Despite patriotic nostalgia, Dayton rally urges Christians to restore order

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Re-enactor Jim Maddox recites the declaration of independence at a God and country rally in the Scopes monkey trial courtroom in Dayton, Tenn., just as a bit of tape loses its grip on a plastic banner hung from the banister. (Photo David Tulis)

Re-enactor Jim Maddox recites the declaration of independence at a God and country rally in the Scopes monkey trial courtroom in Dayton, Tenn., just as a bit of tape loses its grip on a patriotic plastic banner. (Photo David Tulis)

State Sen. Mae Beavers, a candidate for Tennessee governor, rises to give a brief oration July 1 in Dayton. (Photo David Tulis)

State Sen. Mae Beavers, a candidate for Tennessee governor, rises to give a brief oration July 1 in Dayton. (Photo David Tulis)

June Griffin, right, talks to the gallery in the circuit court room in Dayton, Tenn., where took place the Scopes trial on evolution. (Photo David Tulis)

June Griffin, left, talks to the gallery in the circuit court room in Dayton, Tenn., where the Scopes trial on evolution took place in 1926. (Photo David Tulis)

A TV12 reporter from Chattanooga interviews Brandon Germany and other protesters in Dayton on Saturday. (Photo David Tulis)

TV12 reporter Dorothy Sherman from Chattanooga interviews Brandon Germany and other protesters in Dayton, Tenn., on Saturday. (Photo David Tulis)

The God and country rally Saturday in Dayton, Tenn., presents a coherent worldview in which God is loved and feared and men reflect the holy equity of the scriptures in their nations.

The event is sponsored by a group of pastors who reflect a growing disenchantment with the long-reigning paradigm of privatized — and socially feckless — Christianity. While optimistic, there hangs over the affair a sense of nostalgia for the dignity of a mighty power whose national greatness is in twilight.

By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM 

Noogaradio logo 92.7 fmSeveral of the ministers indicate they have old-style Baptist belief that places salvation within man’s will and that for decades taught God’s limited claims on larger society.

But they speak in the context of constitutional government and the godly views of some of the federal founders. And in keeping with fabled quotations from Washington and Adams, they propose a more godly state of affairs in the U.S. brought about by Christian witness and example.

While their talks suggest a growing vigor in Christianity, they also seem to long for a state of affairs long overturned by wartime nationalization of the economy and emergency rule from Washington, with its constant buildup of expansionist executive programs and now F$170 trillion in debt and policy obligations.

The little-advertised God and country event drew about 60 people, with nearly half being protesters bearing placards on the back row. They sat quietly and respectfully for two hours before filing out at noon to meet under the shade of a tree in the courthouse lawn.

Brief encounter with gubernatorial candidate

The speakers are led by state Sen. Mae Beavers, who is running for governor with a strong record of liberty-oriented proposals such as constitutional carry and assertion of Tennessee’s 10th amendment prerogatives for against federal overreach.

“July 4th is a special day for me,” she says, “to know that men sacrificed their lives, their fortunes, their families, lost everything so that we could have the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy in this country.” Quoting the opening of declaration of independence, she says some of her favorite stories are about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, whom she credits with bringing the country to its height.

About two dozen people attending the God and country rally hold placards to promote gay marriage and other progressive ideas at the God and country rally in Dayton, Tenn. (Photo David Tulis)

About two dozen people hold placards to promote gay marriage and other progressive ideas at the God and country rally in Dayton, Tenn. “Two debaters, two statutes; no issue,” says one placard, in favor of a Clarence Darrow statue. (Photo David Tulis)

Urging Christian action

Pushing the idea of Christian action in favor of godly government and constitutional restraint on power is the work of Larry Tomczak, a World Net Daily columnist.

“You are to have an impact on your society, on your culture,” Mr. Tomczak says. “Now, a lot of people disagree with that.” He is involved with Intercessors for America, who pray and fast on behalf of the nation.

He cites a dozen inaccuracies in the movie “Inherit the Wind,” a fictionalized version of the John Scopes monkey trial in Dayton in 1925 that makes Christians look backward and bigoted and was a PR boon for the evolution camp and defense attorney Clarence Darrow.

From the 1920s to the 1970s, Mr Tomczak says, “many Christians backed away from being involved,” during which time humanists and materialists seized the reins of government and centers of influence.

Mr. Tomczak, author of 10 books, cites the scripture and urges Christians to have conversation “seasoned with salt” so that they might draw people to Christ and know how to answer unbelievers on any topic, whether salvation, abortion or warmaking. “Make the most of every opportunity — in other words, seize the opportunity when you can bring the truth,” whether liberating William Jennings Bryan and creationism from lies, or declaring the binding nature of God’s commandments, he says.

He declaims efforts by churches to block an interest in elections. “What’s going to happen to our country if we don’t vote, if we’re not salt, if we’re not light, if we don’t pray?” he demands.

The event is organized by the Rev. Dale Walker, who runs the Tennessee Pastors Network, a group that tries to connect gospel truths with matters of legislation and public morality. In past months it has issued press releases on pornography (condemned by the general assembly in a recent resolution) and on payday lending.

Christ’s second coming? Not so hasty

Rep. Judd Matheny

Rep. Judd Matheny

The event is so strongly constitutional in orientation that fitting right in is an oral recitation of the Declaration of Independence, without notes, by Jim Maddox, who wears a Thomas Jefferson period outfit. 

