Jesus Camp
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Jesus Camp

2006, Religion  -   676 Comments
6.81
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Ratings: 6.81/10 from 259 users.

Jesus CampThe feverish spectacle of a summer camp for evangelical Christian kids is the focus of Jesus Camp, a fascinating if sometimes alarming documentary. (Shortly after its release, the movie gained a new notoriety when Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who appears near the end of the film, resigned his post amid a male prostitute's allegations of drug use and sexual misconduct.)

For most of the film, we follow a charismatic teacher, Becky Fischer, as she trains young soldiers in "God's Army" at a camp in North Dakota. Some of the kids emerge as likable and bright, and eager to continue their work as pint-sized preachers; elsewhere, the visions of children speaking in tongues and falling to the floor in ecstasy are more troubling. Even more arresting is the vision of a generation of children home-schooled to believe that the Bible is science, or Fischer's certainty that America's flawed system of democracy will someday be replaced by a theocracy. (In one scene, a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush is presented to the children, who react by laying their hands on the figure as though in a religious procession.)

Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady maintain neutrality about all this, maybe too much so (they throw in some interviews with radio host Mike Papantonio to provide a liberal-Christian viewpoint) and one would like to know more about the grown-ups presented here. Power broker Haggard is the creepiest person in the film, an insincere smooth talker whose advice to one of the young would-be campgoers comes across as entirely cynical. Time will tell whether the film's Christian soldiers will be marching onward.

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Haisoj
Haisoj
6 years ago

Josiah is an id**t.

albi
albi
7 years ago

5 min in and I think Im gonna be sick. I was raised in evangelical church in Canada, and this is NOT true Christianity... it is fundamentalist nonsense, control and exploitation.

Brooklynn
Brooklynn
8 years ago

I was raised catholic and personally find this film extremely sad. And I wasn't even looking at it from an athiest or agnostic view. It was disturbing that they all kept using the word "training" as opposed to learning or growing because soldiers don't think for themselves, they just follow orders. I grew up surrounded by religion, but it was never forced on to me. At my church, in my 18 years of going there every Sunday, never has the priest mentioned homosexuality nor preached hatred for any group of people.

I also found it pretty disturbing that the girl thought that you had to be jumping around screaming at God in order for him to hear you. There are so many ways to pray, and not everyone connects to God in the same way. I prefer the quiet and I often can't focus when there's too much going on around me. That girl has no understanding of other religions or denominations, and you could probably guarantee that she's never been to another church but her own. The fact that she thought she knew who had faith and who didn't based on their method of prayer was pretty frickin sad.

It also blew my mind when that mother was saying that science wasn't important nor even made sense. These people must not understand that not every part of the bible should be taken literally. Evolution is pretty much a solid fact by now, and ignoring science is wild to me. Also, when did the word "radical" garner a positive connotation?

The Raging Atheist
The Raging Atheist
10 years ago

I love how they request "let the electricity no go out in jesus' name" like dude, why not say "let's help the starving" but hey what do you get when people follow this dumbass fable? you get republicans, tea party members, and not to mention criminal psychopaths who use "because the lord said so" as an excuse

Марк Соколовский
Марк Соколовский
10 years ago

As an Atheist, I have no problems with Christianity. There's nothing wrong with believing in what you would like to believe in, it is a humanitarian right to have a belief. However, being an insecure, middle-aged, brainwashing, fear inducing, blind, and weak woman that manipulates the very core foundation of the children is more than wrong, it is taking away just about every chance of functioning normally within society from them, and mar their personality and actions, day by day. The cult they represent is almost as ugly as the putrid living disgrace they call a "woman". I rarely, if ever, do feel pity for anyone, though, these children will never have an opportunity to live a normal life, or even have the opportunity of deciding for themselves how to integrate religion into their lives, as it is binding to their beliefs that anything but what they believe is "evil". I place ultimate putrefaction on this "woman".

darkangelights
darkangelights
10 years ago

Interesting.

