Compelling examination of a seven-year-old institution created to educate the Christian right.
Journalist Rosin explores the people and ideals behind Patrick Henry College, a northern Virginia school founded by evangelical activist Michael Farris. Patrick Henry caters mainly to home-schooled students and is devoted to reclaiming American culture for Christianity. Rosin introduces several of the college’s students, ranging from a couple who did not kiss until their wedding day to a slightly rebellious former student of dance, boxed in by Patrick Henry’s rules. All are bright, driven and courteous to a fault. Their lives are set against a backdrop of rigid rules and the turmoil of forays into Washington culture. Their young college is portrayed as struggling to find its identity and path—how best to mix evangelical Christianity with the classical liberal arts, how to groom students for success in politics, law and media while continuing to emphasize their almost sheltered form of faith. Rosin does not set out to write an exposé or to push an agenda of her own, and she succeeds admirably in allowing the reader to experience this place and its people first-hand, with a critical eye but without preconception or prejudice. The book also provides a dispassionate introduction to conservative Christianity in America through discussions of creationism, evangelical views on politics, the role of home schooling, etc. Mostly she offers a personal look at a unique generation: “They are the children of Ralph Reed—ambitious, entitled, and fearful, above all, of being irrelevant.” Like it or not, look for a Patrick Henry alum at a state-house race near you.
Accomplished survey of today’s most gifted evangelical Christians coming of age.