Elizabethton, TN

City Attorney Affirms Position on Lynn Mountain Monuments

John M. Dabbs

Monte MORISSOLO, ItalyFederica Tasin/Unsplash

Elizabethton's City Attorney, Roger Day, released a statement regarding the Freedom from Religion Foundation's call for the city to remove the three crosses on Lynn Mountain. The crosses have stood as a monument to the city founders belief's for decades. The Wisconsin based group wants the city to remove the monuments from city property, as they see them as a violation of the "Establishment Clause."

Secular symbol

Statement from City AttorneyRoger Day/Elizabethton City Attorney

Day's statement (above) cites the 2019 Supreme Court decision allowing the display of religious symbols on public/government property. The items are not deemed a violation of the establishment clause as they have become a secular monument to the founders.

“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." - Roger Day, Elizabethton City Attorney

Day says the three crosses can remain on Lynn Mountain, on the property owned by the city of Elizabethton, as they are long-standing monuments in the City of Elizabethton and have a presumption of constitutionality and as such do not violate the separation of church and state.

Citizen response

In talking with a few citizens in the area, it is apparent their biggest objection is to outsiders trying to dictate how they handle their own affairs. Tonya Roberts said "we do not appreciate outsiders trying to stick their nose into our business." Another resident, John Kelly, said he didn't "think it was a big issue and could even be argued that it is a monument to law and order, as the Romans used crucifixion just as the English used stocks, like the one displayed in Jonesborough."

The secular use of crosses could be argued, but the longevity of their placement plays an important role in the decision. Several people interviewed on the street said they think "it's best to leave well enough alone, as the crosses on the mountain aren't hurting anything.

What are your thoughts?

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure, John is a consultant and writer..

Bristol, TN

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