Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jesus Camp

There have already been quite a few posts about this. But now this horrifying movie is out on DVD. Everyone who hasn’t yet seen this movie should rent it. We all need to be informed, be aware that millions of zombied-out robotic Evangelical drones are out there, and they're champing at the bit to “reclaim America for Jesus.”

The movie is pretty grim, although some of it looks more like a bad Saturday Night Live skit. (Here are a few links.) Whatever your favorite drug is, this flick will probably drive you to it — so maybe watching this movie will end up being enjoyable after all.

The movie centers around a summer “Jesus Camp” in North Dakota. (“How I spent my summer vacation...”) It seems to be mostly for children ten and under. Like child molesters, gung ho Evangelists are anxious to zero in on impressionable young children and take full advantage of them.

We've all seen those 1950s documentaries that show Chinese and Russian children being indoctrinated by the Communists. They look like a bunch of miniature robots, reciting phrases in unison. Some of the scenes from Jesus Camp are like that, and some are even worse. Instead of just standing there parroting their lines, these Christian kids are really into it. They're jumping up and down, dancing, sobbing, shouting and speaking in tongues. Creepy isn't the word.

If you’ve seen Syriana, Jesus Camp might remind you of that Islamic school where children were being indoctrinated and programmed and trained to become future terrorists and suicide bombers.

The woman in charge of Jesus Camp seemed to be really caught up in all the shouting and tongue-speaking and fire and brimstone. But she was also very candid about purposely seeking out young children for early indoctrination. She said that by the time they're 7, 8 or 9 their learning patterns are set. I half expected her to say “eight is too late.”

She was talking about the growing power of this movement, and she said “extreme liberals will be shaken right down to their foundations when they hear about this.” She also said “animal rights activists, eat your hearts out,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I can't remember which line in the Bible says to abuse animals, or that God doesn’t want humans to have compassion for animals.

Whenever global warming got mentioned, it was with a roll of the eyes and a tone of “what are those wacky liberals gonna dream up next?” The biggest problems facing America are homosexuals, abortion, extreme liberals (those 2 words are usually spoken together) and the fact that God has been kicked out of our schools. Nobody in the movie ever mentioned anything about forgiveness, compassion or helping others, and I seem to remember the Bible mentioning those things from time to time.

On a lighter note: Jesus Camp was filmed before Ted Haggard got busted and outed. There he is, preaching his fiery sermons. There are some other scenes where he's talking with some of the Jesus Camp children. Kinda makes you wonder what Haggard is really thinking and fantasizing while he's kneeling down in front of these kids, gazing into their eyes and preaching the Gospel.

Whether you like it (or know about it) or not, the Army of God is out there. (That’s how they actually refer to themselves in the movie.) They're out there, they're expanding and they want to take over YOUR life. Check out the movie. Forewarned is fore-armed.

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Blogger Ron West said...

On the lighter side, there's always Borat and the scene inside the church. Actually those folks were pretty fucking scary.



April 3, 2007 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

This film is really important. Most liberals (especially urban ones) have no idea how militant a lot of churches and church groups have become.

April 3, 2007 at 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Ron: Yeah, that church scene from Borat was really a riot. Some of those scenes from Jesus Camp could have used a little levity, like having Borat come barging in.

J. Marquis: That's true, I think most urban and suburban residents think this is only happening in a few isolated locations. It's definitely a lot more widespread than that.

April 3, 2007 at 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I downloaded it and watched pieces of it, I need to watch it more.


April 3, 2007 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Mr. Anthrope said...

Jesus Christ, that stuff scares the shit out of me. The question I have is this - If people actively seek out the young to indoctrinate because of their being open to suggestion, does that mean the indoctrinators are less than sure of what they preach?

April 3, 2007 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I know from personal experience that the evangelicals are great in number, whether they be in storefront churches, megachurches, whatever. I attended one of the large local fundamentalist churches once out of curiousity, back when I was a regular churchgoer (about 10 years ago). It was amazing... the service lasted two hours, and the first hour was like a rock concert. The church had its own band, very professional, and displayed the simplistic words to the songs on the wall with an overhead projector. There were about 300 people there, rockin' out, getting all emotional. Then the pastor gave a brief sermon, only about 15 minutes, and he actually didn't talk about hateful things at all. Then there was another 45-60 minutes of music, and that was it. I find it ironic that the new evangelicals see no problem with using "the devil's music" to recruit young people into their fold...

