93. Jesus Camp (2006) [Rated PG-13 for some discussions of mature subject matter.]
summary from imdb.com:
Becky Fischer is a Pentacostal minister who holds Evangelical Christian conferences and camps, the latter called “Kids on Fire” which are held in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota.
directed by: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
starring: Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard, Mike Papantonio
Lou Engle, founder of Bound4Life: Here is the deal. Before you were born, God knew you. Extraordinary. He said this… He said He formed you in your mother’s womb. You are not just a piece of protoplasm… whatever that is. Not just a piece of tissue in your mother’s womb. You were created intimately by God. Is that incredible? God wrote a book about your life and He wrote: Levi… Levi would be a God seeker from an early age and he would become a voice that touched America. Yeah! And he would not sell out… in his teenage years he would go for God all those days and he would be a man of prayer. And in his twenties, he’d begin to shape things real strong for God and in the nation. God’s dream: The novel of Levi’s life… signed: God. What do you think of that?
Levi: That’s pretty cool.
Lou Engle: Pretty cool, huh? You are pretty cool. Now listen to me, guys. Since 1973, up to 50 million babies never had a chance to fulfill their dreams God had for their lives. That’s sad, isn’t it? Do you know, a third of your friends could be here tonight, but they never made it. A person’s a person no matter how small. God has a dream for them like He has a dream for you. Do you see that? It’s kind of awesome, isn’t it? Look at that. 7 weeks old. Tonight, I believe something is gonna start tonight that can change America. Seriously… kids, I believe: you are the beginnings of a movement that can raise up a moral outcry that can overthrow abortion in America and could turn this. Would you like to be part of that kind of company?
everyone, being led by Lou Engle: Jesus, I plead your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God, end abortion and send revival to America. Louder: Jesus! I plead your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God, end abortion and send revival to America.
various children: Life! Life! We command life, Lord, in the name of Jesus, life! Satan, in Jesus name, You let go of them. You have no power taking people’s lives only God has that power. No more, Lord… No more! No more!… No more!
Lou Engle: Adults… we cry out to God: 32 years! Too long! God, we are asking for the courts of America… we are asking shift the courts, raise up righteous judges who rule in behalf of the unborn, God! Righteous Judges… Righteous Judges! Children are crying to you, God. Here from heaven, God, it’s time. Too long, Lord. Abortion, God. Righteous Judges! Righteous Judges!
Becky Fischer: You made a covenant with God tonight that you are gonna pray to end abortion in America. Don’t take that lightly, don’t be a promise-breaker. Don’t be a promise-breaker. Be a history-maker.
Leftist radio host Mike Papantonio: Do you think you know America? I mean, do you think you know your own country? Well, I got to tell you: you don’t. There is a religious political army of foot soldiers out here that are being directed by a political right. This is not tin foil hat conspiracy stuff. It’s happening! These people, you know, They don’t look like politicos. They don’t look like politicians. They don’t look like… they have a… like they’re on a band wagon for anybody. I mean, they just look like your neighbor. But When you put them all together, what ends up happening, is they start taking control in small slices. And so, this is the last stage. Let me tell you something. They’ve taken over… the White House, Congress, the judiciary for a generation. Together, these people form a powerful… I mean, powerful voting block. Look, George Bush and Karl Rove owe these people big, big time. We’ve been asleep at the wheel as this conservative, political, fundamentalist element has gained too much control and power in this country. I… I… I… Totally beyond me. How anybody can look at this picture and say: Oh, you know this… Yeah, It doesn’t affect me. It’s just absurd.
George W. Bush: I am pleased to announce my nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr… as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
voice on radio: Definitely, if the President tries to replace O’Connor, a moderate with an extremist… uh, it would be the biggest fight, uh… over Supreme Court in American history.
another voice on radio: The nomination of judge Alito is so important and why the Church needs to be involved. It’s everything that every Christian we care about because he is so outspoken on the life issue and other issues that are such a great concern to us.
Mike Papantonio: Well, Becky, let me ask you this: How do we ignore that all of a sudden we’re creating children soldiers for the Republican Party? How… How does that figure into anything that Christ had to say about how we should live our life on the Earth?
Becky Fischer: It’s… I’m not… I am not aware of any churches that are out there with a political cause. I… I am not going after my kids politically. But that, you know, because at the same time I wanna say that I don’t have any problem saying to my children: “We are Pro Life.”
part of a review from Kingdom of God Media:
Jesus Camp makes two very subjective statements:
1.) Christian parents in America are evil because they train their children to think like they do.
2.) Americans will be free and prosperous to the extent that the U.S. government is unaffected by overtly Christian values.
Keep in mind that there is a good way to be unreasonably subjective. For example, only unreasonable subjective people would sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Also, it takes an unreasonable person to speak out against wrongdoing or to resist the average mob-mentality. The highest quality people in mankind’s history have been those who have held onto a few, basic principles that people nowadays would consider “subjective.”
