One of the most powerful figures in the Christian Right is someone who isn’t often in the spotlight.
Michael P. Farris is the founder of Patrick Henry college, a fundamentalist school that makes Liberty U. look downright liberal; he founded the Home School Legal Defense Association, which essentially works to block governments from having oversight of homeschooling families, allowing abuse to thrive; he’s the chief executive of Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing legal group that opposes abortion rights and LGBTQ rights; his daughter’s “courtship” was even featured in a pro-abstinence book written by Joshua Harris.
Think of all the “culture war” issues over the past few decades and the odds are pretty good that Farris played a role on the Christian side.
But the New York Times is now reporting that Farris played another important role last year: He tried to help Donald Trump overturn the election results.
[Farris] circulated a detailed draft of the lawsuit that Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, ultimately filed against states including Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin in an effort to help President Donald J. Trump remain in office.
Mr. Farris’s involvement in the effort, which has not previously been reported, came as part of a broad push by religious conservatives to get Mr. Trump re-elected. Their role intensified after the pandemic hit in early 2020 and states began to loosen absentee ballot rules, which the religious conservatives feared would lead to a surge in participation by liberal voters.
Like so many other conservative evangelicals, Farris publicly opposed Trump where there were other Republicans running in the 2016 presidential primary, but he was willing to become a MAGA cultist in exchange for conservative judges and Trump’s constant lip service to white evangelicals. It’s not like Farris was ever going to care about Trump’s racism, anti-immigration rhetoric, COVID-mishandling, etc. His whole persona is being a Christian, not a decent human being.
And Farris went so far down the rabbit hole, he was willing to use his training to help Trump lie his way back into office by claiming there were enough anomalies in the election that the results in several states could be overturned. That’s where his Bible-based “morality” led him. He’s a deeply unethical person who’s coasted by on the idea that he’s a Good Christian™.
Farris has spent his entire career making things worse for the country while elevating his particular brand of conservative Christianity. Nothing’s changed in that regard. All we know now is that he’s also willing to screw over our democracy to get what he wants. And the Christians closest to him are either fully on board with that or lack the courage to call him out on it.