My sister- and brother-in-law were members of one of a megachurch in Bellevue, WA that had something like 2,000 members. The minister was a former pro football player from the Seattle Seahawks, a huge, commanding presence, I believe his name is Ken Hutchison. Anyway, when they came to visit us once, they left Ken's book, "The Church", out on our coffee table probably in hopes that we would read it and get inspired. I took a look in the index and noticed the word "punishment", so I looked up the pages it was listed on. Apparently in this church, if yout think your neighbors are "sinning", you need to report this to the pastor. If is determined by the rest of the watchful members of the congregation that the sinning is continuing, the members are judged "guilty" in front of the entire congregation and excommunicated. Sheesh...

I would like to watch "Jesus Camp" but I am almost afraid to. I suppose I had better see it though, J. is right when he says it is an important movie. I have an idea of what America is up against, but I think seeing the movie will give me a more complete picture.

April 3, 2007 at 11:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yeah, it’s worth watching. It’s not exactly enjoyable or uplifting, but this movie reflects the views of millions of Americans, and we need to see that and be aware of it.

Mr. Anthrope: That’s an excellent point; I never thought of that. If they were so sure of their beliefs, they wouldn’t need to cram it into the heads of millions of impressionable children. That’s it, they're busted.

Snave: I hate to admit this, but I really liked some of the music in that movie. Something sounded a lot like a track from Jefferson Airplane’s “Crown of Creation” album (1968). And there was a lame rap song, with some refrain like “JC is in the house,” that all the preachers and children were dancing to and rapping along with. And it showed one of the 9-year-old girls dancing in her room to some kick-ass heavy metal sounds. Like you said, these people don’t mind using “the devil’s music” for their own indoctrination purposes.

I know about Ken Hutchison; he gets covered in the Seattle papers pretty regularly. He's one of those “Christians” who thinks that as long as you aren’t gay, you can do anything you want and God will still love you and let you into Heaven. He led some sort of boycott (unsuccessful) against Microsoft because they were too “lenient” towards homosexuals.

April 4, 2007 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Rev. Don Spitz said...

Re: Jesus Camp Christians have as much right to vote as you pro-sodomite, pro-abortion babykilling, anti-Christian bigots like you.
SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.

April 4, 2007 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

It's kind of strange, I get a totally different vibe from black churches. For whatever reason, they just seem more genuine and joyful.

I had kind of a strange experience with an Evangelical church about
30 years ago. When I left home to go to college, my parents weren't overly religious. Then they joined a church that held services in an old shopping center. Gradually, they got more and more wrapped up in it and when I moved home one summer it just felt really weird. They were always trying to get me to go their church and my stepmom got a satellite dish so she could watch the Trinity Broadcasting Network and I started to wonder if they needed to be deprogrammed. Eventually my dad started acting normal again but my stepmom pretty much stayed with the program until she died.

April 4, 2007 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rev. Don Spitz: Teeheeheehee. You had me going for a minute there — I thought you were serious. I’ll have to bookmark your site and link to it under “Comedy.” LOL.

J. Marquis: I think that’s true about Black churches; they get into the spirit of everything but without the hatred and judging. At least that’s my impression. They may have conservative views on social issues, but it doesn’t seem to be the be-all and end-all.

That’s weird when a family member joins an extreme church. My sister used to be a member of some super-orthodox Presbyterian church. Her husband wasn’t even eligible to join; I forget why (I think it was just because he was an Episcopalian). She finally left that church and went back to a more moderate Episcopal or Presbyterian church.

April 4, 2007 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

This documentary sounds more terrifying than any horror film I could ever imagine. I have it in my Netflix queue. I'll move it up.

April 4, 2007 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Political Realm said...

I definitely hope to see the film soon.

I worked at a religious camp not too long ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I consider myself relatively center-left politically, so my views were probably different from most of the other employees. However, the emphasis of this camp were the things I enjoy about my faith--love, hope, compassion, etc. as opposed to sin, punishment, hatred, division, etc. It definitely strengthened my own faith.

So don't watch the film and feel this way about all evangelicals or Christians.

You may want to check out the movie Saved, which also reminded me of my experiences in many amusing ways.

April 4, 2007 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lizzy: Yup, the movie is worth seeing. We all need to be aware of this sort of thing.

Political Realm: I'm sure the people in Jesus Camp aren't typical Christians. I know there are summer Bible Camps all over the country; they can't all be like this movie. The Falwells and Dobsons probably have millions of followers, but that still leaves tens of millions of other Christians who actually believe in the forgiveness and compassion that the Bible talks about.

