A local woman said she was arrested for praising the Lord too loudly, but police said her music and singing was disturbing her neighbors.
Betty Jones spends five hours every Sunday praising the Lord at her home with song and dance, starting with the gospel of Johnny Cash, then the Judds, Alan Jackson and ending with Elvis Presley.
But on Sunday, May 27, the Bristol, Tennessee police were called to the 54-year-old's home on Kentucky Avenue around 2:30 p.m. for the loud music disturbing the neighborhood. "I don't do it to aggravate anybody. I do it to exercise my legs and praise God like he wants me to," Jones said.
According to the police report, the officers helped Jones turn down the bass on the stereo and gave her a warning. Jones told police she would continue to listen to it how she wanted to and sing and praise the Lord and hoped he forgave the officers.
Officers were called back to the house at 4 p.m. In the report they state they could hear the music from two houses away. When they went to the front door to explain the noise ordinance to her, police said Jones began talking over them and slammed the door in their face.
She was issued a citation, which she refused to sign. The Bristol, Tennessee noise ordinance states any unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise is prohibited. "If it begins to annoy your neighbors in the area and you're getting complaints about that, then it violates that statute," explained police officer Johnny Hale.
The officers left a copy of the citation with Jones and she gave them a message. "Randy Travis was singing 'I'm going home to pray to God tonight and hopefully he'll forgive my sins.' I looked at that officer and said 'you better go home tonight and pray for your sins because that's what Randy is telling you,'" she said. "That's the gospel truth. Randy Travis told that man to go home and pray."
The police did go home, but they were called back to the house on Monday for the loud music again. They arrested Jones on two counts of disorderly conduct and violation of the noise ordinance. "I was going off and cussing," she said. "I was so upset and shaken."
She spent the night in jail and was released on a $1,000 bond. "I was praising God in my own home," she said. "We have the right to praise God, especially if we can't make it to church."