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Michael Farris is leaving the Convention of States to head up the Alliance Defending Freedom

It is with both sadness and great excitement that I announce that Mike Farris, my co-founder of the Convention of States Project, and one of my closest friends is moving on to a new endeavor as the President, CEO and General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, the world’s premiere defender of religious freedom. 

Mike Farris is a visionary patriot, and without him, the Convention of States Project would never have been launched.  Much like the homeschool movement in America, which he championed through Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and Patrick Henry College, which he founded, COS was an idea hatched from the visionary mind of Michael Farris.  And much like those important projects which have continued to grow and thrive as Michael has moved onto other things, the Convention of States Project will continue to do the same.

As the co-founder of this movement, and a dear friend, Mike remains available to provide guidance and advice as needed.  He and I communicate regularly, and I will continue to call on his experience and wisdom as the Convention of States Project moves forward. 

Today, over 2.1 million Convention of States activists are in the field representing every state legislative district in the nation.  So far, 8 states have passed the COS resolution, and this year it will be pending in 37 state legislatures.  While Mike moves on to focus on the fight for religious liberty all over the world, the Convention of States Project will continue to fight for all of our liberties right here at home, in all fifty states.

The nation is forever indebted to Mike Farris for his vision and commitment to liberty, in all its forms.  When the history of this time period is written, no doubt, he will have his own chapter.  For Mike’s full statement on his new position, see his Facebook post.

This is the biggest announcement that I have ever made on Facebook—or really anywhere.

As of this morning, I have become the President, CEO, and General Counsel of Alliance Defending freedom—the largest and most highly respected advocacy organization in the nation—indeed in the world—dedicated to the preservation of religious freedom, human life, and a godly definition of marriage.

The core reason that I accepted this position—after being sought out by ADF—was my assessment of the state of religious freedom in our nation and around the globe.

The cultural, media, legal, and political elites are seeking to silence a true and robust protection for the fundamental right of religious freedom. The elites want to selectively silence those voices of faith with whom they disagree.

While today’s battleground has many manifestations, the real battle is the right to preach the Gospel and live the Gospel. This is the true motivation of the attacks being leveled against religious freedom by those who have cast aside any pretense of embracing the original meaning of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Becoming the CEO of an organization as large as Alliance Defending Freedom necessarily requires me to set aside my current portfolio of activity.

I am retiring from the staff of Home School Legal Defense Association but I will remain with HSLDA as a member of its board of directors. So to, I will remain on the board of trustees of Patrick Henry College. And in the fall of 2018, it is my plan to return in a limited role as a professor to teach one section of constitutional law and help coach the moot court team.

For the Convention of States, an innovative effort to rein in the abuse of power by the federal government, I am retiring from my role as a Senior Advisor.

I have not had a change of heart concerning any of these organizations or causes. On the contrary. I believe in each of them as fervently as the day I helped launch these endeavors. Actually, it is my total faith in the current leadership of each of these groups that gives me the liberty of spirit to pursue this clear calling of God.

Mike Smith is and has been a superb leader of HSLDA for decades. Jack Haye, is fairly new as President of Patrick Henry College, but for 15 years before assuming that role, he was our Chairman of the Board of Trustees. I have full confidence that Jack will continue to grow and lead PHC in absolute faithfulness to the original vision. And my new, but dear friend, Mark Meckler, is one of the most talented visionaries I have ever met. He will lead the Convention of States to success in the very near future.

But God has clearly called me back to my first love—the defense of religious freedom and the protection of human life and the family. He has also allowed me the privilege of working on behalf of freedom around the world—a cause that has captured my attention and efforts—in various ways for many years.

Alliance Defending Freedom has a tremendous program of training young people headed to positions of leadership in the law. Many of my students from Patrick Henry College have benefitted from the Blackstone Fellowship for law students and the Arete Academy for undergraduates.

I have been privileged and blessed to have experience in every single aspect of the ministry of ADF.

My wife, who is fully in support of this move, believes that I have been in training for this job for decades. She says it is the perfect fit.

This new position will require us to divide our time between Scottsdale, Arizona and our current home in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. It is the right stage of life for us to do this—although with my wife’s health struggles, it is not without sacrifice despite the delightful allure of Arizona in the wintertime.

I would ask all of my friends to visit the website of Alliance Defending Freedom and to sign up to receive regular information. You can click here.

I want you to know the tremendously important battles that we are engaged in but even more I want to solicit your well-informed prayers.

We must preserve the right to preach the Gospel and to live the Gospel—every day of the week and in every walk of life.

Thanks so much for your prayers and support.