Camp Fear

A few nights ago, I watched Jesus Camp, a documentary by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady about a Christian training camp for children in North Dakota. The preacher and her crew use metaphors of war and fear to ignite passion and political fervor in this veritable army of tiny preachers, evangelists, and religious warriors. It is far more disturbing than any of the horror films I’ve seen lately, including the camping themed Friday the 13th, The Blair Witch Project, and Sleepaway Camp.

The most astonishing scenes are the children’s veneration at the feet of a life size cardboard likeness of smiling George Bush, as though he were Jesus himself and the children the original mourners; and the rapture of young children who babble in tongues and convulse on the floor – faces streaming with tears. The children in the film are bright, but terribly sheltered and warned against the wrongs of science, and there is not much choice offered in this ideological path.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a film that had to be paused so often for discussion. Fortunately the rental allowed this punctuated viewing. The indoctrination and mis-education of children under the age of 13 by their parents and others in positions of trust and power, in the name of “taking back America for Jesus” (as if that were conceptually possible), is heartbreaking. The film is inherently objective and non-judgmental, a generosity on the part of its filmmakers.

2 Responses to “Camp Fear”

  1. Beckley Says:

    Scary, scary film. The discussion it prompted was great though.

    Did you know that less than 2 months after the film’s release, Ted Haggard (the guy who ran the mega-church in Colorado Springs) was caught having sex with homosexual prostitutes and using crystal meth? No lie.

  2. admin Says:

    No, but I did read that he was the only person in the film who complained about his portrayal, especially the comment he himself made that (to paraphrase) when the Evangelicals vote, they choose the president.

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