Ayatollah Farris

I owe a deep and humble apology to “Dr.” The Rev. Michael P. Farris, esq., Chancellor of Patrick Henry “College,” for having incorrectly stated the other day that his Bible college for home-schooled Christians located in our fair county is “unaccredited.”

"Chancellor" Michael Farris plays dress-up at his barely accredited Bible college

While it is true that the “college” in 2006 abandoned efforts to gain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the American Academy for Liberal Education, Patrick Henry was fully accredited the following year by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a body established in 1971 “because of the prejudice against creation-science” in the mainstream academic community, according to its founders.

TRACS requires the schools it accredits adopt a statement of faith, binding upon  faculty and others, that affirms “the inerrancy and historicity of the Bible” and “the divine work of non-evolutionary creation,” specifically God’s creation of “the existing space-time universe . . . in the six literal days of the creation week.”

TRACS has also been cited for granting recognition to “blatantly fraudulent institutions.”

Glad to have that cleared up.

When Farris is not using his considerable political influence in Loudoun and Virginia GOP circles to promote his quack theories about Lyme disease, he is working hard to further his stated goal of replacing American democracy with “Biblical government.” As Patrick Henry notes in its statements of faith and “Biblical worldview,” Christians may even overthrow a government if it “commands disobedience to God.”

Lest there be any doubt about who gets to determine what the Word of God actually is, Chancellor Farris has made pretty clear that he considers himself in possession of a direct pipeline to the source himself: in 2006 more than half the faculty at Patrick Henry quit over Farris’s dictatorial insistence that they were not permitted to express theological or philosophical views deviating from his own multi-page doctrinal prescription. One professor was informed by Farris that his contract was being suspended (there is no tenure for faculty members at Patrick Henry) because, among other things, he had written an article expressing admiration for St. Augustine; when the professor objected that he did not see where any of his personal theological beliefs differed from the college’s statement of faith, Farris replied, “I determine the statement of faith.” When the resigning faculty members attempted to publicly explain their decision to leave, Farris at first issued a gag order forbidding them to speak, telling them it would be “unprofessional and unchristian” to make any statement to the press.

Farris’s weight with the Loudoun and Virginia GOP establishment is a mystery to some, but it is in fact quite simple: his hundreds of students are regularly mobilized as Republican campaign workers in state and local elections. Many have also been hired as aides, or for county staff positions, by successful Loudoun Republican supervisor candidates. (Suzanne Volpe, R-Algonkian, has two Patrick Henry students working for her, whom she refers to as “her boys.”)

When Farris sought annexation of the college’s property by the town of Purcellville—which will mean provision of town water and sewer service, allowing the campus to quadruple the number of students it can enroll—the wise town fathers snapped to and bent every rule to make it happen, even though of course as a non-profit institution the college pays no taxes, something that many local government view as a burden to be avoided.

But it’s a small price to pay for a perpetual supply of 1,600 free campaign workers, isn’t it?

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