LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Education. Religion. Industry. That's what Lenoir City Police Officers have been wearing on their uniforms for decades.
"It's probably been around 35-40 years," Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said.
The patch is now under attack by the non-profit organization Freedom From Religion Foundation. It's the same group that targeted the city's school system for allowing prayer at school events.
The organization is now asking that the department remove the word 'religion' from its patches because it's 'unconstitutional."
"The First Amendment requires that the government remains neutral between religion and non-religion," said Andrew Seidel, a Constitutional Consultant with Freedom From Religion. "That's a scary prospect that's something that they have in Iran, not here in the United states."
Lenoir City's Mayor Tony Aikens told Local 8 News that's not the case.
"We're not promoting religion of any type on those patches," he said.
A crowd filled a city council meeting Monday night to hear what will happen next. The Mayor's decision lead to an erruption of applause.
He told community members they will stand their gorund and send the organization a letter.
In the letter, it states: "The patch in question merely states the word religion, as such; it does not endorse nor discriminate against any religious, faith. It symbolizes our Police Department's attempt to protect the rights and freedoms associated with any form of religion."
"We are a community of a broad spectrum of driverse religious faiths and would never intend to offend or discriminate against, any, but only to protect all religious freedoms."
The organization told Local 8 News they're not afraid to end up in court.