I just finished "Jesus Camp"...

I didn’t want to debate this topic like this old thread so I’ll post a general discussion about it.

…wow. This was disturbing if nothing else.

What’dya think of Ted “I’m a cured homo” Haggart or whatever his name is?

I was shocked by not being shocked by it. I bet if I’d seen it years ago before I got used to arguing with Creationists and their ilk on message boards I would have been more disturbed but for my money the worst statements like “Muslims have it right with how they teach their kids to blow themselves up for Allah” (horribly misquoted but that’s the gist of it) I already saw in the trailers.

The weirdest for me was the whole “Science says global warming is happening what is wrong with that statement?” part. Seriously WTF did Jesus have to say about global warming? Just proof that they’ve managed to tie fundamentalism in with politics so much that they’re treating politics as a religion.

I’m so proud that this book: “Global Warming Is a Myth” from the Conservative Book Club is linked in the Google ads. :rolleyes:

As a teen, I was in a church youth group that could be pretty intense, & in your quotes there is a certain hyperbole of devotion that sounds familiar to me. Not that the ministers want their charges to hurt anyone or break the law, but that they are seeking passion, a kind of intense feeling, for the will of God. They may want the young people to feel as strongly about God/Jesus/Xtianity as an al-Qaeda member feels about jihad, but that’s an appeal to what young people are naturally like & when that’s turned to conventionally Xtian virtuous acts like helping the poor, it’s not so offensive.

Then again, it sounds like these guys are a bit different from my old youth minister.

The equation of the GOP platform, which is really a set of sops to different factions & interests, with some sort of moral requisite, is a real pet peeve of mine, having grown up (esp. in my teens) in the Religious Right. I was taught, due to my family’s missionary background to try to differentiate between cultural norm & universal moral truth. But so many “conservatives” seem never to have been trained to hold that distinction. I’ve been annoyed from a young age by the sort of confusion of cultural-political identity, present opinion, & current policy with religious obligation & vital absolutes that unfortunately informs so many conservatives. I suppose the basic category of fallacy is something I’ve done myself, & we all tend to do. But when it acts to blind us to important & desperate reality, it’s terrifying, disgusting, & evil.

Well at the end during a radio interview the leader of the Jesus Camp said something along the lines of “The ‘problem’ with democracy is that everyone has an equal voice” and basically says that our government needs to be replaced with a Xtain one. She flat out states that kids can’t think for themselves so it’s up to adults to properly program them to be soldiers for Christ (in a literal sense they have to be fodder for the coming Armageddon) I certainly hope that’s not how your youth minister worked.

That’s the saddest thing to me is that they’re teaching them not to think for themselves but instead only blindly repeat what they already ‘know’ and follow orders.

Heh that reminded me of the funniest moment when she running the show and said something like “Ok! Now let’s all pray in tongues! Bellah montkalknoijher l;kjra” For a beat several of the kids looked baffled before joining in. Silly me I thought praying in tongues was supposed to happen when you were seized by the holy spirit to communicate a universal message from god that all could understand not babble random noises that NOBODY can understand and that it can be tapped on demand. I mean I’ve seen churches where someone will randomly start yelling out crap in a frenzy but never have it heard it simply suggested in such a manner. “Now we’ll read John 2:16 then we’ll chat in tongues then there’s a cookie bake off next Tuesday”

[hijack]
I used to speak in tongues, when I was about 11-13 years of age, while I was attending a Pentecostal church. You know what’s really freaked up? If I think back on those times long and hard enough, or hear someone else doing it, I can still do it. I’m an ATHEIST. I am apparently not alone–I read that lots of folks, regardless of their current beliefs, still have access to this ability. They also recently released a very new neuropsychological study on the phenomenon and they found that when people speak in tongues there is diminished activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain–which indicates that it’s not an altogether voluntary action. Freakin’ crazy, huh? I find this stuff really fascinating considering I’m both really into neuropsych and trying to make sense of my experiences at that age in that crazy fundamentalist church.
[/hijack]

Regarding the OP, I have not seen this documentary, though I’m dying to. I was one of those kids. I even attended this big teen rally every year called “Acquire the Fire” which involved even the naughtiest of my peers breaking down in repentant sobs and committing their lives to Christ, and also some stuff completely beyond my ability to describe because it was so fundamentally emotional in nature. I know this culture backwards and forwards because I lived it. So I look forward very much to this discussion.

Never understood the whole “speaking in tongues in the twentieth century (which was when I witnessed people participating)” thing. I mean, is the Holy Spirit stupid or something? It’s been nineteen hundred and some-odd years, sure, but he’s supposed to be GOD, fer Chrissake! He can’t remember why He bestows the gift of tongues on the faithful? Lke to spread the gospel to all nations, so the users of every language will be able to hear and understand the Good News?

And yet the gift gets bestowed, and all of the testifying that comes out is in languages that are no longer extant? Does He want us to all not hear the gospel so we can die without Christ’s grace, and go to hell?

What an asshole.