Some of the review-snippets from the front of my Jesus Camp DVD are: “Riveting” (the Washington Post), “Provocative” (Chicago Tribune), “Eye-opening” (USA Today) and “Startling” (New York Times). Without looking at the rest of whatever these well-to-do publications wrote about Jesus Camp, my first impression is that these people must be really gullible. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that Jesus Camp only includes material that complements a mainstream interpretation of Christian-Pentecostal subculture (back to that that objective vs. subjective issue).
It is hard for me to take Jesus Camp seriously is because the kids in that movie don’t seem that bad. They all appear to be well-spoken, well-behaved and they seem to think a lot more than the average young person. For example, their parents teach them why creationism makes sense and why abortion is bad. As far as I can tell, they have a lot more going for them than the average over-privileged-video-gaming-consumer zombie or underprivileged-gun-toting gangster.
These children, who were so unfortunately born into Christian families, seem to enjoy a high quality of life back at home… I couldn’t help wondering, “So what’s the problem?” These parents are amazingly dedicated to raising their kids the best way they know how… so what are the makers of Jesus Camp complaining about?
The movie would like to make the statement that Christian parents are brainwashing their children into thinking that abortion is bad, the ozone layer isn’t such a big deal and that the Republican party is synonymous with Christianity. I didn’t hear anyone in the movie mention the Republican party, but I guess any of these things might come up over dinner, right?
The makers of Jesus Camp seemed to think it scandalous that the values of these parents are rubbing off on their children. My reaction to this observation is: Duh! This will happen regardless of whether parents are religious or anti-religious. Thus, it is vital that parents check themselves and make sure their quality of life is something they want to pass on to their children.
It’s no accident, for example, that the offspring of divorced parents are more likely to sleep around whenever they feel like it and carry around a skewed self-image. Then again, parents who stick together will bless their children with a healthier self-image.
This is why I was impressed with the parents in Jesus Camp… they are making a deliberate effort to raise their kids. The world would be a better place if more parents acknowledged the fact that who they are will rub off on who their children grow up to be.
part of a review by Josh Timonen posted at the not-so-Christian-friendly richarddawkins.net:
A ‘Pro-Life’ speaker visits the camp and explains how “God doesn’t care about how small the baby is, it is still a person and a soul, even if it’s just protoplasm…” he pauses to pan the young crowd with a cartoon-ish, bug-eyed smile before delivering his punch line: “…whatever that is!” Some in the theatre laughed, and some screamed. Things had become so unbelievable that the audience was just making whatever sounds were possible in their collective state of shock. The ‘Pro-Life’ man passed around a boxed set of plastic fetuses at different stages of development (do they sell these at Christian Supply stores?!). He then placed red gaffe tape with the word ‘LIFE’ written on it over each child’s mouth in preparation for their protest in front of the US Capitol Building. I had to step back for a second. They are placing gaffe tape over a child’s mouth, and the child is then persuaded to interpret this as a positive, meaningful experience. ‘Let the church decide what goes in place of my personal thoughts and voice.’ It’s a sad metaphor for how these children are kept from thinking for themselves, and a sad irony how their ‘LIFE’, the only one they’ll ever have, is truly what they are missing out on by accepting these dogmatic restrictions.
from Jonah Goldberg at The Corner at the National Review Online:
No doubt due to some leftwing rapid response, I’m getting deluged with this clip from some documentary called “Jesus Camp” in which kids appear to be praying to Bush. A few quick points:
1. Yes, that stuff ain’t my cup of tea either.
2. But, the kids are not in fact worshiping Bush. They’re praying for him.
3. And most important, the clip and the activity it shows wasn’t part of any campaign effort. The Bush campaign didn’t use glassy-eyed kids in a messianic P.R. stunt to promote their candidate, nor did any affiliated outreach group. Meanwhile, that is precisely what the Obama camp is doing — with the active support of the head of NBC, the parent company of MSNBC by the way. The analogy doesn’t work at all. And, for those lefty-readers who think the analogy does work, they should be ashamed of the fact that their candidate is in fact doing the same thing. Again: objectively, it’s not the same thing, but if you’re going to email me the Jesus camp video as some sort of gotchya, that is in no way, shape or form a defense of the Obama Youth video. It is, on your own terms, an indictment of it. If you want to defend the Obama Youth video, defend it. I’d like to see you folks try.
Oh and for giggles: imagine the shrieks and howls if Rupert Murdoch had anything to do with a Children of the Corn for McCain project like this.
Update II: From a reader:
The kids are praying for Bush because he’s the President, not because he’s Bush. They could/would just as earnestly pray that Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama would appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. (God CAN work miracles, after all.)
In our (Mo. Synod Lutheran — ask Mark Hemingway about it) church, we pray for the President just about every Sunday (we don’t chant and lay on hands and stuff — heck we don’t even clap for the choir); we’ve done it for every President I can remember, which would be about LBJ onward. As Lutherans, we also don’t pray for particular policy decisions, more the generic “Thy Will Be Done” thing; but in any event, this prayer (in the clip) was a prayer that the President would DO the right thing, not a prayer to the Man who IS the Right Thing.