Constitution Day 2011

We held our Constitution Day commemoration yesterday at Southeastern. Each year I’m responsible for bringing in a special speaker to draw the students’ attention not only to the historic event itself, but to the principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and how they should be carried out in our nation.

We were privileged to have with us this year Dr. Michael Farris, who is, in my view, one of the best, if not the best, constitutional lawyers and scholars to be found anywhere. As founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College, he has been in the forefront of alternative education for over thirty years. Through his efforts, parents who desire to homeschool their children can now do so without penalty in all fifty states. Students at Patrick Henry College, where I used to teach, have shown themselves to be of the highest quality anywhere in the country. Mike has developed an exceptionally strong moot court program; students enter those competitions and win the highest awards. I recall when I was at PHC that a moot court team there went to Oxford and beat the Oxford team.

His chapel message was “The Battle for the Bible and the Bill of Rights,” showing how the development of the English Bible led to our concepts of self-government and liberty of conscience, the latter enshrined in the First Amendment. Then he held court, so to speak, in a Q&A session for over an hour, offering Southeastern students and other visitors from the community his analysis of various constitutional controversies raging today and revealing how if we would only retain the original meaning of the words in the Constitution, most of our most harrowing problems would be solved.

I was particularly pleased that the local homeschooling community was well represented at these sessions. In fact, approximately half the audience for the Q&A was comprised of homeschooling parents and their children. I want them to know that Southeastern is a place where they are appreciated and welcomed. I’m hoping that some of those sharp homeschoolers will one day decide to be in the ranks of our history and government majors.