Film Documents Childrens' Summer At 'Jesus Camp'
POSTED: 6:08 am PDT September 26, 2006
LOS ANGELES -- The new documentary "Jesus Camp" is shocking Christians and non-Christians alike with its scenes of children sobbing and crying out to God at a Pentecostal summer camp in North Dakota.
The film follows Midwestern children Rachael, now 10, Levi, now 13, and Tory, now 11, who attended Fischer's Bible camp in Devils Lake, N.D., in 2005, according to the Los Angeles Times
Filmmaker Heidi Ewing said she was raised Catholic and her co-director, Rachel Grady, is Jewish, enabling them to present what they hope is a neutral view of Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" program.
Grady said Fischer let them make the documentary in hopes of reaching unsaved people.
In the film, the children cheered when asked if they'd be willing to give up their lives for Jesus, prayed over a cardboard cutout of President George W. Bush and cried as they pleaded for an end to abortion, the Los Angeles Times reported. The paper said that one of the children is home-schooled by a mother who teaches that "science doesn't prove anything."
Ewing said the children explained that they wept because God's heart is broken over a lost and sinful world. But she added that the children didn't seem unhappy -- just more intense than the average American child. Grady said all of the kids plan to become missionaries.
Some critics have labeled the camp a frightening example of brainwashing and child abuse.
"This is war! Are you part of it or not?," Fischer shouted at the children during the film.
Fischer proudly compared her Bible camp to indoctrination of young boys by extremist Muslims.
"If you look at the world's population, one third of that 6.7 billion people are children under the age of 15," Fischer said. "Where should we be putting our efforts? Where should we be putting our focus? I'll tell you where our enemies are putting it. They're putting it on the kids. They're going into the schools."
Fischer went on to say that Muslims in other countries are taking their kids to camps like "we take our kids" to bible camps. She said Muslims are teaching their kids to use rifles, how to put on bomb belts and to use machine guns.
"It's no wonder with that kind of intense training in discipling (sic) that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam," Fischer said. "I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan and in Israel and Palestine and all those different places. Because we have, excuse me, but we have the truth."
The filmmakers told the Times that they want the film to "make a broad statement about how politics and faith have become inexorably intertwined in America."
Fischer said that she plans to help promote the movie and that she is grateful for the national attention she's gotten from the movie and its controversy.
"I couldn't have paid for this kind of advertising," she said.
In the About Film section of the movie's Web site, it describes the movie as follows:
A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America that requires Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement. Jesus Camp follows a group of young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire Summer Camp", where kids are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.
"Jesus Camp" is already open in New York
and will open in 20 more cities across the United States Oct. 6.
Link to vid