MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It has been a part of Maryville's holiday traditions for nearly a quarter of a century, but Monday night the Bible was removed from their Christmas celebration.
One complaint changed the local ceremony, with the long-time argument of separating Church and State.
And, it hit home when the City of Maryville received a call, complaining about their annual Yuletide Celebration, which used to include reading from the Bible.
Walker Johnson has been the Master of Ceremonies of the Maryville Yuletide Celebration for more than 20 years, but things changed this year.
He says, "It's my first time in 22 years not to read the Christmas story." Describing the previous years, he says, "Everybody is partying and having a good time, and when you start to read it, they get quiet, and any time you've got 6,7,800 people get quiet, you know you're doing something right."
Annually before the large tree in downtown Maryville was lit up, Walker shared the Bible story with the crowd.
But, Mayor Tom Taylor says, "Last Thursday we received a call from a lady asking if we were going to read the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke," adding, "and she just simply asked if that were legal."
So Mayor Taylor asked their attorney to research their long-time tradition.
Maryville resident, Babara Shaw says, "I don't like that. I like tradition, and I think we need tradition still in this Country today, for the children at least."
Taylor says, "The Supreme Court ruled on this in a series of decisions. It wasn't just a single decision, and they have been fairly clear on this."
Despite the rest of the ceremony having Christian references, "This seems to be fairly specific on reading a religious document, out of a religious manuscript," says Taylor.
Samuel Duck brought his Bible, to share the word on his own.
Samuel says, "It's very simple, I mean it's Christmas, it's about the birth of Christ, it's not about Christmas trees, it's not about Santa Claus, it's not about elves and reindeer."
Mayor Taylor says they plan to research even further into what they can and can't do for next year's holiday celebration.
But, one Maryville resident told Volunteer TV there were a lot of people that decided not to attend this year, because of the change.