I'm so scared: Jesus Camp and the Evangelical insanity

We’re living in a society in which the barrier between church and state is wavering. Our president is an openly religious man, who tends to put the Bible before our nation’s constitution when making decisions. The neo-Conservative movement is in full swing, backed by the millions of Evangelical Christians thriving in the South and Mid-West. Slowly but surely, brick by brick, the wall between God and our nation’s capital is being torn down.

So, as a Liberally-minded young man, “Jesus Camp” is a truly terrifying film. Like, a so-scary-you-poop-your-pants type movie. And this isn’t a review so much as it’s me heartily voicing my disgust.

I happen to hold quite a few reservations concerning organized Christianity. As a lifelong churchgoer, I’m not exactly in favor of the current Christian mentality, particularly as far as Evangelicals go. It’s become less about peace and love and more about judgment and victory over others, and the Evangelical movement is responsible for a great rift in our society.

Nothing in this world has portrayed this rift better than “Jesus Camp,” a documentary about children who attend an evangelical extremist bible camp.

A large, spiky-haired, terrifyingly narrow-minded woman named Becky Fischer heads the camps. Throughout the film, she makes allusions to Islam, and how they begin teaching their children to fight for their God at an early age. Children from all over the country gather in August for her camp, for a week of preaching, professions and relative brainwashing.

Yes, brainwashing.

These children are herded into auditoriums by their parents and church leaders. They’re informed that they are soldiers in God’s “army” and that they must wage “war” in order to retake America from the “enemy” ( the enemy, to clarify, includes Democrats and any non-Christian religion).

So much for love thy neighbor, huh?

The children cry, speak in tongues, fall to their knees and confess their sins out loud. These are children, no older than 10 or 11. What heinous sins do they have to confess? They traded their Lunchable for a slice of leftover pizza even after their mom told them not to? Or maybe they pushed a girl at recess? Why should they be told that they must be prepared to die for the glory of God? It’s truly horrifying.

And the parents sit by and watch, beaming with pride as their 8-year-old daughter convulses on the floor, speaking in tongues, “possessed” by the Holy Sprit.

In one of the most unabashedly disturbing scenes, the children, now completely and utterly brainwashed, bow down and worship a cardboard cutout of George Bush, tears streaming down their face. The Bush cutout stares lifelessly out at them as they pray before him.

For me, “Jesus Camp” was one of the most psychologically jarring experiences I’ve had in a long while. I always assumed that such militant, close-minded idealism didn’t have a place in the ideology of Christianity. But here’s these young, innocent children, conditioned to think just like their church leaders and stripped of their free will, dancing about with painted faces for the glory of God.

I fear for the future of this country with maniacal groups like these running about, with enough power and influence to swing any vote. It’s petrifying to even imagine. Because they’re all required to think alike, act alike and vote alike, their sheer numbers could determine any election.

It’s the stuff of nightmares, it truly is. It’s bad for America, and it’s bad for Christianity.

Oh, happy February, everyone.


  1. I really want to see "Jesus Camp"... but I'm also quite terrified. Now even more so, after reading this. I really liked the thought of Jesus Camp more when it was just like... making beaded necklaces with Jesusfish on 'em.

    Can't we go back to that?

  2. Happy February indeed.
    Something as powerful as this, covertly enlisting our youth in the 'fight against the enemy' seems to be eliciting two reactions - complete wonder and complete horror. People either adore it or they abhor it. They either blink in hate or think it's great. I'm sure I could keep rhyming, but I'll spare you.
    I am of neither persuasion - or more accurately, I am of both persuasions. I denounce church (not God; I believe myself to be a Christian) because my relationship with the triumvirate of deities needs no middle(wo)man. But a part of me ponders as to how it must feel for someone to believe so wholeheartedly and to love God and let Him into his/her life.
    So in a way, this film is a horrifying tale of manipulation and crusadism (made that up on the spot - crafty, eh?), but in another light, it is an encouraging and uplifting story of how adding a meaning to your life can humble and awe us all to glory.
    Mind you, I'm completely serious. Everyone I've talked to about it is freaked out; "Oh, the children deserve better than that." "Damn, what kind of parents would do that to their son/daughter?" What kind of parents would sign a six-year-old blond, white lanky poet up for a football team as defensive linebacker? Mine did, though I only vaguely remember it. Seriously, whoever uploaded these false memories did a really shitty job, because I can hardly remember any of them.
    Stupid new technology bullshit.
    Crusadism - noun. - a group of people in a position of power committing sinful, generally unspeakable crimes against humanity in the name of a God, typically the Christian God and/or Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit. Coined in response to the rising American extremism in the early twenty-first century.

  3. February is 'black history month' or it was the last couple years that I can remember. It's probably changed by now. Probably changed in the name of Jesus.

    Now, for those of you who know me, I am not a Christian or affiliated with any organized religion (RAmen to that). I know the story of Christ and some about Buddha and Vishnu and countless others. To me it's all more a mythology. Now, you're asking yourself about my point. I'll enlighten you my point is because of this part of my upbringing I have a hard time understanding how someone, anyone can be so passionate about some deity that is so distant.
    It truly is scary what you say.


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