Rep. Bud Hulsey runs the keyboard as homeschool girls sing at the constitution dinner Tuesday in Dayton, Tenn., an annual event organized by June Griffin, Tennessee’s matron of the constitution. (Photo David Tulis)
Federal and state flags flutter forward as the audience members rise from their tables before enjoying a constitution dinner in Dayton. (Photo David Tulis)
Roy Cope, who ran for U.S. senate, reads a provision from the U.S. bill of rights as a scroll of provisions is passed around. (Photo David Tulis)
J.C. Knott stabs at some cake as he attends the constitution dinner with his girlfriend, Charlene Shelby. He is a member of a mid-state constitution-minded militia. (Photo David Tulis)
John Gentry has developed a national following to encourage people to exercise their right of remonstrance and address, one strongly secured in the Tennessee constitution even though the state refuses to fix a damaging typo in its online version of the document. (Photo David Tulis)
June Griffin, 81, of Dayton, Tenn., a Christian minister in the Wesleyan tradition, has behind her a lifetime of patriotism and constitutionalism. (Photo David Tulis)

DAYTON, Tenn. — The power of the constitution to restrain tyranny is magnified tonight at the annual dinner organized by its leading Tennessee matron, June Griffin.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

Rep. Bud Hulsey says that until Christian people take their religious beliefs seriously and become active in public life, the losses of liberty under pernicious legislation such as for hate penalties in the criminal statute will continue.

After dinner held in brightly lit church auditorium near Main Street in the Rhea County town, Rep. Hulsey and others hail the connection between the Christian gospel and legal and political liberty. 

God will “raise up that posterity of those names on that wall” of U.S. war dead, says radio station operator Harry Grothjahn,  “to have the new revival and the new brotherhood of believers who will stand up to wickenes that dominates this culture. And praise God for the privilege to live in the land where freedom was born.”

“Amen! Amen,” calls Mrs Griffin.

The gathering draws people such as John Gentry, the Goodlettsville former Marine who has generated a national following for his work promoting the people’s right of address and remonstrance, listed in the Tennessee bill of rights at Article 1, section 23. ‡ He is joined by his girlfriend, Jennifer. At another table is John Roy Cope, who ran for the federal senate seat nomination won by Bill Hagerty.

Seated next to his girlfriend at my table on my right is J.C. Knott of the 1st TN Rifles UMT, a middle Tennessee private militia group who says he is preparing for war. At my left is Tim Allen, who runs YourRightsAndFreedom.com and has a show every Wednesday at WBCR AM 1470 in Alcoa, managed by Mr. Grothjahn. 

At another table is Lucinda Sheth of the Roane County Tea Party and Mark Davis, a general in Tennessee Confederate Army at cfacsa.com.

Mrs. Griffin, 81, has organized the annual dinners with the help of family members, including four grandsons and a granddaughter. Amid the hoopla at the microphone she tells of the death of her husband, J.B., who ran a furniture store and U-Haul rental business on the north side of town.

‘Ammunition’ for reversing tide

Rep. Hulsey is a 36-year police veteran retired from  Kingsport police department as a watch commander. “There wasn’t anything I liked better,” he says, “than arresting somebody and putting them in the back seat of a cruiser and talking with them about the Lord on the way to jail.” 

His talk is “ammunition” for people who are concerned about American culture and its decline, and how his listeners might work to counter social and national disintegration. 

We need Christian people in this nation to get serious about following Christ. They need to get serious about serving God. How in the world can Christian be an influence on their neighbors if they live just as dirty as their neighbors do? How does that happen? If we are gonna survive in this county, I think one of the linchpins is that pastors and churches are gonna have to preach the word of God without apology and teach the word of God with truth. And that means you can’t be lazy. You gotta study. And pastors need to study and they need to teach. And Christian people need to get serious about serving God and saving this republic. *** I think there’s a lot of evil systems riding the Covid horse — a lot. You need to contact your state representative and your state senator and you need to tell them, I’m praying for you — and you need to. You need to. I’m praying for you, and I’m watching. “Always, always honor your oath.” And that’s what I tell these boys. That’s what is at the center of my heart.

Rep. Hulsey says the documents of the covenant between people and government are alive to strengthen Americans as lawlessness pervades the ranks of those in public service.

I raised by hand and swore one thing in Tennessee to 6.2 million people, and that was that I would always, always defend the constitution and maintain of the United States, and the constitution of state of Tennessee. It is those parchments that keep chains off your feet and a whip of your back. 

“That’s exactly right —” interjects Mrs. Griffin.

You need to learn them. You need to learn the constitution. You need to teach it to your children, and teach it to your grandchildren — and pray for folks like me.

The group also heard from Tim Rainey, who for 40 years has visited people in the state’s jails. “I’m here to honor him tonight,” Mrs. Griffin said, amid applause. She reads a proclamation about his work inked by the speaker of house of representatives.

‡ Tennessee constitution Article 1, Section 23. That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by address or remonstrance.

The Tulis Report is 1 p.m. weekdays, live and lococentric.

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