Sunday, June 24, 2007

Movie Review: Jesus Camp; Ewing & Grady, dirs; 2006

Most eight year olds are not aware of, nor concerned with, government, politics, ideology or theology. That's not to say they're incapable of giving such issues their interest, nor that their development is likely to be impaired by encountering and thinking about them. As this film so clearly demonstrates, it's how you teach that makes the difference.

Jesus Camp has an obvious point of view that isn't sympathetic to the Evangelicals it portrays. Perhaps when the filmmakers began this project they didn't have any particular bias towards apocalyptic Biblical literalists. I can image how neutrality could be easily subverted after meeting some of the people in this film and observing their lives and their teaching methods. It's difficult to feel any sympathy for people of any faith who as a result of ideological motivation see people as things, pawns in a supernatural game, rather than as individuals to be cared for and loved. It's even more difficult to deal with the enmity that arises on seeing parents and teachers using intense emotional appeals and peer pressure as methods of ideological indoctrination, creating in the minds of a children a world of "us" and "them," the kind of world that doesn't normally exist for children until after puberty.

Watch this film and despair the generation of lost children produced by this 21st century generation of know-nothing parents. I hope the filmmakers do a follow up in 10 or 20 years so that we can all see what becomes of these experiments in Evangelical indoctrination.



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