Ian Light McGowan
Ian Light McGowan
10 years ago

I'm christian and I think this is messed up, very. I was glad to hear this camp was shut down soon after this doc aired. A lot of these posts hate on christians but I really hope you don't think we are all like this.. otaku *COUGH*
BTW I came here because I heard this is were Levi from Shingeki no Kyojin got his name, Anyone know if that's true?

Ian Light McGowan
Ian Light McGowan
10 years ago

I'm christian and I think this is messed up. Very. I hope a lot of you people watching this don't think all of us are like this... I'm an Otaku xD Its like what that guy on the radio show is saying, these people have their own messed up, distorted views.
BTW I got here because I heard this is where Levi from Shingeki no Kyojin got his name.

Guest
Guest
10 years ago

I lost my respect for christianity when I was a small child. It began with the song "Onward Christian Soldiers Marching as to War." I'm not down with that. The real history of this religion is so full of hate and killing that it's laughable anyone would treat it seriously as a means to peace. Sorry to the faithful. I mean you no harm. I am after all an atheist. We don't preach celestial vengeance.

ted
ted
10 years ago

I lost my respect for christianity when I was a small child. It began with the song "Onward Christian Soldiers Marching as to War." I'm not down with that. The real history of this religion is so full of hate and killing that it's laughable anyone would treat it seriously as a means to peace. Sorry to the faithful. I mean you no harm. I am after all an atheist. We don't preach celestial vengeance.
This woman could use a fast or two... just sayin'. Maybe she should celebrate Ramadan as well. Couldn't hurt. Oh, by the way, this is the 666th post! Go figure...

Nick
Nick
10 years ago

Truly terrifying how indoctrination and brainwashing can truly ruin an innocent child by feeding lies to encourage not questioning or thinking otherwise.

anon
anon
10 years ago

A bible camp in Devil's Lake. That's irony if I've ever seen it.

misscellaneous
misscellaneous
10 years ago

It would be GREAT if they followed up with these kids, like the 7-Up Series. It's a little sad. They're all so smart and enthusiastic. I'd like to know what they're like at 20 or if they're still anti -science. To see that little girl punish herself for joyful DANCING OF THE FLESH - sign. I want he to go to broadway and knock em dead.

misscellaneous
misscellaneous
10 years ago

She's really espousing terrorism on anyone who isn't Christian. No different than suicide bombers. They think they're RIGHT, too.

misscellaneous
misscellaneous
10 years ago

I think a lot of these people just dig the spotlight. Particularly the mullet kid. He's got the fame bug. We'll see what happens. I see absolutely no difference in JESUS CAMP than Chairman Mao. The point is to push theocracy and that IS just disgusting.

Jane Doe
Jane Doe
10 years ago

lol the hypocrisy. Obese woman talking about fasting! Wow...

Paul
Paul
10 years ago

This video is shocking even after watching it several times. I love that the guy on the radio talk show in the beginning said that he was a Christian and even he was shocked by these people. This is a fear based society that breeds fear. Child services should be called in on some of these parents.

Little Rock
Little Rock
10 years ago

Watched again for the 100th time. This doc Always lifts me up and reminds me of the most important thing in my life - God.

Fatima Silva
Fatima Silva
10 years ago

I was raised this way. This camp is no different than those I went to as a child. At the time, I felt like a pretty normal kid. My parents were just stricter than most. Looking back, and watching this video, I do feel it is extreme. These children are a bit too young to form opinions of their own and ask important questions. However, parents that truly
believe in something, religious or not, will try and raise their children to believe the same thing. Can't really blame them. Unfortunately, majority of people are not open minded and perhaps our bipartisan country is to blame. Most Americans are expected to conform to one party or the other. Two parties. That's it. And yet we wonder why people are so extreme. Anyway, I turned out okay. Relatively. Haha. But I wouldn't blame the church. It did teach discipline and compassion. I'm an educated 30 year old woman and I do believe
in God. I may not attend these kinds of churches anymore, but I do have a faith. I don't think I have contributed ignorance or bigotry to this country because I was "indoctrinated." To the contrary, I have always given back to my country, volunteered in my communities, served the underprivileged and facilitated conversations on tolerance. This is what the church taught me. Lastly, these kids seem pretty content, happy and at peace. Granted, ignorance is bliss, but they'll grow up and learn. Hopefully they will carry a peace with
them throughout life and not end up medicated for depression and anxiety like so many of our youth, including those not raised in a "Jesus Camp"

