Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Sep. 26, 2013, 12:31pm

Tad Armstrong, founder of the ELL Constitution Clubs, is making changes to his popular program as a third session is about to begin.

The Constitution Clubs formed in Edwardsville in 2005 and center around the concept “Earn It, Learn It, or Lose It.” The club educates participants on what the Constitution says, the big court cases surrounding those issues and current events relating to America’s Constitutional rights. Previous club sessions were 49 months long and covered everything Armstrong felt was necessary to fully educate participants.

“I’m going to modify the written materials to do it in 25 months,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to cut it in half.”

Armstrong said the new approach will cover the same information but will be more manageable as four years can be a long time for a group to commit. He said his plan is to edit down his files, but keep the substance "rich and educational."

The third club will begin on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Edwardsville. The meeting will last about 45 minutes and participants will discuss the formation of the third Constitution Club. Each session following the informational meeting will take place on the first Tuesday of each month.

“If anyone is on the fence about whether or not they want to commit to this,” Armstrong said, “we only meet once a month, which is manageable for most.”

Armstrong said that anyone interested in "learning the truth" about the Constitution is welcome to participate. This first meeting is primarily focused on explaining what the club is all about.

He said there is no pressure put on "students." Participants are welcome to join in discussion if they wish, but are not required to do so, he said.

Guest speakers, which include judges and other experts on certain topics, will also be present at special meetings.

Armstrong also explained that if people interested in the club cannot make it to the meeting in October, they can always come to the meeting in November.

“It’s better to get in on the ground floor,” Armstrong said, “but they can join any time they wish.”

Armstrong’s previous participants have found it very empowering to watch the news and know what is going on and understand what the Constitution says about particular issues, especially when they know whether the speaker is actually correct or not, he said.

“The Constitution has not let us down,” Armstrong said. “We have let the Constitution down.”

Armstrong added that the club does not focus on matters of opinion, only the facts.

Armstrong’s dedication to educating the nation on the truth that lies within America’s greatest document earned him a recent trip to Kansas City, Mo., where he spoke at the Covenant America convention about his book “It’s OK to Say God” and the Religion Clause in the First Amendment. He said Covenant America was a huge success with an audience of several thousand people.

He said his presentation at Covenant America was so well received that it resulted in an invitation for he and his wife, Mel, to join Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and their wives at a private luncheon in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 10. The event is a meeting to get to discuss ideas, not a fundraiser.

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