In the last days before the 2004 Presidential election, Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, Virginia, excused all its students from classes, because so many of them were working on campaigns or wanted to go to the swing states to get out the vote for George W. Bush.
Patrick Henry’s president, Michael Farris, is a lawyer and minister who has worked for Christian causes for decades. He founded the school after getting requests from two constituencies: homeschooling parents and conservative congressmen. The parents would ask him where they could find a Christian college with a “courtship” atmosphere, meaning one where dating is regulated and subject to parental approval. The congressmen asked him where they could find homeschoolers as interns and staffers, “which I took to be shorthand for ‘someone who shares my values,’ ” Farris said. “And I knew they didn’t want a fourteen-year-old kid.” So he set out to build what he calls the Evangelical Ivy League, and what the students call Harvard for Homeschoolers.
[Karl] Rove has built an entire campaign around mobilizing Christian conservatives. In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute after the 2000 election, he said that the President had lost the popular vote because fewer than expected “white, evangelical Protestants” had come to the polls. One of Rove’s principal strategies for victory in 2004 was working to increase this group’s numbers, and on Election Day four million more evangelicals voted than in 2000.
Farris’s manifesto for the school, “The Joshua Generation,” embraces the Rove principle: the “Moses generation,” he wrote, had “left Egypt,” and now it was time for their children to “take the land.” (emphasis added)
I was aware that there is a network of organizations, colleges, and think tanks dedicated to training the future Christian Dominionist apparat, but that last bit really caught my attention. The Joshua Generation. Who was Joshua? For those of you who didn't spend as many hours of your childhood in Sunday school as I, Joshua was the fellow who, in the words of the old spiritual, fit the battle of Jericho. Another, more accurate, way of putting it is that Joshua is the guy that God commanded to go into the Promised Land and commit genocide so that the Israelites could take it over. A couple choice verses:
"And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword." Joshua 6:21
"So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon." Joshua 10:40-41
All this smiting and smoting and mass slaughter of children, elderly, and livestock obviously took place some time before God switched gears and decided that He was "Love."
So, in Mr. Farris's little analogy, if the Christian Domininist apparatchiks he's turning out are Joshua's army, who gets to be the unlucky people of Kadesh-barnea? Why, it's us, friends! And not just the commie, gay, liberal, drug-taking pornographers, but all of us, Christian or not, who don't happen to subscribe to this tendentious and theologically suspect reading of the Bible. These people literally feel that they have a divine mandate to take control of the machinery of American government to the end of erecting a fundamentalist Christian state. And they are actively being courted and facilitated by the Bush White House.
Understand: this is jihad.