Inmy Opinion
Inmy Opinion
10 years ago

This was extremely disturbing... Should be considered a form of child abuse. Those poor children :(

Inmy Opinion
Inmy Opinion
10 years ago

The absence of evidence that God does exist is not evidence that God is absent :P

disqus_bmIrHMTt4a
disqus_bmIrHMTt4a
10 years ago

kids should never ever be subjected to religion of any kind, its too easy to brainwash a kid

Jason Rahall
Jason Rahall
11 years ago

34:00 Nestle brand holy water?

Training camp for 'Children of the Corn'

Bring back the lions!

Tony Marcus
Tony Marcus
11 years ago

While this documentary is disturbing, and while I'm certainly no fan of indoctrinating children, some of the responses of atheists are just as scary. Absolutely, there have been horrific things done in the name of religion, and no, there's no way to prove there's a god. The scientific method AND just plain native intelligence requires that people keep an open mind about things they don't have an answer for. One could easily make the argument that relativity, say, was false until recently, because there was no proof of its existence. Admittedly, the odds of the existence of God being proved are very slight. The odds of disproving the existence of God are far worse, however. For me, agnosticism seems a reasonable stance, while atheism is just another blind faith.

Frank Ruiz
Frank Ruiz
11 years ago

Jesus camp....located at Devils Lake??....Just saying.

Nagisa
Nagisa
11 years ago

"Fat and lazy" she says... Oh the irony.

CeeBee
CeeBee
11 years ago

This scares me more than any horror movie

GET
GET
11 years ago

highly disturbing especially that creepy old bastard taping kids mouths and that lady admitting what she is doing is indoctrination.

Matt Pope
Matt Pope
11 years ago

how if you don't read the bible does your spirit get weaker, surely it just wouldn't get stronger

David Cairns
David Cairns
11 years ago

I just dont understand how so many so called intelligent people can't see that religion was designed to control the less intelligent in society and keep them in line. It's terrifying that this nonsense still exists and is believed in spite of being slapped in the face with FACTS!!

Adam Prince
Adam Prince
11 years ago

So her reaction to kids being indoctrinated in the Middle East isn't "wow, that's pretty f***** up", it's "wow, we really need to get on their level".

I would've loved to see her face when she heard Obama got reelected.

Kris W
Kris W
11 years ago

Despite the film's attempts to maintain neutrality, the filmmakers had an opinion. There is a slight bias towards the creepy. That being said, I have to agree with them. It is creepy. I have no issue with teaching children about God or even with Becky's enthusiasm for raising a generation of children who are motivated to go and make positive change in the world. But the overt political message of many of Becky's sermons gives her whole effort a sinister undertone. It's not about teaching children about faith and the love of God anymore; it's about raising children who will conform to an extreme conservative viewpoint.

I have never understood the fundamentalist Christian desire to control politics and essentially outlaw anything they don't approve of. If your church does not support abortion, your members are free to abstain from getting abortions. That's their choice. It's disturbing to see them indoctrinating children to actively fight to take away the ability of anyone to get an abortion. The church should never have that much power.

