I've just finished watching one of the most disturbing documentaries ever produced. It's called 'Jesus Camp' (Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady/Magnolia) and deals with non-denominational ultra-fundamentalist Christian church groups and one of the bizarre, psychotic camps they send their children to for two weeks of intense brain washing. I label it as such as one who has been inside the ultra-fundamentalist Christian community and not as an outsider merely perplexed at practices or spiritual/religious activities foreign to me. Since I extricated myself from the ultra-fundamentalists some ten years ago, things have clearly gone from worse to abominable. Maybe Rosie O'Donnell wasn't being too radical when she said fundamentalist Christianity is as dangerous here in America as fundamentalist Islam is elsewhere in the world. And for me to cough up the slightest acknowledgement of a Rosie O'Donnell statement is really saying something, it barely makes it to the tips of my typing fingers without inducing a small stroke.
Let me say at the outset that there are many wonderful, inspiring, decent Christian camps for kids run by churches that are harmless, that foster intelligent inquiry and respect for the individual while instilling deeply cherished values. But what you will see in 'Jesus Camp' is so abusive, so cultic, so depraved you may not make it through the whole DVD. I had to stop it several times just to sigh and pray. You will see little children being indoctrinated with irrefutable mind control techniques and the use of emotional contagion and peer-group/group-think manipulations so dastardly, so underhanded and blatantly hypnotic that tears will likely come to your eyes, if rage doesn't settle in first.
about yucky boys and hopscotch, she's weighted down with
intense emotions and worry over 'the state of the nation' by
the Pastors' incessant political, apocalyptic ranting
"Harry Potter is an evil warlock and would've been
put to death in Old Testament times!"
were taped shut with red duct tape inscribed with the word LIFE
in part of a protest against abortion
The mixed ages of the children is one very disturbing element. Some are merely toddlers barely out of diapers, others are in their very early teens. Not every message is suitable for every age, but these unthinking yahoo's, propelled along by the 'The Spirit' (may God have mercy on them for grieving the blessed Spirit of grace and truth in claiming their own perverted emotional and political rants to be the same 'Spirit'), splatter the whole group with machine-gunned verbal assaults with no qualms about its effect on the littlest and most impressionable. You simply do NOT tell toddlers and little ones that Satan, an invisible but terrifyingly evil monster that personally knows them and watches them, is looking to destroy them! Little children cannot possibly rightly process such a message without trauma. And that trauma is more than abundantly evident in 'Jesus Camp.' Among these ultra-fundamentalists, 'The Spirit' is an excuse for every manner of bizarre behavior, most of which looks frighteningly similar to the kinds of twitching, jolting and bellowing seen among primitives involved in trance-inducing voodoo. None of it makes sense, nothing about it is remotely biblical or uplifting and most of the children are beet-red faced with distemper, exhausted emotionally, strained to tears and nowhere near coherent; The perfect state to implant very powerful directives at the subconscious level.
One little boy named Levi, who looked to be around 10, was a focus for the adult manipulators. It becomes evident in the documentary that he is being groomed to be a big mover and shaker in the years to come. At one point he is heard saying, "I don't like being around people who are non-Christian, it just makes me feel... gross...I feel bad inside... in my spirit." This boy doesn't know the real Jesus from a hole in the ground! And that is the essential point here -- there is no Jesus in Jesus Camp. There's everything BUT Jesus in Jesus Camp. Though His name is tacked onto everything and every sentence ends with his name being bandied about like a magic wand, the real Jesus Christ of the Gospels is entirely missing; his teachings, his truths clearly are abandoned for a new and better Jesus. A fighting Jesus. A Republican Neo-Con Jesus. A Jesus Dick Cheney could know and love and probably make a few 'bidniss' deals with. A Jesus that is red, white and blue, and no other colors have any meaning or significance. THIS Jesus doesn't ride a donkey, He rides an elephant! As Pastor Becky Fisher puts it (while comparing radical Islamic training of children to fundamentalist Christian training of children) "...the difference being, we're right and they're wrong." The bombs these children are being taught to strap on are bombs of polarization, exclusion, discrimination, xenophobia and these are sure to 'go off' at some point when they are older.
As a bible-believing Christian, this documentary made me want to puke. It is even more disheartening to know full well that the documentary itself will effect millions of people and their attitudes toward all Christians, unfortunately. If this is the backbone of the great cultural divide in this nation, we're in for some really nasty confrontations in the next twenty to fifty years. Who will OWN the Constitution and the nation? Radical ultra-fundamentalist Christian Neo-Cons or a thinking, responsible republic of fair-minded, rational and magnanimous people from all walks of life and every religious persuasion? That is what is on the table, when you hear Bill O'Reilly characterize his "Culture Warriors," the "traditionalists" vs the "SPs" (Secular Progressives). Bill doesn't realize that in his camp are some serious crazies and among the "traditionalists" are people who have zero comprehension of the Constitution, much less real conservative traditionalism. The Neo-Con-spiracy is one big, bad mother... and it has got to be opposed at every step. Right now, it's a lumbering, idiotic baby making a big stink. But given a few years and exposure to nuclear radiation, it will mutate into a Godzilla of political, social and spiritual tyranny that will make the Taliban and Sharia Law look like mere beatniks.
(Shortly after its release, the movie gained a new notoriety when Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who appears near the end of the film, resigned his post amid a male prostitute's allegations of drug use and sexual misconduct. - Amazon.com review)