June Griffin, the pastor of the American Bible Protestant Church, gave what can only be charitably described as a bizarre opening benediction before the Tennessee State Senate, the Times Free Press reports.
Griffin — who in 2006 was arrested for stealing a Mexican flag from a Hispanic grocery store because “there was nothing English in the store,” and has advocated burning copies of the Koran — was invited to speak by Republican Senator Frank Niceley, and she began the prayer conventionally enough, asking that God protect the state.
But the pastor quickly shifted gears, saying that “I pray for the people of Tennessee who have been so downtrodden by the wicked courts from on high that they have been subject to tyrannical judiciary! I pray that you will save Tennessee from the edicts of Washington DC that would go against the plain wishes of the people of Tennessee, particularly pertaining to the 9th and 10th Amendments!”
“I pray that you would sanctify this state, that it would be holy, and a leader among all the states, that they would see that there is a God who lives,” Griffin continued. “That you gave your life that the people of Tennessee might be saved from our sins.”
“O Lord,” she begged, her voice breaking, “save Tennessee!”
“I pray that you will be our coverage, that we will not be forced into these edicts from Washington DC or any other quarter, but that you would let the people know that our coverage is the same as with Moses and the children of Israel when they went through the wilderness,” she concluded.
When asked about the unusual nature of her speech, the senator who invited her said, “in this country of ours, we need a certain amount of conservatives that pay attention to the details. There are things that happen in this country that scare everybody.”
Sen. Niceley is, himself, a controversial figure with ties to Neo-Confederate organizations identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Watch the entire prayer below.