Training ultra-conservative theocrats: The mission of Patrick Henry College
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 14, 2006, 01:06
Horowitz has been beating the conservative drum and fabricating
misinformation about all those supposedly sinister �liberal� professors in
American colleges and universities. His so-called �Academic Bill of Rights� is a
blueprint for the extermination of open discussion and true academic freedom.
As the American Association of University Professors put
it, �the Academic Bill of Rights undermines the very academic freedom it
claims to support.�
The Christian Right has, of course, embraced
to squelch intellectual discussion and real academic freedom. Add to this a
number of recent books by conservative writers that slam �liberalism� and
�humanism� on college campuses � including David Kupelian�s The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals,
Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom (�praised
by Limbaugh, Schlessinger, Malkin�) and David Wheaton�s University of Destruction: Your Game Plan
for Spiritual Victory on Campus (promoted
by James Dobson�s Focus on the Family syndicate)
� and you have enough smoke and mirrors to hide what�s going on in evangelical
Christian home-schooling and at a Christian college meant to give those home-schooled students a direct
pipeline into politics . . . ultra-conservative theocratic politics.
Everyone is aware of Jerry Falwell�s Liberty University and
similar high-profile �Christian� institutions, where education is governed by
the Bible and conservative politics. Most are aware of the Southern Baptist
strategy� that advocates removing students from �godless� public schools
and home-school them in the way of theo-conservatism. But how many are aware of
Patrick Henry College?
David D. Kirkpatrick�s March 8, 2004, article
for The New York Times � �College for the Home-Schooled Is Shaping Leaders for
the Right� � began the expos�:
PURCELLVILLE, Va. - As one of 12
siblings taught at home by their parents in St. Croix Falls, Wis., Abram
Olmstead knew he would fit right in at Patrick Henry College, the first college
primarily for evangelical Christian home-schoolers. But what really sold him
was the school�s pipeline into conservative politics.
Of the nearly 100 interns working in
the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in
the four-year-old Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville. An eighth intern
works for the president�s re-election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern
now works on the paid staff of the president�s top political adviser, Karl Rove.
Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one
or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according
to the school�s records.
Interesting that so many students from an unaccredited institution � which Patrick
Henry College still is � end up with such prized internships, isn�t it?
Between then and now, Falwell launched Liberty University�s
University School of Law exists to equip future leaders in law with a superior
legal education in fidelity to the Christian faith expressed through the Holy
animates and drives all that we do, as we aim to:
1. Equip future leaders in law. Inspiring students and preparing them to excel and lead in their
2. With a superior legal education. Constructing and implementing an education
characterized by excellence.
3. In fidelity to the Christian faith. Adhering to the perspective that shaped the
Western Legal Tradition.
4. Expressed through the Holy Scriptures. Pursuing truth in a context of free thought
and expression informed by a standard.
purpose of Liberty University School of Law is to prepare its students to
think, analyze, and communicate through the analytical grid of a comprehensive
Christian worldview. In so doing, the School of Law aspires to produce
graduates who are clear thinkers, skilled legal practitioners, and morally
responsible leaders of society.
And given who
dictates everything at Liberty University,
The Bible is the inerrant . . . word of
the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters
pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography,
science, history, etc. �Jerry Falwell
the theocratic agenda and purpose of the �law school� are
all the more obvious.
Between then and now, Horowitz launched his campaign against
American colleges and universities that teach things other than the �biblical
worldview� which arrested, indicted
Tom DeLay was intent on
embedding into American law and government. Patrick Henry College is dedicated
to the Falwell-DeLay agenda:
Mission of Patrick Henry College is 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. Educating students according
to a classical liberal arts curriculum, and training them with apprenticeship
methodology, the College provides academically excellent baccalaureate level
higher education with a biblical worldview.
Vision of Patrick Henry College is to aid in the transformation of American
society by training Christian students to serve God and mankind with a passion
for righteousness, justice and mercy, through careers of public service and
�The classical liberal arts curriculum� contains
non-Christian writers and thinkers who did not share the �biblical world view,�
which Patrick Henry College defines
at great length beginning with �The Holy Scriptures. The Bible in its
entirety (all 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the inspired word of
God, inerrant in its original manuscripts . . ." Sound like Falwell�s
statement to you?
Some of the greatest thinkers in history did not subscribe
to the �biblical worldview.� Socrates, Plato and Aristotle come immediately to
mind, as do many of the greatest names in literature, philosophy, and the arts.
Are they and their non-biblical ideas included in PHC�s curriculum? And what
about �academic freedom� and the unfettered pursuit of knowledge?
