Americans for Prosperity’s Grant Henry Describes His Life Path to Grassroots Activism

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.













Author of Awake, Not Woke Noelle Mering Highlights the Three Fundamental Distortions of Woke Culture

Author of Awake, Not Woke Noelle Mering Highlights the Three Fundamental Distortions of Woke Culture


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. –  guest host Christina Botteri welcomed co-creator of the Theology of Home and author of the book Awake, Not Woke, Noelle Mering to the newsmakers line to outline the three elements of her book that define the woke culture and its infiltration into the church.

Botteri: Right now on the newsmakers line, I am so excited to introduce our next guest, Noelle Mering is a fellow at the Ethics and Policy Center. She’s the author of the book Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology. Noel, thank you so much for joining us this morning on The Tennessee Star Report.

Mering: Nice to be here. Thank you for having me.

Botteri: Thank you. Tell us about your new book.

Mering: Yeah. So it’s published by TAN Books. It just came out a couple of weeks ago, and it’s really my research and interest in what’s happening with woke culture. And I treat it more or less like a religion.

So I go through its origins, its dogmas, and its methods of indoctrination, but then also the restoration, the way to restore the culture out of this situation. Yes, I’m really excited about it and eager to be talking more about it. It’s one of my favorite subjects. (Chuckles)

Botteri: (Laughs) Well, let’s get started. So what was the genesis of the idea to address this? Where did the idea for Awake, Not Woke come from?

Mering: I’ve always thought of been interested in the intersection of Christianity and politics and how that plays itself out. And obviously it’s a hot topic, and there are lots of differences.

The big topic I think I got really interested in the woke stuff in particular because I started writing articles about things that were happening in the culture and noticed a certain pattern that this movement that’s about social justice tends to be quite merciless and actually unjust ultimately.

But it really operates on confusion and sort of plays on a pre-Christian precept to walk alongside the marginalized and suffering, which is a true and good precept. But what I kept noticing is that it takes that and sort of manipulates that instinct and then brings something that not really just out of it.

And so that seems important and interesting to note and to try to figure out why the movement was acting this way.

Botteri: Wow. What did you find and what are the things that you discuss?

Mering: I go through the historical genealogy, which is a big topic, too, but rooted in Marxism and then neo-Freudism, and post-modernism. The central dogmas that I found to be driving this movement and uniting it are three fundamental distortions.

One places the group over the person to the point where the person is reduced for the sake of the group. And really there’s a lot of tribalism there. Secondly, it emphasizes the human will over our reason or nature.

So what we desire becomes the definition of who we are, even above and beyond what is rational or natural. Meaning, like natural law, an intelligible human nature is a bodily meaning.

We see this really acutely in the transgender movement, for example. And thirdly, it emphasizes human power over authority. It really defines any hierarchical structure to be oppressive, even the structure of a supernatural hierarchy.

And God himself ultimately finds to be the target of this movement, because there are three things that are reduced. And those three distortions are the person’s reason and authority.

And the woke which is ultimately three characters, just the logos meaning the mind, the reason of God manifests in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the author and authority of all. And I do think that he is the ultimate target of this movement.

Botteri: Something that I’ve seen over the course of several years now, but it seems to be sort of snowballing is a social justice movement in the church. And as a Methodist, I’ve had a tough time for a long time reconciling their pacifist stance – and that’s a discussion for another day.

But we see a lot of progressive tenants being expressed in the church right now, especially in Catholicism. If you follow the Pope at all, he’s basically a South American-Marxist.

Are we allowed to say that? It’s something that seems to be snowballing and gaining a lot of traction in the Protestant religion as well – the Protestant doctrines. Where is that coming from? If the goal of racism is to destroy God, why is it getting so much traction in the churches?

Mering: That’s a great question. The two primary targets of Karl Marx were the church and the family. Christianity and the family. And I think that there’s been a lot of inroads because Christians are swimming in the same waters as the regular culture.

So one of the main goals was to really break down the sexual morals of the culture. First and foremost, you’re attacking the father by making him unfaithful and by encouraging him to be licentious and follow sexual passions.

And then this turns women in, makes women distrustful because obviously family stability and cultural stability rely on the family unit. And it also makes children rebellious because a father is really kind of an icon of authority.

We see it in his deeper voice and his broader shoulders and his commanding stature. There really is an authority just imbued in men, and it sort of calls them to inspire something higher.

And if they don’t, then it really becomes abusive and just about human power when it’s not grounded in moral law. Once these things happen, social pathologies become rampant, and they’re in the church as well.

And I think we see that. Once our socials were wounded and hurt by all these social pathologies and the breakdown of the family, we become very susceptible to a replacement version of the Christian life and what virtue means.

And so all of a sudden we’ve gradually stripped at this narrative meaning of the family life, and the faith has become watered down. And then here comes the work movement, introducing this new narrative where all you have to do to become good is to agree with the ideology to fight.

There’s this boogeyman out there of oppression. They see oppression in everything. Every interaction is built on oppression and power. That’s what the ideology is saying. So if you can just fight this boogeyman.

And the boogeyman is not always the boogeyman. That’s why it’s powerful. It’s real sometimes. There’s real racism. There can be real misogyny. There are real instances of these things.

But rather than taking them to be incidences that you can point out and identify and try again, it becomes this invisible, pervasive, controlling dynamic in society. And so I think Christians have really been duped in a lot of ways into thinking that this is what the new way to become virtuous is.

It’s just to become woke. And all of the other normal traditional channels of virtue have been seen as being oppressive or judgmental or these sorts of things like old-fashioned. I think it really starts with a loss of human virtue and then becomes prey to tyrannical ideology in that way.

Botteri: Well, that’s disturbing. Os Guinness, the philosopher from Hong Kong, of the Ale Guinness family – he coined the phrase the Golden Triangle of Freedom and said that liberty is only possible without these three elements being the Golden Triangle of Freedom.

And you can read about this at the Tennessee Star with our Constitution series. And the three elements are faith, virtue, and freedom. Liberty cannot exist without those three elements there.

And so the question is, can we have liberty without faith or virtue? What do you say, Noelle?

Mering: No, it’s extraordinarily difficult. And this is one of the ways that you lose your liberty is by losing your virtue. Alexis de Tocqueville said that America is great only so long as she is good. And once we lose our moral goodness moral compass, then we can’t control ourselves from interiorly, we have to be controlled externally.

Botteri: That’s a lot to think about.

Listen to the full 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.
Photo “Noelle Mering” by Noelle Mering.