The all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors continues to show its gratitude toward the fundamentalist Christian right-wing activists who helped elect them by giving plum jobs to graduates of Patrick Henry “College” — Michael Farris’s not really accredited Christian Bible school in Purcellville for home-schooled Christians (so long as they subscribe to Farris’s own very detailed “Statements of Faith and Biblical Worldview”) — and to other likeminded young activists on the far right.
As Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) candidly explained (her gushing endorsement of this blatantly partisan political activity by Farris’s tax-exempt institution is posted on the school’s own website):
“The support my campaign received from the PHC [Patrick Henry College] Republican Club was wonderful,” extolled [sic] Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe. “My campaign manager, Ben Fornwalt, is a senior and member of the Club. I am deeply appreciative of the coordination of door-to-door assistance of all of the local campaigns. My campaign also benefited from the experience of the PHC Republicans as team leaders for my GOTV efforts. With their assistance, we knocked on over 4,000 doors in approximately three hours.”
Volpe’s very enthusiastic campaign manager — along with his brother, a fellow PHC student who is Volpe’s other aide — are among the half-dozen or so extreme religious-right activists that the GOP board has since hired as aides.
Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) also has two PHC students on his payroll. Aide Ben Svendsen, who was “speaker of the student senate” at PHC, wrote an article for “New Jersey Family” magazine in which he declared:
“No victory in the legislature can last while the modern young person is indoctrinated with the pro-gay, pro-abortion agenda and is not taught the values upon which the country was founded.”
Higgins’s other PHC-provided aide, Chelsea Kneen, wrote an article in her home town newspaper decrying sex education because it would cause those who pledge to remain abstinent until marriage “to be teased and bullied by their classmates as ‘nerds’ or something like that. . . . Why would you want to create an environment in the schools that puts kids down for remaining sexually pure? I just don’t understand this.” You can’t counter logic like that.
And Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) has on his staff one Jessica Echard, who, in an article lauding the “Statesmanship Institute,” which trains young right-wing religious conservatives, explained that Jesus personally supports her extreme right-wing positions on the economy and foreign relations:
Growing up in rural West Virginia, Echard believed passionately in her church’s teachings against abortion, but thought little about such issues as economic policy or foreign trade. The institute gave her a framework for evaluating those topics. . . . Echard says Jesus would approve of a call for lower taxes: “God calls on us to be stewards of our [own] money.” She dips into the Bible to explain her opposition to most global treaties, reasoning that Americans have a holy obligation to protect their God-given freedom by avoiding foreign entanglements. “The Scripture talks of taking every thought and making it captive to Christ, and that’s what the Statesmanship Institute helps us do,” Echard said.
Gee, and we thought local government was about fixing potholes and providing good schools. Turns out in Loudoun, it’s just another training ground for the most extreme religiously zealous political activists of the far right.
At least while this Board remains in office.