DONT MISTAKE JESUS CAMP FOR GODSPELL
Jesus Camp is one of 2006s most terrifying films even though its not a thriller.
In fact, its a purely observational documentary one that serves as a galvanizing cautionary revelation about Evangelical indoctrination of children in heartland America.
Framed by Justice Sandra Day OConnors resignation and confirmation of ultraconservative Samuel Alito as her successor, we witness home-schooled preteens, Levi (12), Rachael (9) and Victoria (10) delivered by their Evangelical parents unto Bible camp at Devils Lake, ND, where Pentecostal Childrens Minister Becky Fischer hooks them up (her words) with Jesus. While prepping camp, Fischer actually admonishes the devil not to disable auditorium lights. She boasts she can have kids saved in minutes because theyre so open and comments theyre so useful to Christianity. Scared yet? Wait til ya meet the kids. Levi, saved at age five, knows Creationisms the only possibility and science doesnt prove anything. Rachael thinks martyrdoms really cool. Victoria owns guilt about dancing for the flesh, which leads to damnation. Worse, these and other campers are conditioned to believe theyre soldiers of God ready to die for Jesus. Fischer preaches about how Al Qaedas kids fast, bare arms, sacrifice themselves for Islam warning kids what Christian Americas up against. Juxtapose such fear-invoking propaganda with theyre so useful to Christianity statements and draw your own conclusions. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady dont preach. To their credit, Jesus Camp is so devoid of Michael Moore-ishness, youre not sure where their beliefs lie. Fischer may think Jesus Camp glorifies her. The film gives statistics: 75% of home-schooled children are Evangelicals, 43% of Evangelicals were saved before age 13, 25% of our population or 80-million people are Evangelicals. But theres only one opposing presence, Christian talk radio host Michael Papantonio, who expresses alarm about Evangelical fanaticism, as he chats with callers and conducts on-air discourse with Fischer during which she asserts her programs apolitical. Apolitical? Why, then, are campers instructed to pray in tongues over a cardboard cutout of GW? And why stir them into such frenzied chanting about banning abortion and creating a Christian America that they enter trance-like states, some falling convulsively to the floor? These hair-raising moments are reminiscent of scenes from Arthur Millers The Crucible. Think about the ending of that cautionary tale while watching Levi receive preacher-to-preacher advice from Ted Haggard, Evangelical pastor to 30-million people, who frequently visits GW, assails homosexuality and boasts he has the numbers to elect our government. If you care about our civil rights and democracy, you must see Jesus Camp and let it open your eyes to whats happening on our home front.