I think this is what makes me the most disturbed. They aren’t teaching their children to be educated, well rounded beings of society. They are making them obedient sheep. These children only feel they way they do and repeat the things they do because their parents have put so much pressure upon them to do it. Children naturally want to make their parents happy and will go to extreme lengths to do so soely because that’s the way they are designed. What these parents are doing is scary and irresponsible.

I thought the featured kids - Levi, Rachel, and Victoria - came off very well. They seemed bright and well spoken. I agreed wholeheartedly with Rachel when she described Catholic worship as rather deadpan. If one is going to worship, why not be happy about it?

I would be very interested to see those kids again in five or ten years. They strike me as the type who have the brains to challenge the programming that they have been exposed to. I see that mission, by the way, as an important part of any kid’s development irrespective of the type of programming they were brought up with.

Having said that, I always find these types amusing. I especially enjoyed Becky praying over the computers and PowerPoint presentation. Got news for you Becky - it’s Microsoft that causes those problems, not the devil. I grant you, hard to tell the difference, but still…

I’m assuming that if you just watched it, you are watching the DVD. I suggest you listen to the director’s commentary. I think it’s highly commendable that even though the filmmakers don’t agree with Pastor Becky and their ilk, that they treat their subjects with respect and have very positive things to say about them. I think this is an excellent example of what a documentary should be.

You may be interested to know that Pastor Becky had to discontinue the camp due to outcry that followed in the wake of the movie.

Also of interest is Pastor Becky’s FAQ in response to the movie. Though some of the links are broken (including “Do you think you were treated fairly by the filmmakers?”). She mentions that while she doesn’t deem the film to be a complete and totally accurate picture of her ministry, she does feel that enough is there to get the basics across.

Even though she had to suspend the camp, she still provides links to the film because she views it as an effective tool to get her word out. I wager that if she attracts just one person to join her flock, it’s worth the slings and arrows of a million others assaulting it.

Good lord, I haven’t seen the movie yet but I just had to contribute to the thread to say that I remember those “Acquire the Fire” rallies. Looking back to those now, as an atheist, I realize how completely freaky they would appear to an outsider.

The filmmakers said the same thing in their commentary.

Again, the filmmakers echo your sentiments. But I feel a little differently. A lot of what I heard coming from the kids smacked of parroting soundbytes of their elders rather than introspection and metaphors that they themselves created.

I think Levi is in for life. He had a level of focused intensity that (and I hate to say this) reminded me of documentary footage I saw of white supremacists. And he has been indoctrinated into a “supremacy”-type of militant organization, just not a racist one.

Rachel, on the other hand, seemed really pliable. Though again, the filmmakers heaped praise on her, saying she was really sharp and articulate. But I think her compulsion to witness is going to cost her friends and keep her marginalized in all but the church. I feel like if/when she ever does lose her faith, she is going to crash hard into something that resembles a dark nihilism.

As opposed to a nihilism of a happy, fuzzy, cuddly variety? :wink:

Hey, I’ve known a few happy, fuzzy, cuddly nihilists! Well, maybe 2 out of 3.

Yeah, these guys are a bit different from my teen youth group. We were emotionally manipulated, but I think the idea was more to make us into advocates, active church leaders, & missionaries, not warriors or drones. We understood the Kingdom, after all, not to be of this world anyway. And confident true believers should have little reason to discourage reason.

“Acquire the Fire,” eh? When I went to church camp as a teen, it was called Victory Circle and held at the end of the week. But basically it’s similar to what you described.

(sorry for the 'jack)

You and Alistair McCello give me hope for some of those poor kids.

cripes. just saw it from the recommendation of the documentary thread. freakin’ surreal.

like olives and alistair this documentary really hit some old nerves of youth group, but my VBS was essentially summer camp with a dusting of bible study. zero political agenda.

i’m forever struck by the adults that facilitate this kind of behavior. not the parents - the staff. they are the levi’s of the world grown up. they drink too much kool-aid too early and loses touch with the real world and get too god-crazy to function in the real world and HAVE to work within the church. it’s sad really. i used to know home-schooled evangelicals and those kids just never had a chance at being properly socialized.

@tuckerfan 3 years after the fact, haggard really showed a little bit of the true colors of the megachurch evangelist structure. very pyramidal, very political, and very calculated. maybe confused and disillusioned levi a smidge if levi was a bit older.

that interview at the end with mike papantonio was brutal. the clip of rachel and levi at the end spreading the gospel? even moreso.

There’s no trick to speaking in tongues–Ella Fitzgerald based her whole career on it. You have to convince yourself that the words are coming from an outside source inside you, but once you’ve bought into the idea that a foul-tempered old man in the sky who is obsessed with your sexuality is reading your thoughts and passing severe harsh judgment upon them, ready to set you afire forever for the slightest infraction–and he loves you– Well, then you’ll believe anything!

One of the upsetting things is the prayers and devotion to the cardboard cutout of Bush. It is amazing that people on the right whine and fret about Obama having indoctrination camps when it was actually happening for their guy.