The discussion about this documentary shouldn't stray into whether or not God exists. What people believe is what they will believe. However, we do need to discuss the extent to which religion affects politics and how some groups are using children to accomplish their political goals. That is really what is at stake here.

wyatt
wyatt
11 years ago

Would someone truly please show me some real proof of the exzistance of "god"? And im not talking about some cheese miracle or a near death experience or how you were cured of cancer or some other illness by the hands of god healing you. Please people if you really look into it there are hundreds of thousands of things scientifically that could be the reason you were cured or "Saved"! Im sorry but do you see people go out every day and read a book then believe that the main character is a all powerful being??? In my opinion the bible was wrote by a group of teenagers, Simply because if you really read it what are the biggest parts, Sex,violence,nudity..to me that clearly came from the mind of say a 15-18 year old person then they started running around telling there story and people were stupid enough to believe in them because of how well they managed create the story through there words....even then im sure people were desprit enough in there mind to make this 'Story' seem true and to believe in what they were saying. Also just a fun fact..if you look into it apparently the story in the bible has happened oh...8 times and they were all far before the time of this man called Jesus.

As for me i can not wait for the day when science proves completely that there is no god, or the day that we find life on other planets. Because not only will if completely destroy all forms of religion that believe in "God" but it will end century long conflicts and i wont ever have to listen to bible humpers at school or anywhere again!!

Mike Luostari
Mike Luostari
11 years ago

I've seen this documentary several times now and it still creeps me out. It's bizarre that in the 21st century teach their kids creationism. It's ridiculous. I wonder what they tell their kids when they go to a natural history museum or a zoo.The praying to the cardboard cutout was weird. However, I think hardcore atheists are just as kooky and weird. You've got one group saying "god is the only way to save the world, he created heaven and earth..yada yada yada" then you have the other group saying "God doesn't exist and religion is killing the world....rinse repeat" Both complain about being persecuted and say they're being denied the right to practice whatever religion/lack of religion by the members of the opposite group. I think both are pretty ridiculous.

MaryvdG
MaryvdG
11 years ago

Haha and the documentary about the bigbang that the children are watching doesn't make any sense at all. Is it really legal to show children crap like that?

MaryvdG
MaryvdG
11 years ago

The fat woman sounds like a manipulative dictator. Can't be good...

Amy Hatch
Amy Hatch
11 years ago

that woman knows that gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins? and has she forgotten that her body is a temple of the holy spirit? maybe go easier on the cheeseburgers, idk

Young MO
Young MO
11 years ago

in a way i respect that they are taking an active interest in the development of their children.

Noah_Vaile
Noah_Vaile
11 years ago

I don't have an hour and twenty minutes to spend on this crap.

Princess
Princess
11 years ago

God in the beginning its like christian dumbledore's army only scarier ..And less cool.

Rslattery
Rslattery
11 years ago

That fat bitch in the stripy top would do well to give up the big mac's and give up this child abuse she is a disgusting brain washing pig.

Rslattery
Rslattery
11 years ago

Just another crazy cult.

Kathryn Dyler
Kathryn Dyler
11 years ago

I would just like to point out that Harry Potter isn't a warlock, or a real person..... he is a fictional character from a book of fiction... kinda like god....
This documentary is terrifying.

John Smith
John Smith
11 years ago

I agree this is scary and kind of ignore. But that's my idea. But only because of the somethings they believe. Bush isn't that great look at Katrina. Bush slowed down the evcaulation of the few that could get it to put them to airport security. (watch Nature of Fear goes more into this subject and many others) the main problem i have with some of they sayings is that they aren't using it in the right contact. I'm sure the Founding Father's a good historian or a smart person on the street. Will tell you this Country was base on frees and not just good. I'm sure we would all say hey stop stealing my stuff or dude don't murder not cool with out this religion And guess what we did Like the Polo Egyptians and Greeks ( a.k.a. real basics of American Government) as "Land Under God" That doesn't mean just your god but every religions god or gods !!! yes with a yes. And why are these kids learning about the Pro Life movement when they don't even know about SEX First off there 3-12 years old. I personal wouldn't of never told a 3 year old unless thy heard of it and ask me or had a sexual tram. And there parents are probably never told them about sex and protection and that type of things. And that comment about the Islamic things No not Islamic don't teach there kids how to do that. Only GROUPS OF RADICAL THINKER DO like.....ADOLF HITLER ! and to be true it looks like what you've doing too. Kids shouldn't be doing tradition war dances that young. Yes i know at lot of places in history start it young traditional. But NOT before there teenage years. This does seem brain washing to a point. I get your trying to keep yourself your children the country and etc safe and on a patch you think is right. SO is everyone else even if it's not with God or one god or no god at all. But we all are just trying to live on this earth together. Just remember we're all different we all live on this earth And we all agree on Chicken. Yes I got that from Homer Simson but it's true we all do agree on chicken....But Vegetarians. So everyone let your Freak Flag Fly have fun and be safe and happy. Just remember that Thank you to anyone who cares to read my rant. :)