April 4, 2007 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I went to church camp the summers I was 18 and 19, and I also went on church-related backpack trips and outings from ages 15-20. If you can believe it, I was actually our local United Methodist Youth director for two years when I was 19 and 20, hauling teenagers around to various conferences and get-togethers in the church van. Those were good times in my life. I felt like I was fulfilling a responsibility, I was staying off drugs, and I felt like I was helping kids find activities which would hopefully be positive and rewarding for them, and which might cause them to get the urge to help others in need.

The United Methodist Church, in some parts of the country, tends to be one of the more liberal sects. During the times I went to the local Methodist Church (1972-1979 and then again from 1990-1999) I always felt welcome, and I never felt judged by other members of the congregation. The church was small with only about 200 members and about half that amount attending regularly, but we always had good discussions over coffee in the fellowship hall after the service. Most of the people there tended toward leftist views, with social justice being a common theme. Our church supported a student from Rhodesia who attended school here at Eastern Oregon U., and then went on to become an ordained minister in his home country. He was full of the spirit, and he was an absolute delight. Singing in the church choir was always fun, and when a church member would play piano or guitar and sing for the congregration, it always made everyone feel good. It was not uncommon for our congregation to applaud after something inspirational had been performed or said. Our pastors always preached against hatred, greed, and politics which favored the rich over the poor.

Looking back, I would have to say the time I spent in the United Methodist Church was a huge part of making me into the left-leaning person I am today. It helped me to realize that people have moral obligations to do good works and help others. While I now tend away from organized religion and have moved toward secular humanism, I still believe churches can work for the right things, for social justice, for helping the oppressed of our world.

It seems like so many of the fundamentalist churches take a different, more warlike view of the world, in which there is so much more emphasis on good versus evil than on simply doing good works and treating others as you would want them to treat you.

I will always feel a bit sad about the way I abruptly stopped attending church once I found I had OCD and got onto meds to control it. But the problem was, I realized my inner conflict with wanting to believe in God but not being able to do so, and to have a personal relationship with Christ and not finding myself able to do so, was one of my major life problems at the time. I often found myself agonizing over it. By suddenly ceasing to attend church, I felt as if a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer felt obligated to believe in the kinds of things I would need scientific proof to believe, such as an immaculate conception, walking water, resurrection...

Sorry about all that catharsis, but I believe it is important to realize that while some of us may present as atheists, agnostics, or skeptics, some of us nonetheless have strong religious backgrounds, and through that, still manage to have respect for things such as Christianity when it is practiced in ways which are not punitive and which are for helping one's fellow humans.

I will always have a soft spot in my heart (and head) for the local United Methodist Church. I know that seeing "Jesus Camp" will be a sobering and saddening experience for me, because I know there are lots of GOOD churches out there, with GOOD people attending, hoping to accomplish GOOD things in the world. And it isn't like all those other people and their churches are BAD... I just think they have been misled. Seeing how those experiences will vary so much from my own more humbling and peaceful ones will undoubtedly be a shock... but the movie is in my Netflix queue. I will grit my teeth and watch.

April 5, 2007 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Another note: my sister-in-law is a single parent who has done a fantastic job raising her daughter. She was willing to let my niece attend an "Awana" meeting at a local Baptist church in the Sacramento area. It was a "one-off" thing, once my sister-in-law saw the classroom had pictures of Buddha, Mohammed, Confucious and others and was telling the students about how BAD those people were. Kit and I let our kids go to Awana at the local Baptist church when they were in early grade school, and while they were getting sucked in through the social aspect of it, they were simply being taught to parrot bible verses without being taught what those verses really meant... the more verses you could remember, the more little badges and prizes you got. We decided after a few weeks that enough was enough, and we found other things for our girls to do, like dance, gymnastics, or something else.

In his last book "American Theocracy", Kevin Phillips talks at length about how the Southern Baptist Convention has gained undue influence in the doings of our nation. It's pretty scary stuff. It is through indoctrination of children at very early ages that the authoritarians are able to help raise kids who grow up never learning to question their faith or to question authority.