A presentation of the Rev. Bobby Stewart from Sunbright, Tenn., indicates a growing restiveness among Christians who have been told for decades that politics is worldly and the structures of government and public policy are filthy and of no interest to God’s people — given the presumed imminent return of the Lord Jesus in His second coming.

He defends a blasphemy conviction of an American who served three years in prison and was fined $500 “because to blaspheme the name of Jesus is to in essence undermine the laws of our land; we cannot, we cannot, allow that. We’ve come a long way since 1811” when sentence was passed, he says.

Mr. Stewart, who runs Faith for America, cites John Winthrop and the pilgrims and upholds the claims of Christianity made by the first arrivals to North America. “He took the text out of the book of Matthew that describes us as being a light of the world.”

If we do not live out these principles of godly self-government “in Christian love and Christian charity and Christian conduct,” Mr. Stewart says, “we will cease to be a light to the world and will simply be a byword. That’s my fear. I believe God gave light to [this] nation” as He did to Israel.

Mr. Stewart, who says he has “no problem with a statute of Clarence Darrow,” is a minister to legislators all around the country, encouraging godliness in perspective and practice. So eminent is the godly aspect of American government, as it has borrowed from biblical concepts of decentralized power, that even a Muslim general in Iraq says he wants his government to be modeled after that of the U.S. because it works, Mr. Stewart says.

Battleground for evolution

State Rep. Judd Matheny, a Republican who is running for the U.S. congress, cites familiar arguments about the constitution that under the toils of the federal hegemon appear increasingly mythical. He tells of the battle of Concord, with inveterate patriot June Griffin, 77, on the first row, crying “Amen!” as the British are about to come under fire.

Quoting John Adams, the second president under the constitution, Rep. Matheny says, “Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The theme of creation versus evolution permeates the event, though not everyone speaks directly about the conflict between Moses and his record and the erstwhile fossil record that gives evidence of macro-evolution. 

The argument for materialism from Darwin and his many successors is strong still, and several speakers believe generations are lost because of the conquest of evolutionary opinion in the public school and in the media. Evolution as a theory upheld by managerial elites is widely supported as a theory for social control and collectivism.

But the evolutionary position has largely collapsed in the science, with genetics and other fields denying it legitimacy. The so-called fossil record between man and ape has vast gaps. Evolutionary theorists are unable to respond to ideas such as that of the irreducible minimum by Michael Behe and the siege raised against its ramparts by attorney Phillip E. Johnson whose book Darwin on Trial tells of the system’s decimation.

The arguments over whether a statute for Clarence Darrow should stand near that of William Jennings Bryan is not heated except on the part of Mrs. Griffin. Many of the speakers seem not to object to the idea of a statute of Darrow, proposed for the courthouse by the local historical society.

As the rally proceeds Saturday, a criminal defendant, Arthur J. Hirsch in Lawrenceburg, Middle Tennessee, is preparing oral arguments for July 18 hearing in the criminal court of appeals against Gov. Bill Haslam’s lawyers.

Mr. Hirsch was convicted in December 2015 of exercising God-given, constitutionally guaranteed rights. He says that he has a right to travel on the public right-of-way in his private car, even though Gov. Haslam says he is a criminal deserving prison. The Hirsch case typifies the near total victory by commercial government against constitutionally guaranteed rights. The 1938 commercial driver’s license act did not destroy any constitutional right, Mr. Hirsch argues, but simply created a regulatory system for commerce among common carriers (transportation businesses) that use the highways and roads for profit, and that a private user such as he is not subject to that system.

If new governer-appointed judges side with the people and not the state, Mr. Hirsch’s case will create an exhilarating prospect for freedom in a leading Southern state that has been subject to total progressive government enforcement since the 1930s.

Protesters evoke name of God, other deities

Brandon Germany of Dayton, Tenn., protests the evangelical air of a God and country rally at the Rhea County courthouse July 1. (Photo David Tulis)

Brandon Germany of Dayton, Tenn., protests the evangelical air of a God and country rally at the Rhea County courthouse July 1. (Photo David Tulis)

At about noon the protesters file out. Apparently half of them have somewhere else to go. A dozen others remain under a tree in the courtyard and bow heads in prayer uttered by a woman under a fluttering Yankee flag.

It thanks God for the great country of the U.S.A., thanks God for His protection, for “the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, for *** the advances being made in marriage for gay people, for LGBT rights; thank you for these good people here, who believe in love, and are expressing it by their quiet and respectful attendance at this rally that started out as a rally against freedom of speech. But thankfully pretty much every speaker that’s been up there agreed with us, that that [Darrow] statue has a right to be there, so thank you Lord, in Jesus’ name, in Mohammad’s name, in Allah’s name, in the name of the Buddah and in the name of anybody’s religion or no religion — thank you for this great country. Amen.” 

The only two people willing to identify themselves to the press are Brandon Germany and Darren Hodge.

Mr. Hodge says he is a creationist but supports the historical society’s efforts to raise a Darrow effigy at the courthouse, though Mrs. Griffin says that is like insisting on a statute of Adolph Hitler at the Buchenwald concentration camp museum for the sake of equal representation.

They are a mix of humanists and atheists and progressives, who are offended by Christianity and the gospel’s claim of Jesus Christ’s total government over all the affairs of men, viewing Southern Christianity as does H.L. Mencken, with a mix of derision and hilarity.

Part I: The republic in twilight

Part II: Local economy solutions to national disaster

The David Tulis show. Courtesy Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM

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