Skip to comments.Educating America's Christian Right
Posted on 03/02/2005 10:46:24 AM PST by pissant
Energised by last year's election victory which mobilised the Christian Conservative vote, the American Right has been confidently pushing a moral agenda which puts education at the heart of a battle to change US culture.
Patrick Henry students are committed to transforming America
Sitting in a noisy but strangely tidy student canteen, Naomi Laine outlines her political vision.
"My intention is to impact the culture [of America]," she says.
"The people are the most important component of a society, and so that's where the battle for the minds needs to be waged."
Naomi sounds like a well-seasoned politician. But she is in fact a first year student at Patrick Henry College, America's first university established primarily for evangelical Christian home-schooled children.
Patrick Henry College is located in the small commuter town of Purcellville, Virginia.
It is only a short drive from Washington DC but just far enough away to not be influenced by the big city culture of the capital.
Founded in 2000 and with ambitious plans for expansion, the college sits on a 106-acre plot of land, dominated by the colonial grandeur of Founders Hall, the main building on the campus.
All the students at Patrick Henry are highly motivated, intelligent and perform at a level to rival those in America's best known Ivy League universities.
They are also all deeply religious and committed to transforming America.
We want our kids to be world changers
Michael Farris, Patrick Henry founder In fact all students have to sign a statement before they arrive, confirming, among other things, that they have a literal belief in the teachings of the Bible.
"We want our kids to be world changers," said Michael Farris, founder and president of Patrick Henry College.
Mr Farris, a constitutional lawyer and political activist, established the college with a very clear aim: "To prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless Biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding."
"If we are going to have our values reflected in our culture, we've got to train our kids in those values and train them for leadership," Mr Farris says. "And so this is a very concerted effort to train top leaders."
Mr Farris is one of the leading figures in the Christian revival taking place in America today.
More than 90% of the population say they believe in God, while 70% are Christian.
Christians do have something to say in politics
Michael Farris Mr Farris is training a new generation who will place Christian beliefs at the heart of their social and political activities.
"Christians do have something to say in politics," says Mr Farris. "We have as much right as anybody else to speak our mind and assert our values."
The values Mr Farris wants to instil in his students are those of the conservative Right.
Freedom is the key concept, and for Mr Farris freedom means the right to hold private property, and self-government.
He sees a limited role for the federal government, with decision-making being taken only by elected officials.
He is not a fan of the UN or the Supreme Court because they are unelected.
He is also vehemently opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage.
With President George W Bush in the White House and a Republican dominated Congress, the time seems right for Mr Farris and Patrick Henry College.
Patrick Henry students can look forward to a career in politics His students already have a level of access to Washington politics that few universities in the US can match.
Also, some 22 conservative members of Congress have employed interns from Patrick Henry over the past few years.
Critics see the college's very close connections to Mr Bush's White House as evidence of a conservative conspiracy to take over the institutions of power.
But Mark Rozell, professor of public policy at Washington DC's George Mason University sees it differently:
"What Michael Farris is doing with Patrick Henry College is a perfectly legitimate part of the political landscape," he says.
"If other people feel threatened by it, they've got to get out there and mobilise their folks to be well-trained, serving internships, getting to Washington and so forth."
It is a message that is beginning to be heard.
Since November's election, leading Democrats such as Hilary Clinton are looking at how they can also engage in the language of God.
Our faith has been stolen and it's time to take it back
Jim Wallis, preacher Jim Wallis, one of America's leading evangelical preachers, says it's time to end the Republican's stranglehold on faith-based politics:
"Somehow Jesus has become pro-rich, pro-war and only pro-America," he says.
"How did this ever happen? Our faith has been stolen and it's time to take it back.
"There's a growing progressive evangelical movement in the US which cares about poverty and the environment and we're talking about what it means to apply faith to our politics."
As opposed to the Atheist Left???
Makes Christian conservatives look like Kool-aid drinkers. Leave it to the BBC.....
"Since November's election, leading Democrats such as Hilary Clinton are looking at how they can also engage in the language of God."
Yeah, right! (Big Sarc) Another reason to beware of the wicked witch of the north.
Lazy reporter. Let me correct your idiocy for you:
"professor of public policy at Fairfax, VA's George Mason University."
Guess the Grand ol' Beeb owes me an entry on their Corrections page. You know, the one that's right next to the New Yuck Times'?
I don't have to agree with him in every particular to find some of what he contributed to be of very great value.
Of course, I live in central Virginia right next to "the Glebe" - the portion of land set aside to provide support for the rector of Saint Anne's Parish - which failed when the church was disestablished, but was revived later and survives to this day, perverse doctrine and all ...
I have no problem with Patrick Henry. He was a true American Patriot, even if some of his views differ from mine.
I just get mighty suspicious when a political activist of any sort names his group after a Founding Father. I feel the same about Mike Savage naming his group the Paul Revere Society.
That's because he's pro-freedom!
The BBC publishes its articles one sentence at a time.
I'm curious, why would you suspicious?
Because political activists who form groups almost always want taxpayer money. Would Patrick Henry want his name used to purloin taxpayer cash?
Those who don't go after the tax money almost always use a founders name to lend credibility to their kook cause. This is the same as smearing a good name to me.
Was not aware of that; thanks for the info.
Few things more hypocritical than the Atheist Left preaching about Jesus.
You make a very good point, milhouse...
"Since November's election, leading Democrats such as Hilary Clinton are looking at how they can also engage in the language of God." Ah yes, make noises like they believe but denying the power thereof. Hatelary and her societal engineers will try any ruse to get votes. Can the American people see through the evil one's plans? ... Look how many of US voted for the feckless one in 2004! Kerry was as transparently liberal as any to have run, yet too many voted for the lying SOB. The same will happen with Hatelary Rodhamster, but look for her degenrate hubby to dig up a 'Perot' to siphon off sufficient votes of conservatives to get the democrap candidate elected. The Clinton's serve only one master ... there boundless lust for power. Sadly, democrat 'christians' do not see well into the hearts of fellow democrats. The democrap party IS the party of abortion serial killing on demand. A more unChristian espousal I cannot think of!