In his book "The God Delusion", Richard Dawkins talks about how he believes a small kid should never be called a "Catholic child" or a "Muslim child" because those kids aren't old enough yet to fully understand the ramifications of what it would really mean to be a Catholic or a Muslim. Instead, he believes they should be called "children of Catholics" or "children of Muslims". As an atheist, he is against religion in just about any way, shape or form, but I believe he is right in that regard... small children are too easily brainwashed and indoctrinated into churches.

April 5, 2007 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I never did anything like church camp, but in 9th and 10th grade I used to hang out at this youth gathering on Saturday afternoons at the Congregational Church. I think it was called PF — Pilgrim Fellowship. It was mostly just playing games, hanging around, some discussions but very little preaching. I was an Episcopalian, but that church didn’t have anything interesting like that.

I assume most church functions are still moderate and low-key like that; that the rightwing fire and brimstoners aren’t as popular as the headlines would indicate. And there's certainly room for all political viewpoints in the church. A lot of Biblical quotes can be interpreted in different ways, or taken out of context.

I pretty much discontinued anything church-related after high school. I didn’t really dis-believe; I just wasn’t interested. I’d have to classify myself as an agnostic.

It’s amazing that “Christians” can think, and teach, that other religions are “bad.” A long time ago I read an interview with Anita Bryant (there's a name out of the past). She was saying that everyone who hasn’t been “saved” is a sinner and is going to Hell. The interview sarcastically asked her if that meant billions of Moslems and Hindus were going to Hell, and she said “yes, of course they are.”

April 5, 2007 at 12:51 AM  
Blogger Political Realm said...

I currently attend a multi-pastor church. I certainly have a preference for one of the ministers and usually attend the services he performs.

Earlier this year, while attended a service from one of the other pastors, I listened to him directly compare Democrats to Nazis. I was stunned and angered. The reference wasn't veiled at all.

Thankfully, that pastor has now been assigned to a different church. Of course, now those people have to listen to his hatred.

April 5, 2007 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Political Realm: That really shows how much variety there can be between churches, and from one minister to another. Glad you found a minister you like. Good riddance to the other one; now he's somebody else's baby.

April 5, 2007 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Good comments, PR!

I find that although I border on being an atheist I still have a very high degree of respect for a group called Interfaith Alliance. Their site is http://www.interfaithalliance.org/site/pp.asp?c=8dJIIWMCE&b=2294771 . They are a Christian outfit who combats the "religious right". Good stuff. I think they tend to have an understanding of Christianity that is benevolent, unthreatening, and questing for enlightenment rather than mongering fear and strict adherence to authority.

There are SO many Christians out there who DON'T believe in war, who believe in social justice and spending on social programs, and who value all human life. They need to band together and police their ranks, urging the more radical believers to become truly compassionate conservatives... or even liberals, for that matter! The rise of the religious right is a huge problem in the United States, and I think it represents a mighty threat to our nation's future if it continues to go unchecked. The only ones who can check it are the less-radical Christians in our society. Criticizing someone else's religion is something people in our society just don't do, so those of us without religion may not be the best ones to combat the fundamentalists. Better a job for those who have a better understanding of the ways in which the whole belief system has been perverted for use as a means to an end for the fanatics.

April 5, 2007 at 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally saw it and was horrified. Especially having the kids making a Diety out of the Cutout of George W. Bush like he was some kind of idol.

I also noticed that these were from the predominantly white churches.

I went to Presbyterian Church camps when I was young and religion was hardly mentioned.


You hit on something that gives a clue as to why the Churches are segregated. The Joyful Celebrations you see in Black Churches are an Absolute sin in White Churches whom tend to believe a proper way to honor the lord is through a 100 member choir in robes singing Back based hymms.

They're style might be a lot less uptight compared to white churches but don't let it fool you, they are on average just as Conservative if not more.

Constant polls which show blacks to be more conservative then whites always leads to a forum by the right wing as to how to get more blacks in the Republican Party.

They keep forgetting it's their strong anti civil rights stance that's a big reason (don't get me started on the others)


April 8, 2007 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yeah, that scene where they were worshipping the cardboard Bush cutout was too much. It almost looked like something you'd see on the Discovery Channel, with a bunch of South Pacific natives bowing and dancing around an ancient statue.

That's true about Black churchgoers being conservative on social issues. Karl Rove really hit a gold mine in 2004 when he came up with that gay marriage issue. I think a lot of Blacks and Latinos voted Republican because of that. The Republicans didn't even have to do their usual sucking up to minorities, or pretend there was "room for everybody" inside their "Big Tent."

April 8, 2007 at 7:04 PM  

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