Religion & Politics: USF Fall 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

jesus camp (extra credit)

Extra Credit Blog
Spencer Brady
Jesus Camp

In class we talked a little bit about the new and controversial movie “Jesus Camp” and I just wanted to talk a little more about it. It is about a camp for young kids, or you could even call it a boot camp, where they learn to embrace the extremist side of Evangelical Christianity. This group of people takes their faith to a whole new level, and they are always heavily pushing their beliefs upon their children. They are a great example of how church and state get intertwined, and they do this by exploiting their children.

Clearly this particular group of Evangelical Christians are passionate about their beliefs, and that is why they are so efficient when it comes to persuading their children to follow in the same foot steps. Pastor Becky Fischer is one of the Evangelical leaders and she runs a camp in Devils Lake, North Dakota. Here at her summer camp we see the children taking part in activities where they are praying to a card board figure of George W. Bush. If that is not extreme enough for you, than while they are praying to Bush, they are also crying hysterically, speaking in tongues, and lying on the floor holding little fetus dolls. To me that is a little too heavy for anyone, especially children that young. Becky Fischer also said, “Think of this camp as a boot camp for the future army of God.”

This is just a small part of the “Jesus Camps” that are taking place across America. It is scary to me that there are so many children out there that are already completely convinced of the extremist Evangelical Christianity. It reminds me of how some extreme Islamic Fundamentalists go about their faith. I think giving your children some direction is a good thing, but pushing them to be completely obsessed with a religion is another thing. In this article “At this Camp, Indoctrination is Hardly a Game” in the San Francisco Chronicle, they say that the counselors… do not use war as a metaphor but a sincere and formidable call to arms aimed at “Taking America back for Christ.” It is just my opinion, but I believe they do more damage to the future people of America, than they help them.


  • Your ideas about influencing our children are great. I agree that we should give kids some kind of direction, but when they are crying and speaking in tongues in front of a card board Bush figure I think this too is a bit extreme. At the same time, I think that we all make our own decisions about everything at some point in our lives without the influence of others. I think this forum for these children was forced and somewhat scripted- they were filming these kids -so I think the camera added to their excitement and exaggeration. I do however believe the woman behind the project has some rethinking to do.

    By Blogger Briana G., at 2:33 PM  

  • I completely agree that it is positive for Evangelicals to want their children to follow in their footsteps and practice their faith. But when it comes to an extreme such as these "Jesus Camps" around the country than I think it has gone too far. I agree with you that the events at these various Jesus camps are extremely reminiscent of the Islamic faith which is mostly looked at as an extreme type of faith by most Americans.

    By Blogger Bobby Ewing, at 4:45 PM  

  • I also saw Jesus Camp recently and was amazed at some of the things that the children were encouraged to do during their stay at the camp, but what struck me most was their absolute lack of a normal childhood and the beginnings of self-formed opinions. While viewing the film, I was repeatedly struck by their eloquent speeches and steadfast dedication to their faith, but then I realized that what they were saying was not anything that they had discovered or formed on their own, but merely a regurgitation of their parent's views. It makes me incredibly sad that Christians tend to diminish the God-given gifts of free-will and reason and chose to teach their children to simply recite what they have not decided on for themselves. To me, it seems like the ability to think for yourself and reason out your own opinions is one of the greatest gifts that you could possibly have, and most often, especially in the Evangelical tradition, one that is most often surpressed.

    By Blogger jessica, at 10:27 AM  

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