Christian school reins in academic freedom,
professors say: Rebellion at Patrick Henry College reflects tension between
liberal arts classes and biblical worldview
By Michael Alison Chandler
- Nearly a third of the faculty
members at Patrick Henry College in northern Virginia are leaving the school
because of what they described as limitations on their academic freedom . . .
one case, the professors said, faculty members were reprimanded for writing
that the Bible �is not the only source of truth.�
leaving the college because I want freedom,� said David Noe, assistant
professor of classics. He said he came to Patrick Henry in its first year
expecting to find �a liberal arts college that will be the new Ivy League� � as
the school bills itself � but instead found a place where classical works by
non-Christian authors were sometimes considered suspect . . .
But Noe and
government instructor Erik S. Root, who is also leaving, said they had
encountered additional �arbitrary limitations� set by the president . . .
Root said his
contract was temporarily withdrawn this spring in part because of an article he
wrote for a school publication about a Christian saint that prompted the
president to question his loyalty to a biblical worldview. In a letter to Root,
Farris questioned whether Root shared the views of a Darwinist he had quoted.
Root called Farris� concerns �guilt by association.�
an article in March arguing that the Bible was not the only source of truth and
that students could learn valuable lessons from non-Christian writings. The
900-word story led to a 2,600-word response by the chaplain � endorsed by the
administration � detailing its �harmful implications� and saying it �diminished
the importance of� Scripture. . . .
college has ambitions to place conservative Christian graduates in positions of
influence, where they will help reshape American culture. . . .
A liberal arts education, critical thinking and knowledge
are not the goals. Political power is. Theocratizing America is. Patrick Henry
on �academic freedom� acknowledges that:
Professors at Patrick Henry College
sign a statement of faith as a requirement of employment. This practice might
suggest to some that our professors give up academic freedom when they sign the
PHC statement of faith. The unstated assumption embedded in such a claim is
that academic freedom is an intrinsically good thing and policies that
compromise this freedom are undesirable. Fair enough. Most people agree that
academic freedom is good. But this only raises an obvious question, namely,
what exactly is academic freedom?
At first blush, academic freedom would
appear to mean the freedom of those holding academic posts to conduct research
and teach the subject of their expertise in whatever way they see fit. The
imposition of any guidelines that restrict the freedom of the scholar are
undesirable, for restrictions serve to stifle creativity and silence challenges
to the current orthodoxy, challenges that, as we have seen throughout history,
ought to be heard. If this is what academic freedom means, then religious
colleges that require faculty to sign faith statements do indeed appear to
limit academic freedom.
But perhaps academic freedom should be
understood in another sense. What if we define academic freedom as the freedom for
scholars holding similar worldviews to associate and in so doing to form a
community of scholars actively pursuing truth in a collegial and cooperative
fashion? Academic freedom in this sense seeks to step back from the radically
individualized conception in the first definition in favor of a view that
emphasizes community and cooperation. . . .
The sophistry and contradiction in the statement are
obvious: such an incestuous group of �scholars� pursue only their own
theocratic �truth� without concern for anything else. Given that, it makes
sense PHC would deem the statement �that
the Bible �is not the only source of truth�� dangerous and heretical. In the
glorious days when dogmatic Christianity was married to civil government,
people making such claims were the main attraction at an auto de fe.
Perhaps the reason
so many professors at accredited
colleges and universities are �liberal� is that they like to think for
themselves and question authority rather than vegetate in the intellectual coma
called �religious dogma.�
well-known creationist group is now offering an online master�s program for
science teachers. Through the Internet-based curriculum, the California-based Institute
for Creation Research (ICR) is hoping to reach out to more educators and create
a network of science teachers . . .
Nason [chair of ICR�s �Science Education� Department] says the Institute�s
online science education master�s degree program is designed to help science
teachers �communicate the truths of biblical creation to middle and high school
students.� All the courses in the program approach the content in the same way
that ICR researchers approach the study of origins, she asserts � that is, if
an idea is contrary to God�s Word, it is false.
What�s the purpose of teaching students that the earth is
6,000 years old and dinosaurs were passengers on Noah�s ark, when all scientific knowledge definitively contradicts that with undeniable hard
evidence? Could it be to create a theocratic state where knowledge and learning
are not welcome? Could those advocating replacing science with Genesis have any
real concern for �education�? Or are they simply looking to increase their
social and political control?
et al yammer about taxpayer money
going to colleges and universities where all those supposedly sinister
�liberal� professors teach. One has to wonder if any taxpayer money makes its
way to Patrick Henry College, the sole
purpose of which is to train close-minded, ultra-conservative theocrats.
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