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Thread: Jesus Camp

  1. #1
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    Default Jesus Camp

    Anyone see it? Comments?

    Synopsis: the documentary tracks the meetings, services, and home life of Pentacostals in the U.S.. The primary subjects in the film are Becky Fischer (a minister), and several children from age 9-12. Minister Ted Haggard and his former church in Colorado Springs is a minor subject as is a self-proclaimed Christian talk radio guy from Air America (Mike Palpitano?).

    I'll try to make some comments later.
    Last edited by matclone; 12-04-2007 at 01:17 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Jesus Camp

    I saw it a few times, thought it was pretty disturbing. I'll look for your comments and maybe make my own less general ones later.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Jesus Camp

    Yes, I found it disturbing in the sense that the Pentacostals seemed to be promoting a militaristic, onward Christian soldier view. The whole home-schooling (75% of homeschooleds are evangelicals) complete with creationism and boo-pooing global warming (what?) was disturbing. The one part that really made me personally uncomfortable, was the service at the camp, where Becky Fischer effectively tells the kids they are all sinners, and they all start crying. It seems the Pentacostal service relies upon stirring up emotions (in fact, 9-year old Becky mocks (innocently) more staid services in a little speech before the camera).

    Having said that, it was obvious the filmmakers wanted to paint the Pentacostals in a bad light, even if they didn't do it in a mean-spirited way. What puzzled me was, how did they get Becky Fischer and the families to allow them to film them? One explanation (but not totally satisfactory to me) is that Becky is a "true believer", and hence didn't see anything wrong with saying that kids need to be indoctrinated because that's what Muslims do, or that they (Christians) are right.

    Notably (from listening to director comments) Ted Haggard was not so welcoming, and suspicious of the directors even though he allowed them to film (in his shoes, I would have been too) and he apparently advised his congregation afterward not to watch the film. Of course, he did not look good in it at all. I was amazed at his incredibly cynical (maybe even jealous) comments to Levi, the 12 year old budding preacher, where he asked him, "Do they listen to you because you're a kid, or because of the content [of his preaching]?" Levi, who is obviously a young, true believer of the faith starts to answer, and Haggard cuts him off saying (I paraphrase) "Keep up the cute kid routine and you'll know by age 30". Of course, the filmmakers had a coup in filming a portion of a sermon where Haggard denounces homosexuality.

    I was unpersuaded by the filmmakers use of the talk radio guy (Mike P.) as a counter-view to the Pentacostals. I mean, talk radio guys have about as much credibility as a used-car salesman. In director comments they said they put Mike P. in at the end, deciding the picture was too flat without it. If I were going to offer a counterview, I would have sought it from someone else (a theologian or sociologist for example).

    On criticism of the film I read was that the filmmakers were somewhat arrogant or condescending in their view. I think there's something to that. They tried, but maybe fell a little short of the mark in presenting a picture of the Christian-right in America. Nonetheless, it was worth seeing. They acknowledged in their comments (I think), and I agree, that we all tend to live in our worlds, unaware of how others live, or think, and in that sense, it was a view into how many icans (80-100 million evangelicals--even if not all like those in the film) see their world.
    Last edited by matclone; 12-04-2007 at 02:44 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Jesus Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by matclone View Post
    Yes, I found it disturbing in the sense that the Pentacostals seemed to be promoting a militaristic, onward Christian soldier view. The whole home-schooling (75% of homeschooleds are evangelicals) complete with creationism and boo-pooing global warming (what?) was disturbing.

    It seemed more like a right-wing militia than anything else, their entire agenda was centered on political cornerstones of the right wing. This obviously could have been the fault of directors and what they chose to include, but I find it hard to recall many times where they talked about loving other people (unless they were talking about fetuses) or being charitable. I admit this may have been partly due to what stood out to me in the movie as well.



    The one part that really made me personally uncomfortable, was the service at the camp, where Becky Fischer effectively tells the kids they are all sinners, and they all start crying. It seems the Pentacostal service relies upon stirring up emotions (in fact, 9-year old Becky mocks (innocently) more staid services in a little speech before the camera).

