- 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.
Emotionally distraught children -- When she should be thinking
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
- Now, I realize a great many of these people sincerely
believe everything they are doing is not only "for God," but
is the very "will of God." But it is simply a fact of life that
religion -- any religion -- has the capacity for a level of human abuse
so far above and beyond the norm that it is paramount that we all remain
highly vigilant in watching out for the church-turned-cult, and especially
for the sake of the children involved... children who know no better, who
are absolute innocents, so easily manipulated and molded. When I see some
bloated, boisterous, verbrato-laden preacher lording it over 5-10 year
olds sending them into a hysterical frenzy of tears and anguish telling
them they have sinned, I want to come up out of the my seat and take the
rope of Jesus in the temple and lash that wicked false prophet within an
inch of his/her life. There is nothing more despicable and devious than
to monkey with the minds and emotions of little children (Jesus said "the
Kingdom of Heaven belong[ed] to ones such as these"!) for ones own
twisted cause, desired outcome or benefit. And that is precisely what these
"counselors" and preachers at 'Jesus Camp' do, with delighted,
obscene abandon, rousing their "army for Jesus" as they called
this group of 100+ children cloistered away in the camp.
- What was even more disturbing was to see many of the
parents of these poor kids there in attendance with them, participating
and involving themselves in the mass mind control, and subsequent at-home
interviews revealing their complete commitment to this kind of psychotic
manipulation; they themselves have been likewise brainwashed into submission
to this radically irresponsible, dangerous neo-Christianity.
- Perhaps the most disturbing moment
was when one of the camp counselors brought out a life size cardboard popup
of George W. Bush. and stood it in the pulpit, a waving American flag graphic
projected behind him, saying "Here's President Bush, come to visit
us...!" and then calling the children to come forward and touch his
likeness, "pray over him! Make warfare over him" (note: to those
not familiar with certain fundamentalist colloquialisms, "warfare"
is in reference to the Apostle Paul's admonition "For we wrestle not
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness
in high places," and "For the weapons of our warfare are not
carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds"
speaking of spiritual warfare -- prayer and intercession). Little children
clamor and cluster at the feet of this cutout, straining to touch it like
the woman with the issue of blood in the Gospels reaching to touch the
hem of Jesus' garment. Though the weapons of their warfare are not carnal,
there is no lack of the use of utterly carnal, even military symbolisms.
In one scene several children had devised a 'dance' to go along with some
Christian Heavy Metal music, clad in fatigues and faces painted in camo,
brandishing fighting sticks which they were thrusting and flailing about,
shouting "War! Warfare!" The girls in the group had war-paint
faces and wore black.
- 'Pastor' Becky Fisher and her oft pointing finger
"Harry Potter is an evil warlock and would've been
put to death in Old Testament times!"
- Pastor Becky Fisher, the master manipulator of this sect,
is a frighteningly twisted character. The look in her eyes is overwhelmingly
dark as she gazes out over the sea of little faces weeping and travailing
and cackling in 'tongues' as she stirs her 'army' to frenzy, fear and then
utter fanaticism. This significantly rotund woman has the audacity at one
point to admonish the children for not having the strength of faith to
fast, even mentioning a 40 day fast. If this woman fasted two hours she'd
likely faint and then rise up and personally demolish a Dairy Queen. The
hypocrisy is simply revolting.
- One of the twisted 'methods' at Jesus Camp, mouths
were taped shut with red duct tape inscribed with the word LIFE
in part of a protest against abortion
- There are no ifs, ands or buts in this documentary, the
people involved say plainly they are raising up, indoctrinating and forming
a generation of "Conservative Christian Republicans" -- WE know
them as 'Neo-cons.' In one scene they bring the children to such an emotional
mania over abortion that one could clearly argue that this is as much child-abuse
as taking a child into a porno flick.
- 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)
- And now, the good news....
- Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003365311_jesuscamp08.html