Friday, August 04, 2006

Jesus Camp

There is a new documentary that is scheduled for release very soon. It is titled Jesus Camp.

It is about the youngest foot soldiers for the Lord in their native environment. Becky Fisher is a children's pastor who runs "Kids on Fire," a summer camp for evangelical Christian children in North Dakota. Fisher believes in the political and moral importance of a Christian presence in America, and uses her camp to reinforce the religious training most of her charges are already receiving at home (the majority of the campers are home-schooled by their parents).

Using video games, animated videos, and group activities to help put her message across, Fisher encourages the kids to pray for George W. Bush and his Supreme Court appointees while urging them to help "take back America for Christ." For the most part, the children seem reasonably ordinary beyond the fact they pray with uncommon fervor and sometimes speak in tongues.

Along with Fisher and her cohorts, Jesus Camp features interviews with Ted Haggard, an evangelist and advisor to George W. Bush, and Mike Papantonio, a Christian talk show host who believes the right-wing slant of many Christian evangelists is taking the church into a dangerous direction. Jesus Camp was directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

Some controversy has raised it’s ugly head this past week. Michael Moore wanted to screen this feature at his film festival.

In case you aren't aware, Michael Moore has his own festival up in Michigan, where he showcases hand-picked films that he loves, as an alternative to the "assembly line" movies made in Hollywood. This year's festival begins next week, but without one of the films that Moore had planned on screening. Magnolia Pictures has pulled Jesus Camp so that the documentary will not be tainted by being associated with Moore. The distributor is hoping to market the film to Evangelical Pentecostals as well as to liberal documentary fans.

They are afraid that Mr. Moore will put his stamp on the film. He has a reputation for producing left wing documentaries that are somewhat beyond the pale.

As I read about this film it would appear that the producers fear Moore may equate the fervor at this Christian youth camp with an Al-Qaeda camp that trains young terrorists. While many Christians may not understand the traditions of the Pentecostal Church or even agree with their tenants, I believe as Christians we can all agree on the principal that the Word of God will not return void.

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