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“It is no wonder, with that kind of intense training and discipline, that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam. 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 Israel and Palestine and all those different places, you know, because we have… excuse me, but we have the truth!” says Becky Fisher, a camp director, at the annual youth on fire camp for Evangelical children.
Jesus Camp was a wonderful film, but at the same time, a little disturbing. The film explores the lives of a group of children, who at very young ages, are brainwashed and deprived of the simple freedoms and choices. These are the simple choices that they should be able to make to guide their lives in the path they would like it to go on.
Their parents, along with leaders, are a part of the Evangelical Christian group who are using these children to build up a so-called “Republican Army.” Their ultimate idea is to create a government that they are comfortable with, and one that shares the same moral values to achieve their political goals. Childhood is a pivotal time in ones life. It is a time where one can use the freedoms he or she has been given to lay foundation and gather information needed to figure out who they are and where they fit in with society. The methods the parents and leaders use in this film to teach their kids, literally tells the kids to “lay down their life for Jesus”.
This method of teaching is wrong and can be detrimental to a child’s life in many ways. I would like to discuss some of the ways I believe that these teaching methods can have a harmful effect on these children and why I found it frustrating. 1.The first problem I saw in the film was that the parents think that they are teaching their children good, but they are only teaching their children to be closed minded to those of different faiths and essentially to the world. In the film they interviewed the mother of Levi, a child that has attended these evangelical youth camps in the past. She said “There are only two types of people, those who love God and those who don’t love God.” I believe that by using this method to teach those children can lead to serious problems.
If we look back in history we can see that people who are brought up in a way that leads them to be closed minded and who are forced to act and think in a certain way, can lead to major problems, even war. For example, Hitler used his cunning ways and lies to gain the trust and install a false hope with in these people.
Another example is the persecution of blacks. For many generations people were closed-minded and would not give these people, based on their race, a chance. This is also relevant today as we watch the children being trained and taught to sacrifice their lives for Islam. 2. The second thing that I found disturbing while watching this film was the enormous amount of pressure that is being put on these children’s shoulders.
Right from the first of the film we can see what kinds of pressures are being put on these children. Becky the evangelical camp director tells the kids that they are the ones that need to change the world. The pressure continues into one of the final scenes where they are told that they will be the generation that is going to change the abortion policy in the United States. I really think that this is a lot for those children to have to take upon themselves at such an early age and it is a little too extreme that they have to even be dealing with these types of issues.
When I think back on my early years growing up as a child I can not think of any extreme pressures that were put on me except, which one of my friends to pick first on my basketball team at recess. I think that by not having to deal with a lot of pressure growing up I was able to find myself and be shaped into what I am today. I feel that by not having pressures growing up as a little child that it helped me to be able to prepare for the pressures I am now facing later on in my life. 3. The last thing that was disturbing that I noticed in the film was how the camp directors and the parents of these children used force and fear to get these children to act.
In one part of the film, they show the children struck with fear and guilt as Becky Fisher leads them to believe that they will be like the rest of the world, having been taught that the world is evil, if they do not repent of their sins in public. She then forces the children to come forward and confess their sins in front of their peers. She also instills fear by telling them they will be left behind or abandoned if they don’t stay joined to the group. They are either in or they are out! To a child, being left out and not being part of the group is a very scary and disappointing thing.
This method is the difference between learning and forcing. I believe that by doing this these children are not able to form their own opinions, secludes them from the outside world, and most of all deprives them of their childhood experience.
This I believe will only become a problem for these children and society as they grow up. For example, they will not be able to form their own opinions or make their own choices in the real world and they will have difficulties getting along and working with other people socially.