Palestinian camps are putting hand grenades in their kids' hands, so America has to train their kids to be part of the "God's Army." So says Pastor Becky Fischer at her Bible Summer camp, "Kid's on Fire"
"I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ, as the young people are to the cause of Islam," Fischer says in the documentary "Jesus Camp." She explained that Christian kids should be just as ready as young Muslims to "lay down their lives" for their own creed, rationalizing that "we've got the better message."
Last night was the first time that I saw award-winning documentary. At times it wasn't easy to watch, as kids were being manipulated to hate anything un-Christian, but it really is a must see, a provocative look into a dysfunctional world.
I found the formula for manipulation to be somewhat familiar, as I was often fed the message that I was dirty, needed salvation from my own impurities as a K-12 student at Catholic Schools.
Step 1: Fischer welcomed the kids with a smiley face and caring persona to the camp,
Effect: Makes the kids feel at-ease, in a compassionate environment.
Step 2: Fischer alienated the kids, calling them evil. Example: She said that Harry Potter would have been "stoned to death" for being a warlock. She then implied that they brought unclean souls to the camp (swearing, doing bad just like the other kids), and washed their hands with...Nestle bottled water.
Effect: The children may be bored, ashamed, miserable but Fischer instills in them the idea that they are that way because they are "sinners." And eureka, she has a way to help them! And makes the salvation fun!
Step 3: The path is laid as kids are taught to hold their faith above all else, convulse with the spirit of the lord, and are told that half of the world is pure evil.
Effect: Kids can be alienated from the "sinners," everyone else. They conceptualize their duty to "save" everyone.
Step 4: Fischer and friends reaffirm that the kids are important, will be the future leaders, and need to go out and convert others, oppose homosexuality, abortion rights, support President Bush, the war in Iraq, the conversion of Muslims at all costs.
Results: Kids are wearing camouflage face paint while swinging sticks, praising the "Christian flag" and spreading the word to evil doers.
One kid even said that he got saved at age 5, because he was looking for more in life. (Though he probably didn't think his life was so worthless until people like Fischer told him so) And I can't forget the 10-year-old girl who said she only dances for the Lord, "not for the flesh."
See for yourself:
Fischer justified her actions, saying that kids cannot make choices -good or bad- (not much faith in kids...).
Repeatedly through the film, the "teachers" are praising the way that Christianity can influence kids, that their greatest asset is malleability. Not their creativity, innocence, or intelligence.
Fischer describes the enemy/Muslims as radicals who dogmatize their kids in a violent view of the world, and that it's her job to set them straight. And what are you doing to the kids, Fischer? Honoring their freedom of choice and presenting them with multiple viewpoints?
What's more is that even the evangelical heads are not without "sin"...
In many spots in the film, Fischer is seen primping herself, flaunting openly about how lovely she is. She also places a cardboard cutout of Bush for the kids to praise.
...The 7th deadly sin forbids excessive pride, and that first commandment forbidding the praise of idols before God...
And let's not forget our buddy Ted Haggard, who mad a cameo in the film bashing "the gay lifestyle." He was an adviser for Bush, by the way.
After the film and earlier this year, Haggard was caught with his own "sexual improprieties" and moral quandaries. Such as being caught with a male prostitute and using methamphetamines.
"...let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." -Jesus
But the sin is not homosexuality, or even meth use, but hypocrisy.
Good thing for Haggard, he became a heterosexual once again, and was saved from his gay tendencies. Maybe he feels this was all the result of a meth bender?
After observing all this hypocrisy, it occurs to me that the leaders of this radical, violent, politicized brand of Christianity are unable to deal with their own vices.
Like the children they exploit, perhaps they were once told that they were evil, made to feel dirty, and forced to embrace an ideology that seemed unnatural. The failure to work through sexual insecurities, addiction, violent tendencies (due to the disapproval in the social sphere of Church) had forced these currents to manifest themselves as problems later in life?
But self-loathing is nothing compared to how the extreme Christian right loathes their enemies, be they homosexuals, secularists, Muslims, or liberals.
There seems to be never-ending cycle of self-manipulation, that feeds itself with tax-free donations.
God might not have planned it better...