cost of the bands plus shipping and then allow us to raise a little bit of money to donate to KPD or purchase breakfast for a shift or something like that. If you would be interested in purchasing one, please let us know so we can get a count and figure out the logistics of it all. This post is not meant to start any arguments or to offend anybody. Simply to show support to the officers of the Knoxville Police Department."
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and Mayor Madeline Rogero said the city removed the placard and put it in a different part of the building alongside other inspiration quotes, religious verses and proverbs regardless of faith or non-faith.
The mayor emphasized the decision would not affect individual expressions of faith within the department or city offices.
City leaders said the issue at hand was a legal one, as the government and publicly funded organizations are restricted from promoting or favoring one particular religion under the U.S. Constituion and its Establishment Clause.
Hudson sold about 750 bracelets and says he plans to donate the proceeds to a charity that works with Knoxville Police. He has not decided which organization.
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