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By Michelle Horstman
April 1, 2014

The currently ongoing Constitutional Convention - Article V movements have been an area of concern lately, as associations with the radical Left have been brought to light. These associations were attempted to be explained away by the head of the Convention of States, Michael Farris, as just good politics. Those questioning him were labeled "conspiracy theorists." Despite the labels he threw out, many would continue to question his judgment on this and ask how he came to be chosen to head this movement in the first place. Do we also need to be concerned about extremists from places other than the radical Left as we consider this movement?

It has been reported that the Convention of States concept originated with Ned and Drew Ryun of American Majority. Ned and Drew are the sons of former U.S. Representative Jim Ryun, who is currently with The Madison Project, a fundraising effort for conservative candidates. American Majority was funded "above 75 percent" by the Sam Adams Alliance, Eric O'Keefe's (no longer active) conservative think tank. Eric O'Keefe (former director of the National Libertarian Party) and Leo Linbeck III also happen to be partners in both the formation of Citizens for Self Governance and their own super PAC, Campaign for Primary Accountability. Citizens for Self Governance is the source of the Convention of States effort.

With the Ryun's close ties to Michael Farris, it is no wonder that he would be in the position of leading this effort. Ned founded Generation Joshua, which Farris put into action through his Home School Legal Defense Association.

By training students (often homeschoolers) in the principles of conservative Christian political views and encouraging them to be active politically, Generation Joshua seeks to fundamentally influence the next generation's involvement in government. Many of these students go on to enter conservative colleges such as Patrick Henry College, (also founded by the HSLDA) where they will learn to "restore a moral framework and return America to its founding principles".[1]

They are also connected through The Madison Project, founded by Farris in 1994 as a fundraising source for conservative candidates. Jim and Drew Ryun are currently in leadership there. Paul Weyrich, Tim LaHaye and others have also been associated with The Madison Project.

The State Policy Network's (SPN) 2010 meeting encompassed many of these same names, including Drew Ryun, Leo Linbeck III, Nick Dranias (Compact for America's Article V director), Eric O'Keefe, as well as representation from the Texas Public Policy Foundation (part of the SPN) founded by James Leininger. Among the presentations there was one on the Constitutional amendment process by Nick Dranias as well as information and handouts from Ned Ryun on engaging the Tea Party, with some extensive market research on the Tea Party provided. This would certainly help them to "sell" things to Tea Party groups, using the issues and language they know Tea Parties respond to.

With Michael Farris firmly in place at the COS, there are real concerns about some of his past associations which some would consider "extremist". Perhaps the most concerning is his association with the Coalition on Revival, COR. Their website describes him as one of the developers and signers of their Manifesto for the Christian Church. Along with Farris, other signers include the late Dr. R. J. Rushdoony (said to be the father of the homeschool movement and dominionist as well as his son-in-law, Dr. Gary North, also considered to be a dominionist. You will often see the writings of Rushdoony referred to on many dominionist websites as well as material from the Chalcedon Foundation that Rushdoony started.

Although Michael Farris has since claimed not to have given permission for his name to be used and to have bowed out of this organization early on, it seems curious that a lawyer of his stature would continue to allow his name to be on the list of signers and developers. As of this writing, his name is still on the list of signers as well as many other places on the COR site.

From Homeschooling is Legal:

During Michael Farris‘ campaign for Lt. Governor in 1993, charges of extremism continued to follow him. Much was made of the fact that his name appeared as a co-author of a policy paper by a group called Coalition on Revival, which has called for the United States to reclaim itself as a ‘Christian nation.’ (Farris says that he only worked on an early draft of the document and that the organization included his name without his permission.)” (Leslie Kaufman, “Life Beyond God,” New York Times Magazine, October 16, 1994.)

Farris denies ever signing the document or co-writing the section on a Christian view of the law although Armstrong recalls that she and Farris wrote different parts of the section and “he certainly seemed to be in general agreement” of the finished version.

Here is a portion of the document being referred to:

Now, for the Glory of God, having repented of our sin and counted the cost of true discipleship, willing either to be martyred or to reign with Him, we hereby solemnly covenant with Almighty God and with one another, to live henceforth in full, serious obedience to all the Bible's commands that apply to us today, to the best of our ability and in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, from now until the day we die, so help us God.

COR has a 24-year plan with many points that mainstream conservatives might agree on, but others of concern:

This local “Master Plan” for turning the city-county back to biblical principles must be IN WRITING, must be LONG-TERM, must be COMPREHENSIVE, and must be by the CONSENSUS WISDOM of a roundtable of local leaders or it will be worthless for a real reformation, revival and revolution of leadership.

The model we suggest for getting senior pastors and churches into the process of “society-changing” has been set up by Dave Welch in the Houston Area Pastors Council which has 170 very involved senior pastors making big dents in Houston, Texas.

Their web site for information is (Up until this Houston effort, this has not been attempted or accomplished in any city in America of which we are aware.)

