Jesus Camp.. Not A Review..
This is a documentary that we have wanted to watch for a year. There was a chance to do just that last Spring which is when we first heard of it. The tiny town of
A bit about the documentary..
Theatrical: Sep 15, 2006
Video: Jan 23, 2007
A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in
JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's
I have to say I was chilled to the bone after seeing this documentary, and it is a wake up call to those of us who think that what some on the evangelical right do does not affect us. The mere apathy of a lot of citizens in my country who do not vote or follow politics always amazes me.
The directors follow mostly three evangelical Christian kids (Levi, Rachael and Tory) from
Becky Fisher reminded me of the dogmatic people that can often be found in any religion around the world. That she does not advocate violence does not necessarily make her better than those that do. I think she does something far more insidious, and that is indoctrination (call it brain washing if you will) of mere children. It reminded me of those madarssas or religious schools out in other parts of the world, which as often criticized by folks here (often rightly so). They however forget that often in regions with grinding poverty where the government has abdicated its role, religious schools like these with free board and food must seem tempting to some.
Not to digress here but one of the reasons Becky uses to justify the existence of the summer camp and her indoctrination is that out in the middle east, kids are being trained as suicide bombers.
So we are doing this?
This is merely a way to create an army of evangelical Christian children if you will, that will be then work their way up through society, aided by the network of some evangelical churches, organizations, think tanks and radio talk shows that will help “insert” them in to positions of power in the legislative as well a the judicial branch. What better way to go about accomplishing the task? This film documents in detail where this process begins.
It is alarming to watch Levi talk about how his generation will be key to the return of Jesus or of Rachael talk with the righteousness of a true believer as she passes out literature to people she meets on the street or in the mall. There is this scene where this blonde woman in a mall/store and receives this literature from her and her expression of bemusement says it all.
There are several scenes that stay with you.
This one made me shake my head. Becky prays over the PC so that the powerpoint presentation does not crash and that there is no power failure. This is attributed to the devil, wanting to disrupt things. Nice eh?
Becky says she want the kids to be radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan, Isreal, Plaestine and all those other other places.. she says “excuse me but we have the truth!”
She says “Let’s talk this week about how the devil tries to destroy our lives, by tempting us with sin…”
Levi says “I got saved when I was five”
At one point there is a presentation when a cut out of “dear leader” GW Bush, is brought in to the summer camp. And there is this disturbing scene where all the adults and the kids pray over (not pray to) the cut out of dubya. This was around the time of the nomination of Samuel Alito to our supreme court, and you watch as the speaker has the kids crying out and reaching a crescendo of chants of “Righteous Judges”.
Becky makes a statement when she is challenged by Mike Papantonio (an attorney and a radio talk-show host for Air America Radio's Ring of Fire and one of the few saner voices in this film), she essentially says that our system of democracy is going to destroy itself since we have to give everyone equal freedoms!!!!
It is also bizarre to see the kids as they go in to a trance and speak in tongues.
I had to laugh when Levi goes to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to hear its renowned pastor, Ted Haggard. As some of you may recall Haggard became embroiled in a high-profile scandal involving homosexual prostitution and methamphetamine use.
I think the documentary succeeds since it manages to capture the emotions, the earnestness and the certainty of true believers. It was a visceral experience to watch, and although there are times I laughed aloud at the absurdity of some of the things I saw, I realized what we are up against. I did not think the documentary is biased as a few have surmised. And by no means are the folks in this feature representative of the many evangelical Christians or Christians by and large who practice their faith without feeling the need that the laws of their faith should form the foundation to run
The documentary reaffirmed for me the need to be aware and stay involved in following the state of affairs of this nation. It also tells me why I need to vote in every election and push back wherever I can against the forces of intolerance and those that want to take this country away from being a nation of laws to one that would be governed by “Christian” laws.
I recommend watching this film, it is an eye opener to parts of