Generation Joshua (Often called "GenJ" by its members) is an American Christian youth organization founded in 2003 that aims to encourage young people to learn about and become involved in government, history, civics, and politics.
Generation Joshua is a division of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and is based in Purcellville, Virginia which is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization.
Generation Joshua seeks to educate students on the history and founding of the United States of America, while also providing hands-on opportunities for students to be involved in government and politics today. To this end, the organization provides civics education classes, a book club program, and bi-weekly current events chats to educate their members about the history and founding of the nation. Generation Joshua also seeks to promote activism opportunities for members through local clubs, voter registration drives, and Student Action Teams, where the students campaign for political candidates.The organization also offers a college scholarship program, called the Ben Rush Awards Program, where students participate in civic involvement to earn money for college.
Generation Joshua campaigns solely for conservative candidates who support pro-life and otherwise socially conservative platforms. The group's focus on youth has led some critics to characterize its mission as making "Christian nationalism palatable to the MTV generation".
Generation Joshua's name is taken from the Biblical character Joshua, who led the nation of Israel after Moses.
Generation Joshua provides five major programs to members. The divisions include: the Civics Education program, local GenJ clubs, Student Action Teams, the Voter Registration Initiative, and the Benjamin Rush Awards Program. In addition to these, it offers three political simulation camps (called "iGovern" camps) during the summer.
Generation Joshua offers members 11 online civics classes. Students may work on each course at their own pace. Each class has between four and ten lessons, with a quiz accompanying each lesson. A list of online classes includes:
- Campaign School: Successful Campaigning
- Revolutionary War Era Sermons
- The Federalist Papers
- Democracy in America
- The Great Awakening
- Constitutional Convention
- America's Founding Documents
- Founding Fathers I, II and III
In addition to the online classes, Generation Joshua also offers a book club for nine months out of the year. Students are encouraged to read an assigned book, participate in discussion about the book, and write a reflective essay on the book, which will then be graded by a Generation Joshua staff member.
Generation Joshua has over 65 local clubs (as of 2008). At GenJ Club meetings, usually once a month, at least 10 times per year, members discuss current events with a Biblical perspective, listen to a special speaker, pray for the nation and its leaders, and organize local activism. The clubs are governed by Robert's Rules of Order and are led by a President and other officers. The clubs are made up of, not only homeschoolers, but private and public schoolers also.
Student Action Teams
Generation Joshua, a division of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), involves its members in partisan activities thru HSLDA PAC. Typically in each election year, 25-100 volunteers are deployed to selected races of endorsed conservative candidates. In 2006, HSLDA PAC deployed more than 1000 individuals on the Student Action Teams. 2006 Student Action Teams Report.
Voter Registration Initiative
The Voter Registration Initiative encourages Generation Joshua members register people to vote in upcoming elections. According to Generation Joshua, “voter registration efforts can greatly impact the outcome of… election[s].” In 2008 Generation Joshua launched a special voter registration program, where participants who register voters in Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Virginia will be eligible to win prizes.
Benjamin Rush Awards Program
The Ben Rush Awards Program runs from January through October each year and encourages students to become active politically to earn scholarships for college. Students are asked to write letters to their elected officials, write letters to the editor, register voters, participate in the organization’s online civics curriculum, and volunteer to work on a political campaigns. Through participation in the program, students can earn different levels of achievement. The Statesman Award gives winners an all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C., a $1,000 scholarship, and prizes worth up to $300. The signer Award gives students a $750 scholarship and up to $200 in prizes. Winners of the Patriot award receive a $500 scholarship and prizes up to $100. The lowest two levels Citizen and Activist receive no college scholarship money but receive up to $100 in prizes.
A big part of Generation Joshua is the three iGovern camps (iGovern East, iGovern West, and iGovern Pacific). At the start of the camp, each individual is in one of three categories -- a Representative, a Senator, or an ambassador to a foreign country. The office of the President is also occupied by a student but is reserved for the individual who was elected the previous year. During camp, the students have the opportunity to elect another student as President after a week of campaigning and pass legislation through their respective committees and houses of Congress. There is also a scenario that forces students to interact with a specific political topic (e.g. immigration).
Relation To HSLDA
GenJ's national offices are at the Home School Legal Defense Association, which is also the campus of Patrick Henry College. Michael Smith, president of the group's parent organization, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association sees Generation Joshua as part of a larger movement. By training students (often homeschoolers) in the principles of conservative Christian political views and encouraging them to be active politically, Generation Joshua seeks to fundamentally influence the next generation's involvement in government. Many of these students go on to enter conservative colleges such as Patrick Henry College, (also founded by the HSLDA) where they will learn to "restore a moral framework and return America to its founding principles".
- Patrick Henry College
- Home School Legal Defense Association
- National Christian Forensics and Communications Association
- Michael Smith, "A new generation of moral leadership.", The Washington Times, http://www.washingtontimes.com/metro/20050522-110120-9031r.htm 23 May 2005.
- "What is Generation Joshua?",Generationjoshua.org, http://www.generationjoshua.org/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=244 2006.
- "Contributions" Generationjoshua.org. http://www.generationjoshua.org/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=35 Accessed 3 October 2006.
- "Join", Generationjoshua.org, http://www.generationjoshua.org/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=23 Accessed 3 October 2006.
- "Student Action Teams", Generationjoshua.org, http://www.generationjoshua.org/dnn/Experience/TheFutureofAmerica/SATFAQs/tabid/576/Default.aspx Accessed 17 July 2014.
- Russel Cobb, "Cracks in the Christian Ascendancy: Why it's too soon to panic about an American theocracy.", Slate, http://www.slate.com/id/2144522/ June 27, 2006.
- "East Tennessee teens mix politics with prayer.", NBC WBIR, http://www.wbir.com/life/programming/local/liveatfive/story.aspx?storyid=32295 28 February 2006.