Americans for Prosperity’s Grant Henry Describes His Life Path to Grassroots Activism
Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Grassroots Director of American’s for Prosperity-Tennessee Grant Henry to the studio to discuss his background and what ultimately led him to become a grassroots activist.
Leahy: Our guest in studio, the one with that talk radio voice is Grant Henry. We’re gonna learn about Grant right now. We’re gonna learn about where that talk radio voice came from Grant. Tell us, where are you from?
Henry: I’ll claim Knoxville is born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. But all my family’s in Knoxville, all my wife’s families in Knoxville. I started undergrad at the University of Tennessee.
Leahy: So where did you graduate from high school.
Henry: Oak Ridge High School. I glow green, Michael. In a clear town.
Leahy: We could tell. So you grew up in Charlotte. Did you move to Knoxville?
Henry: That’s right, high school.
Leahy: Went to Oak Ridge and then went to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Henry: Started my undergrad there and then eventually transferred and finished undergrad up at the Southern Seminary in Louisville Kentucky.
Leahy: Now, wait. Now, wait. The number of guests that I’ve had on stock radio who started at the University of Tennessee and graduated from seminary until you came in this program today, who have that pattern is zero. (Henry laughs) So what’s the story How did that happen?
Henry: It could be a good thing or a bad thing. But I felt the calling right out about a sophomore year of the University of Tennesse. And it was something that was obviously irrefutable.
And it was something that you speak to a few people, speak to the parents’ situation and tell them, hey, this is what I’m thinking. I either want to go into ministry or want to pursue something.
Leahy: What was the calling.
Henry: The calling at the time was to go into a children’s ministry.
Leahy: And how did you feel this? I mean, when you say a calling, did it come to you in a dream? Did it develop over time?
Henry: It’s one of those things, at least for me. It was a pulling on the heartstrings. It was a yearning of the spirit. As you see it, everywhere you hear it, everywhere.
Leahy: A yearning of the spirit. Is that a phrase unique to you?
Henry: It probably not.
Leahy: That’s a good phrase. I would claim it.
Henry: I don’t think there are any phrases unique to me, but I went to seminary and I was working in children’s ministry.
Leahy: How did you pick a seminary in Louisville?
Henry: The wife. She was a girlfriend at the time, and she was up there.
Leahy: And what do you mean?
Henry: She was up there. She had been there a year before me.
Leahy: She moved there to study. She was in the seminary.
Henry: That’s right. She has a degree from there, too.
Leahy: So there wasn’t just one thing drawing you to Louisville. Come on, come on.
Henry: But it’s all part of the package plan in God’s green vision, right? As we cleave into another, right?
Leahy: So we’re discovering more and more about Grand Henry. (Henry chuckles) So you decide to move to Louisville. You went to seminary? Okay, let me just stop for a moment. What is seminary like?
Henry: Exactly like you would think it would be. To be honest, it’s a day jampacked with just reading the Bible and getting into theological studies. I majored in worldviews and applied apologetics.
Leahy: Applied apologetics.
Henry: I studied every major world religion as well as Christianity.
Leahy: Tell our audience what apologetics means.
Henry: Yeah, it doesn’t mean you’re apologizing for something. It’s just a fancy term for Christian philosophy.
Leahy: Defense of Christian theology.
Henry: That’s right.
Leahy: By the way, have you ever heard of a guy by the name of Sam Harris?
Henry: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Very familiar with Sam.
Leahy: He wrote a book called Letter to a Christian Nation. You want to know the name of the first book I ever wrote? 2007 self-published. At least 200 people bought it. Letter to an Atheist.
It was my response to Sam Harris, because he had some things in there that were factually untrue, and it made me angry. Probably not a good motivation to write apologetics. (Laughter)
Henry: I understand.
Leahy: It’s the only book that I’ve ever written on apologetics. And I concluded after I wrote the book, and he made some false claims about what Christians believe about evolution. All patently false.
And I pointed that out in the book. But I realized that my approach was unproductive in the sense that I don’t think that I could convince anybody by showing them the superior logic of the argument.
And that all it did was it made them defensive. It didn’t change anybody’s heart or mind, because they just dug in. And I had a huge back and forth with folks on it, and it was the wrong venue.
And I concluded that my calling was not Christian apologetics. My calling was political engagement, reporting, and activism.
Henry: I understand that. Even the apologetics approach I used to say that, hey, I’m just Johnny Appleseed out here just planting seeds and compassionate watering through the holy spirit to see what grows.
Leahy: This is what I couldn’t do, compassionate watering.
Henry: That’s what it takes.
Leahy: Scooter is, cracking up. Our producer is cracking up because he knows I can’t do compassionate watering, right? Scooter?
Scooter: Ah, yeah.
Leahy: He’s going no comment because, you know, I just like to crush the competition.
Henry: There’s got to be crushers out there. We all have a role to play. But, look, I eventually got the political bug too.
Leahy: So now you’re out of seminary. We got off track here.
Henry: Out of seminary, doing the children’s Ministry thing and caught the political bug. Professor Mind convinced me to go to law school. Pursue that world. You have political passion.
Pursue that world, figure out how to speak that language, and go into that world and be a light. Went to law school at Virginia Beach Reach University.
Jay Sekulow Adjunct Professor. John Ashcroft, adjunct professor. Figured out constitutional law, came back and fell backward into talk radio gig in Knoxville, Tennessee, and just didn’t feel like I was really doing it.
I didn’t feel like I was actually cutting my teeth in the ground grassroots.
Leahy: Hey, watch it there buddy. (Laughter)
Henry: But I actually interviewed someone from Americans for Prosperity, and they told me what they do, and that is where I got to be. I got to see if I can spread the message by doing it that way.
Leahy: You know, see, this is a great story. Grant Henry, Americans for Prosperity now our listening audience knows about you.
Listen to the third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.