Annie Kean
Annie Kean
11 years ago

The sheer ignorance is terrifying. Another day shall begin where I'm grateful I wasn't born in the US.

Alexis Brankel
Alexis Brankel
11 years ago

That was one of the scariest documentaries I have ever watched. I respect Christianity, but there comes a point where enough is enough. Leave kids alone and allow them to have their own thoughts.

Brandon Kelly
Brandon Kelly
11 years ago

Once these pastors start talking about government THEY DESERVED TO BE TAXED

Brandon Kelly
Brandon Kelly
11 years ago

Yeah no more abortions! yeah only god can take lives! except the 500,000 iraqi children killed during the iraq war... thats different cause bush said it was cool.

Brandon Kelly
Brandon Kelly
11 years ago

this is literally the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my life. Brainwashing children thats despicable.

Edward CHEUNG
Edward CHEUNG
11 years ago

Documentary Review: Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp is a documentary (from 2006) about Becky Fischer, an extreme Evangelical preacher of Christ, training the new promised generation of young Evangelical Christians at the Christian camp called “Kids on Fire School of Ministry”. Becky’s goal is to raise an army of God, dubbed “God’s Army” that is equivalent of the (by all personal opinion of Becky herself) army that the Muslims are raising themselves (An army of a new generation). Becky claims that the Muslims in the Middle East are training their children at the age of five to handle grenades and machine guns, therefore they should also start teaching the children about the power of God at a young age. Fundamentally, Becky is teaching the group of children at the summer camp to have extreme opinions about Christ the Son of God.

In the end, the true face of Becky Fischer was revealed. “Make war with them”, “this means war, this means war, this means war, are you a part of it or not”. These quotes were said without context. However, simply by judging the tone of these messages, Becky is not a preacher of peace and harmony.

This documentary is unlike any other documentaries about Christ and Christianity. By looking at the methods of the teacher, Becky (cause), and the way the children behave (effect/outcome), it seems like the process of “brain-washing” has taken place. The evidences of this form of “brain-washing” are from scarring scenes of when children go into a trance and try to speak using a lot of tongue, when all the kids cry because they believe they have sinned and have become impure, and when one of the kids fell on the floor and started to have spasms in the entire body in ecstasy of the presence of Christ (according to the Evangelical Christians, Christ is present and with them), just to name a few incidents.

Another unordinary thing that happened was their reverence to President Bush. They believe that he is a holy man and it is thanks to him that Christianity has flourished so much over the past few years in America. Aside from the “holy deeds” by Bush, the kids also learnt to stress the importance of God over others. To paraphrase the little evangelical girl, she couldn’t care less about what other people think regarding what she does, only God matters, she only cares about what God thinks because God is the sole decider of her fate. The same girl also claimed that the other churches (other branches of Christianity) are “dead churches” because they are dull, they sing, but aren’t active. From this one can only assume that the kids have been taught that the other branches of Christianity are tolerable, but only Evangelical Christianity is truly right. These Evangelical Christians seem to have been blinded by obsession (for example: An adult said that Bush is with them, brings up the card board figure of Bush, and everyone is revering the card board paper and touching it) and that this is more serious than anyone can imagine.

-EdwardSC