"I want to see them laying their lives down for the Bible"

I posted the trailer for Jesus Camp a little over a month ago and was finally able to watch the film that has been winning "scariest film" awards at various film festivals. The film has garnered much media attention the past couple of weeks due in part to its controversial representation of the Christian Evangelical movement in America, the brainwashing of the youth, and its influence on right wing political agenda.

Interestingly enough, the attention given by the media has shown mixed reaction from the Evangelical movement on the film. Pastor Ted Haggard has lambasted the movie for its demonization of the Christian right, while Becky Fischer, the children's pastor in the film, has praised the film's portrayal of her Christian youth camp. In the film, Becky Fischer points out the terrified reactions that secular progressives might have when seeing the fanatacism of the children in her camp, but notes that it shows the power and importance of her Evangelical movement towards the youth.

Throughout the film, I was one of those secular progressives watching with a "what the fcuk is going on with these wackos" look on my face, as seven year olds are on their knees crying and repenting for watching Harry Potter and reading about warlocks, a white boy reflects on his decision to be saved when he was five years old because he "wanted more from life," and an entire ministry follows the female pastor and begin to speak in tongues. The way the children become taught to have only one way of thinking and believing, rejecting nearly anything to do with science and all that has to do with evolution, is frightening. These children are told of the importance of their generation and how they are the key to bringing Christian salvation to the sinful world of non-believers who will all be condemned to hell if they do not become "born again."

"Their" generation is to spread the word of Jesus. Though, at times it seams as though, the words of peace and acceptance spoken by Jesus become overlooked for a more condescending and condeming belief. This belief also aims to assure a stronghold on American politics for the Christian right and to institute their religious beliefs within government.

One of the fundamental ideals that this country was built upon was the need for the separation of church and state. When the church and state become too intertwined, tyranny of (a) certain religion(s) may take power and suppress all that don't hold on to the same beliefs. Take a look at countries that do not have such a secular state (ie: Afghanistan, Iran, etc) and see how oppressive the insitution becomes when the separation of church and state are not clear.

While there is a specificity of Christian and Muslim religions in the discussion of religion and secular governments, it goes beyond the two groups. Religion can serve a positive role in society, but one must see the dangers that exist when religious dogmas become perverted, corrupted, and imposed upon a population.

The indoctrination of children, who are never allowed to socialize with other youth, who may hold differing views, due to homeschooling, is all the more frightening when they are being shaped to follow the path of the reactionary right. A wing of hypocrites who fail to even hold onto their own moral high grounds. If the movie shows the viewer anything, it should illuminate us to hold a more cautious eye towards this wing and the influence that is yielded over it from a group that seeks only to desingrate the civil liberties of the country.

"We're being trained to be God's army" - Levi, kid with the ill duck tale hair cut


Blogger andres said...

damn, whats been going on since i left?!

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