Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thoughts on a disturbing documentary

I really didn’t want to get into politics or religion on this blog but it looks like I am now about to. It still has to do with parenting though.

A couple of weekends ago Bones and I watched the documentary Jesus Camp. Wow, disturbing. If you haven’t heard of the film this is what it is about:

‘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.”

Here are some key things I have ‘learned’ from the movie:

  • Dancing for fun is dancing for the flesh, but should you dance for Jesus it is ok.
  • Muslims are sending their kids to camps in Palestine at the age of 5 to learn how to use hand grenades.
  • Science can be used to prove the literal interpretation of the bible such as Creationism, and disprove the theories the majority of the scientific community accept, such as Evolution. Oh ya and global warming is crap, something made up to cause fear that can be used to manipulate the masses.
  • An Embryo looks like a ‘baby’ at 7 weeks gestation.
  • Children are more open so God or Jesus actually talks to them.

See what I mean about disturbing. Every statement above is either an out and out lie or filled with such hypocrisy that I can’t believe someone could say it with a straight face or that someone else could truly believe the message.

What I did appreciate about the movie was the opposing voice used was from a Methodist. So it isn’t some agnostic challenging the religious right when they have no appreciation of their faith or don’t find their moral compass within Christianity. The children were shown as intelligent, articulate and confident. The Youth Pastor obviously loves the children in her ministry and cares a lot for their future. Again it is quite disturbing, it would be so much easier to not relate to them at all, (I related mostly to their fears about the future, their children’s well-being etc, not the religious fervour), and just see them as religious zealots.

Now I am not a religion hater. Bones has faith, me I am up in the air, sometimes I definitely do, other times it is hard for me to believe. I do believe that attending church and being part of a religious community brings many benefits. I am totally in love with a man who was raised within a religious family and many of the qualities I admire in him I attribute to that upbringing. So this is not about Religion as a whole.

This is more about raising children in an environment that likens brainwashing and does not allow in any way shape or form a differing thought. This is ensured by using the fear of going to Hell or the threat of rejection from family and community. An ‘enemy’ or ‘war’ is created to shift focus from challenging the messages being sent to fighting the scourge that threatens their way of life. The old, ‘you are either with us or against us’, mentality. There is no room for difference, no room for tolerance. The hate continues.

Check out the trailer:

Apologies to any of my religious friends and family that I may have offended. That was not my intent. I feel lucky to have such diversity in my life where we can care and accept one another regardless of our differences.

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