I really dont know what to make of this: this ia review of a new documentary: the link after one can view a trailer. Let me put it this way, i would NOT want to show friends who do not know Christ this film.
September 22, 2006
MOVIE REVIEW | 'JESUS CAMP'
Childrens Boot Camp for the Culture Wars
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Extreme liberals who look at this should be quaking in their boots, declares Pastor Becky Fischer with jovial satisfaction in the riveting documentary Jesus Camp. Ms. Fischer, an evangelical Christian, helps run Kids on Fire, a summer camp in Devils Lake, N.D., that grooms children to be soldiers in Gods army.
A mountainous woman of indefatigable good cheer, Ms. Fischer makes no bones about her expectation that the growing evangelical movement in the United States will one day end the constitutional ban separating church and state. And as the movie explores her highly effective methods of mobilizing Gods army, that expectation seems reasonable.
Ms. Fischer understands full well that the indoctrination of children when they are most impressionable (under 13 and preferably between 7 and 9) with evangelical dogma is the key to the movements future growth, and she compares Kids on Fire to militant Palestinian training camps in the Middle East that instill an aggressive Islamist fundamentalism. The term war, as in culture war, is repeatedly invoked to describe the fighting spirit of a movement already embraced by 30 million Americans, mostly in the heartland.
At Kids on Fire we see children in camouflage and face paint practicing war dances with wooden swords and making straight-armed salutes to a soundtrack of Christian heavy metal. We see them weeping and speaking in tongues as they are seized by the Holy Spirit. And we see them in Washington at an anti-abortion demonstration.
Filmed during the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the movie visits a church at which the congregation prays in front of a life-size cardboard cutout of President Bush. Justice Alitos eventual approval is hailed as another step forward in the movements eventual goal of outlawing abortion, the No. 1 issue on its agenda.
Jesus Camp is the second film by the documentary team of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady to explore the molding of young minds. The first, The Boys of Baraka, followed a group of at-risk African-American boys from a decaying Baltimore middle school to an austere wilderness school in rural Kenya. Removed from a toxic urban environment, they flourish, until tribal conflict in the region forces the school to suspend operation.
The majority of the children in Jesus Camp are home-schooled by evangelical parents who teach them creationism and dismiss science. Handsome 12-year-old Levi, who wears his hair in a mullet, is being groomed as a future evangelical preacher. Already exuding star quality, he strides through a group of children, waving his arms and mouthing dogma about how his generation is so important.
Pretty 10-year-old Tory speaks earnestly of dancing for God and not for the flesh. Nine-year-old Rachael is already an evangelical recruiter who fearlessly approaches adult strangers.
Ms. Fischer speaks of dead churches (traditional Protestant churches in which the congregations sit passively and listen to a sermon) and declares these are places that Jesus doesnt visit. In evangelical churches where people jump, shout, weep and speak in tongues, she contends, the spirit is present.
The great unanswered question is what will happen to these poised, attractive children when their hormones kick in and they venture beyond their sheltered home and church environments.
Jesus Camp includes one articulate and alarmed dissenting voice: Mike Papantonio, a talk show personality for Air America. A self-professed Christian of the dead church variety, he engages in a pointed but friendly debate with Ms. Fischer when she calls in to his show. But the only moment of real tension occurs during a side trip to a megachurch in Colorado Springs where the preacher Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (and a Bush friend), turns to address the camera in a tone of suspicion and hostility. It is the movies only glimpse of the evangelical movements ugly, vindictive side.
Jesus Camp doesnt pretend to be a comprehensive survey of the charismatic-evangelical phenomenon. It offers no history or sociology and only scattered statistics about its growth. It analyzes the political agenda only glancingly, centering on abortion but not on homosexuality or other items. Because it focuses on the education of children, Ms. Fischer speaks of the evils of Harry Potter. But there is no analysis of Biblical teaching nor mention of end times or the rapture.
Who would deny that the movements surging vitality is partly a response to the steady coarsening of mass culture, in which the dominant values are commercial and the worldview is Darwinian in its amorality? Spread globally by television, the least-common-denominator brand of secular humanism the evangelicals perceived enemy is indeed repugnant.
It wasnt so long ago that another puritanical youth army, Mao Zedongs Red Guards, turned the worlds most populous country inside out. Nowadays the possibility of a right-wing Christian American version of what happened in China no longer seems entirely far-fetched.
Jesus Camp is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Its frank discussion of politics and religion could upset