Tennessee may be the grassroots epicenter of the movement to post the Ten Commandments in county buildings thanks to June Griffin, who has crusaded across the state urging counties to display the document in public buildings.
In a front-page article, the Tennessean featured her role in an effort that has resulted in 82 out of 95 counties voting to support the posting of the Ten Commandments.
Griffin’s resolution states that county commissioners “acknowledge the importance of the Ten Commandments of Almighty God and wish to go on record in support of this Magnificent Document and state that we will defend our right to its display to the limit of our ability, against all enemies, domestic and foreign, public and private.”
The Tennessean reported that Griffin has driven more than 7,000 miles across the state pursuing her campaign that blends conservative religion and politics.
“Our high priest is the Lord Jesus Christ,” she told a veterans meeting in Crossville, according to the Tennessean. “He is not the milquetoast Jesus with long hair. He looks like George Washington and Alvin York.”
Davidson County, home to the state’s capital in Nashville, has yet to vote on the resolution. Most of its surrounding counties have voted in favor of the resolution save one—Williamson County.
Sumner County commissioners voted 23-0 to display the commandments and other historical documents in the commission chambers, according to the Tennessean. One commissioner abstained.
Rutherford County followed suit, passing the resolution by a 16-5 margin. Commissioner Joe Frank Jernigan said, “It wouldn’t hurt nobody. Nobody’s making nobody read it.”
Another commissioner, Jimmy Woods, said, “I believe the First Amendment’s establishment clause prohibits us from placing the Ten Commandments—a religious document—in a public building.”
Woods said he was a Christian who believed in the Ten Commandments. He also said, “The First Amendment protects all citizens from the potential of a majority religious view being imposed on those who may not share that view,” according to Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal.
The Bradley News Weekly reported that Rhonda Robertson, a member of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Lamontville Baptist Church, organized a “Stand Up for God” rally in Bradley County to support the posting of the Ten Commandments.
“It’s time for Christians to stop letting God be taken out of our daily public life,” she said. “We’re going to support God the way God has supported this nation all these years.”
Last week, Griffin announced her candidacy for Fred Thompson’s U.S. Senate seat. Her “Americanism” platform includes support for the “God-given right to bear arms,” closing U.S. borders “to rectify the hideous invasion by those who do not love God and the United States,” and support for the Ten Commandments, according to the Tennessean.
The Rogersville Review reported that Griffin is an ordained minister in the American Bible Protestant Church.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee filed a lawsuit in January challenging the posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings in Hamilton County, the area surrounding Chattanooga.
“The posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings is divisive to religious diversity,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU-TN. “The role of government is to ensure that individuals have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to adhere to a particular religious faith.”
The debate over whether to allow the Ten Commandments to stand on public property continues across the country.
When the U.S. Supreme Court refused in February to hear a case that could have clarified the law, it let stand a “hodgepodge of conflicting court rulings,” according to Associated Press.
AP reported that the Plattsmouth City Council in Nebraska voted to appeal a federal judge’s ruling to remove the commandments from a city park. A few days later, a federal judge in Philadelphia ordered the removal of the Ten Commandment plaque in Chester County Courthouse.