In military parlance the term, “Preparing the Battlefield” refers to the critical tasks undertaken in advance of firing the first shot: physically and psychologically making ready for the coming war.
In Loudoun County today we are living on the political battlefield envisioned two decades ago by Michael Farris, who has quietly prepared for a right-wing extremist assault on our schools and politics, currently featuring Hung Cao and Del. Dave LaRock, both supporters of Trump’s anti-democratic, failed insurrection.
Make no mistake: The current assaults on our public schools are not an organic, grassroots movement and the hard push to the right in politics isn’t rising naturally from public concerns; this is a carefully orchestrated, effort by a small group of nationally networked activists who want to end the separation of church and state and replace it with the church dictating morality to the state, as they have in Iran.
Farris is the preeminent leader of the nationwide, conservative Christian Home Schooling Movement. He established two seminal organizations in Purcellville. One, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) which promotes and provides a Bible based Christian curriculum for parents as well as legal assistance, and Patrick Henry College (PHC), a Christian university for Christian homeschoolers.
Farris has publicly attacked public schools for decades. In his 1990 book, “Homeschooling and the Law” Farris said that public schools are “multi-billion-dollar inculcation machine(s).” His overall analysis stated in the book: “…those who argue that public education is necessary for the preservation of our democracy are wrong.”
HSLDA’s VA PAC airlifts an army of Christian teenage homeschoolers from around the nation to help elect HSLDA’s preferred Loudoun Republican candidates. Formed into get-out-the-vote teams, they are deployed by PHC team captains in the days leading up to the election. They know little of Loudoun politics; they are here to campaign for pro-life, pro-Christian family values candidates. HSLDA’s get-out-the-vote project is called “Generation Joshua,” which is run by Joel D. Grewe, currently a candidate for Mayor of Purcellville.
Using Generation Joshua and Patrick Henry College, Farris has transformed Loudoun’s Republican party from its moderate moorings when Delegate Joe May was the face of the party into its conservative Christian/activist dominance of today. In 2013, LaRock forced a primary by challenging May for his seat. Farris endorsed his close friend LaRock, who had hired a PHC graduate as his campaign manager. LaRock won the primary and went on to win the general election. His campaign manager for his original campaign now serves as his chief aide in Richmond. Most Loudoun Republican candidates who are endorsed by
HSLDA hire current and former Patrick Henry College students as campaign workers and managers.
More recently, Farris increased his influence in the Evangelical Christian community by becoming an elder at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg. Cornerstone is a mega-church with 6,000 congregants. LaRock is one, as is Cao. Loudoun County Supervisor Caleb Kershner, a former HSLDA spokesman, attends, as do other conservative candidates. Cornerstone pastor, Gary Hamrick, endorsed a recall of duly elected, Democratic Party endorsed school board members and provided parishioners the ability to sign recall petitions. That effort failed in court.
This past spring, Farris’ Madison Project PAC provided financial support to 15 insurgent MAGA Republican candidates — all Trump-endorsed, election deniers — as well as assisting Hung Cao to win his primary fight for 10th Congressional District.
Read More: How Farris Helped Overturn Roe & His Role in Trump’s Attempted Coup