Dr. Farris Appears on NPR’s “Fresh Air”
June 2nd, 2006
Dr. Farris Appears on NPR’s “Fresh Air”
F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E
June 22, 2006
In a wide-ranging, hour-long interview on National Public Radio’s daily “Fresh Air” magazine, May 24, outgoing Patrick Henry College President (soon-to-be Chancellor), Dr. Michael Farris, fielded a range of hot-button questions familiar to listeners on both sides of the cultural divide. Fresh Air is heard weekly by more than 4.5 million listeners, who immediately triggered a cascade of e-mail responses to the College from many who praised Dr. Farris's poise, eloquence, and command of the issues -- as well those from among NPR's core audience who found his conservative viewpoints disturbing. Hosted by Terry Gross, Fresh Air is the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of “contemporary arts and issues,” heard on more than 450 NPR stations worldwide and one of public radio’s most popular programs.
In their interview, Gross queried Farris on everything from the success of Patrick Henry College interns on Capitol Hill, (“Our students are bright, hardworking kids who aren't afraid to get in there and do the grunt work,” said Dr. Farris); to the College’s emerging role in higher education, (“The Left dominates the world of higher education in this country," he explained, "and colleges as a whole are so far left wing that somebody’s got to be able to give a contrary viewpoint. Patrick Henry College is an important component to bringing diversity to the nation’s colleges.”)
The hour of lively give-and-take also touched on such emotionally charged issues as gay rights, homosexual marriage, prospects for a Federal Marriage Amendment, and PHC’s pointed mission of raising up Christian men and women to engage, and impact, the culture for Christ.
“Do you think America should be a Christian nation and subscribe to the biblical worldview that your college does?” Gross asked.
“The term ‘Christian nation” as we define it today, as a generally vague idea of a Christian culture with a basic moral structure, is not what 'Christian nation' meant at the time of our country’s founding,” Farris explained. “America was founded as a free nation by Christian dissenters who suffered at the hands of those who believed that everyone must subscribe to a particular brand of Christianity. They fought for a freedom in which everyone of every faith is free to worship God however they want, and to freely bring those values into the political realm. That’s the kind of Christian nation we’re espousing -- the kind our Christian forefathers in this country embraced.”
To Gross's questions about PHC's Honor Code, which states, among other things, that in addition to refraining from profanity, pornography, premarital sex, and alcohol, students are asked to seek parental approval for romantic relationships, Farris responded: "That is a statement of altruism, rarely enforced unless we get a parental complaint, that arises out of a belief that romance isn't a recreational activity -- it's serious business. The Bible teaches that romance connected to marriage is wonderful, but that romance just for recreation is often destructive to many lives. What we're really saying is that we want our young people to be talking to their parents about the most important decision they may make in college -- and that's 'Who do I marry.'"
Other topics included the distinctive qualities, doctrine, honor code, and statement of faith that sets Patrick Henry College apart, the role of faith in the public square, the debate surrounding evolution vs. intelligent design, the real meaning of “tolerance vs. liberty” and “freedom of speech vs. freedom of behavior” in the marketplace of ideas, as well as the reasons and impact of the exploding home schooling movement.
In response to the interview, one listener wrote: "I don't normally listen to very many NPR programs because of their liberal views, but when I heard the first question or two that were asked of you, and your answers, I couldn't turn it off. I was mesmerized by the way you never swayed from your base platform even though you did answer her 'loaded' questions. Please accept my compliments for your great interview."
Another added: "Amazing interview, I loved it. Mr. Farris expressed so well what many of us believe and (yet) no one listens. Thank God he was on NPR where the liberal world could hear him. I pray that God will use that interview to turn the hearts of Americans to the truth."
To listen to the full hour of this fascinating and fast-paced Q&A, please click on the following streaming audio link to NPR’s broadcast of Fresh Air.