More from the COR documents:

Man’s Dominion Over the Earth Restored
7. We affirm that Christ alone, as representative man and last Adam, by His life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the throne at the right hand of the Father, accomplished redemption, the defeat of Satan, and the beginning of the restoration of man’s godly dominion over the earth as God’s vice-regent.
We deny that the restoration of man’s God-ordained dominion (a) lies outside the scope of Christ’s redeeming work as mediator on the Cross, or (b) awaits the physical presence of the returned Christ for its inauguration and expansion

We affirm that the Kingdom task of making disciples of all nations requires us to hold forth the Bible as God’s standard and plumb line by which to measure the justice, morality, and practice of all human endeavors in all jurisdictions?individual, voluntary asssociation, family, church, and civil government.

We deny (a) that the Bible and its view of reality bind only those who voluntarily claim them as their own and are irrelevant to those who reject them, and (b) that unwillingness relieves anyone of the duty to believe and obey the Bible.

Help mobilize other pastors, churches, para-church organizations and city leaders into a united, local “Grass-Roots Spiritual-Political Corps” (GRSPC) within one’s own county or Congressional District to systematically and intentionally help bring about a Reformation in the Church and a Constitutional Rebuilding of our county, state and federal governments.

Farris has clearly been close enough to COR's founder, Jay Grimstead, to have edited his book, "The Christian World View of Law."

In addition to Farris' link to COR, there are strong links to Doug Phillips and his now defunct Vision Forum. Doug Phillips was a former lawyer with Farris' HSLDA and founded Vision Forum, which was funded in part by James Leininger (Texas Public Policy Foundation). Leininger was also a member at one time of Phillips' PCA affiliated church, Boerne Christian Assembly. Phillips, Farris and Leininger worked together on the production of the Christian movie, "Alone But Not Alone." Vision Forum, a resource for many homeschoolers, closed as a result of a Phillips infidelity scandal, but you can view some of their thinking here, as well as this information on one of his presentations at a 2009 Men's Leadership Summit from someone who was in attendance:

In some cases--with his copy of R.J. Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law, [for instance]--[I could] flip to the back cover and reveal notations on the date when he completed the first, second, and even third reading of the same book: "1976--Howard Phillips"; "1983--Howard Phillips." And I would see my father's notes. Here's the red pen that represents this reading, the blue pen that represents this reading. Here's the notes on the side of the page.

The mere presence of my father's library taught me to respect and love these important books, and it increased my respect for my father as a man.

Further analysis from the attendee:

Well, then he spoke of how he thought the homeschool movement is losing its bearings because--apparently--not enough of us have bought into the Rushdoony/North/VanTillian presuppositional approach to apologetics, and not enough people are writing books that deal with the fundamentals of educational philosophy, and--I gather, possibly most of all--because far too few of us express our love for Christ through outward obedience to God's Law-Word the way the Rushdoony/North/[Swanson/Phillips?] Postmillennial Dominionist/Reconstructionist theologians believe we ought.

Those of us who cooperate in any way with the public school system, too, have proven ourselves traitors to the cause. "We need to realize the state has zero jurisdiction in education." Apparently, if any of us does not take an aggressive stance against the public school system, or if any of us sense that there is any valid role for a state-run Child Protective Services: we have proven ourselves "enemy" to Phillips and his paisanos; we are on the wrong side; Phillips knows better: two key goals of the homeschool movement need to include the destruction of the entire government-run school system and the abolition of Child Protective Services. If you disagree; if your goals don't include these things: you are part of the problem and not the solution; you are causing the homeschool movement to lose its bearings.

If, in our families, Mom oversees the educational program: we are wrong. We are misleading our families and the homeschool movement as a whole.

If we attend or support or contribute to a church that offers a church-based or church-run school: we are wrong; we are placing the homeschool movement at grave risk.

If we prepare our daughters, potentially, to pursue some kind of professional service outside the home (what Phillips calls "careerism"); if we do not assume in their behalf--so that we prepare them solely to marry, bear children, and stay at home: then we are wrong, we are in sin, we are threatening the future of the homeschool movement, we have gotten ourselves involved in rebellious, feminist theology.

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Please keep in mind that some of those mentioned here would be considered to be at the more extreme level of dominionist thinking. There is an excellent broadcast from Janet Mefford here, explaining the different levels, which makes this very clear and is important to be aware of.

Although Farris and his associates may feel they are doing what is right for America, they do not represent mainstream Christian conservatives. Conservatives want to see more limited government, rule of law and the Constitution followed, religion respected and morality restored, but most conservatives have no desire for a theocracy in any form. The background of the Article V movement continues to cause concern about just what the end result could be, whether it could bend towards extremism from the Left or Right. Conservatives cannot blindly follow out of desperation for a solution with out digging deep to see who is pulling the strings behind any movement.

© 2014 Michelle Horstman- All Rights Reserved

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Michelle Horstman is a small business owner and mother of three, living in the Texas Hill Country. She has written for NewsRealBlog, PJ Media, Etc.




The currently ongoing Constitutional Convention - Article V movements have been an area of concern lately, as associations with the radical Left have been brought to light. These associations were attempted to be explained away by the head of the Convention of States, Michael Farris, as just good politics.