Farris, an attorney, formed the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) to wage state-by-state court battles for the right to opt out of public education and abolish child-protection laws that the homeschooling movement viewed as state intrusion and a threat to certain tough-love forms of discipline.

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He’d caught something on the monitors: the dim glow of brake lights, out there in the darkness. Fisher and his partner headed out past the dorms, to the fields near the entry. With just more than 320 current students and 590 graduates to date, Patrick Henry is a tiny school with an outsized influence as a training ground for the religious right and a pipeline to conservative jobs in Washington.

By the time they arrived, the car was gone, and Claire Spear was lying in a field. The Bush-era White House had about as many interns from PHC as Georgetown, the journalist Hanna Rosin wrote in her 2007 book, .

There was grass in her long, red hair, and she was crying. Students in the school’s Strategic Intelligence Program can graduate with security clearances from their summer internships, making PHC a feeder school for the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency, various branches of the military, and intelligence contractors.

Many students go there with dreams of becoming a senator or the Supreme Court justice who helps overturn The founder of Patrick Henry College, Michael Farris, came to prominence in the early ’80s as the head of the Washington state branch of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority.

In those days, home-schooling was illegal in most states.

But within some conservative evangelical circles, the practice took off.

Under their own roofs, the thinking went, parents wouldn’t have to worry about their children being inundated with evolutionary theories or arguments in favor of abortion.

It was the first weekend of May 2010—a time when students at other universities were partying before finals.

This, however, was Patrick Henry College (PHC), the elite evangelical school better known as “God’s Harvard.” Here, in sleepy Purcellville, Virginia, instead of police officers or rent-a-cops, the security guards were all upperclassmen. Adam picked Claire up and carried her back across campus to the dorms.