    I couldn't believe what I was seeing when I realized the background noise (wailing) was being sung and was not an add-on.


    Having said that, it was obvious the filmmakers wanted to paint the Pentacostals in a bad light, even if they didn't do it in a mean-spirited way. What puzzled me was, how did they get Becky Fischer and the families to allow them to film them? One explanation (but not totally satisfactory to me) is that Becky is a "true believer", and hence didn't see anything wrong with saying that kids need to be indoctrinated because that's what Muslims do, or that they (Christians) are right.

    I heard she was OK with it at first, then started to protest after back-lash from the public.


    Notably (from listening to director comments) Ted Haggard was not so welcoming, and suspicious of the directors even though he allowed them to film (in his shoes, I would have been too) and he apparently advised his congregation afterward not to watch the film.

    I had quite a bit of fun with this part as well, especially when he said "fabulous" in the way that he did....


    I was unpersuaded by the filmmakers use of the talk radio guy (Mike P.) as a counter-view to the Pentacostals. I mean, talk radio guys have about as much credibility as a used-car salesman. In director comments they said they put Mike P. in at the end, deciding the picture was too flat without it. If I were going to offer a counterview, I would have sought it from someone else (a theologian or sociologist for example).

    I sort of felt this way too. I would have liked to see a contrast with a church that leans more left. Not so sure about a sociologist unless she/he was very familiar with the Bible. I hope to find out what happens to those kids in the long run, what is being done to them is appalling.
    .
    because i typed in the quotes i need something outside of the quotes to post

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Jesus Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by SL
    It seemed more like a right-wing militia than anything else, their entire agenda was centered on political cornerstones of the right wing. This obviously could have been the fault of directors and what they chose to include, but I find it hard to recall many times where they talked about loving other people (unless they were talking about fetuses) or being charitable. I admit this may have been partly due to what stood out to me in the movie as well.
    Thanks for your comments.

    As you say, there was an absence of talking about love in the film. It makes the Pentacostals suspect but it also makes the filmmakers suspect because we're seeing them almost always (the adults anyway) in a bad light. Are we to infer there is an absence of love in their families? Seems unlikely.

    This reminds me of something else I wanted to say about Becky Fischer. In the directors comments they were complimentary of her skills and said she came across as "human" but it remains for me that they painted her in a fairly bad light. Also, from what I can tell, marriage is a really big deal in this sort of church and it is curious to me that they said nothing about Becky's marital status or, for that matter, marriage as an institution.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Jesus Camp

    One of the scariest movies I have ever seen.

    These folks are absolutely brainwashed.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Jesus Camp - Mike Furches

    Hey Mike,
    I was just wondering what your view on this was. If you would rather answer privately then pm me or email me.
    Tony
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Jesus Camp - Mike Furches

    Quote Originally Posted by Avallone View Post
    Hey Mike,
    I was just wondering what your view on this was. If you would rather answer privately then pm me or email me.
    Tony

    Here is a link to the review and information on our web site, it includes an interview with the makers of the film.

    http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/movieD...AE1E5EC7E4AB7A

    I have seen the movie and it is what it is, I don't see it as a film where the makers intended to put down Christianity, but instead, did a documentary on a segment of Christianity who is into what I call, Nationalistic Christianity. Here Christians focus more on politics than they do the Gospel.

    There are some rather scary parts to the Documentary, the cut out of George Bush at Jesus Camp, plus the footage with Ted Haggard after the fiasco with him.

    I have had a couple of interactions with the directors of the film, and will stand by the belief, that it was not their intent to blast Christianity, in fact, they went overboard to not paint a broad picture but to instead paint a picture of this particular camp. It is also true that the early response among many Pentecostals was overwhelmingly positive, until the public backlash came about.

    One last note and this from "a pastor", there is a large portion of Christianity that is very much like is presented in the film. Unfortunately, they don't see themselves in this light, but they are. They plant the flag in their churches, and even then along with the Christian flag, the American flag is in a place of priority over the Christian flag. Ask yourself the question of why, using logic as to the point that their faith is supposed to supersede their country.

    Don't get me wrong on the above point, I have nothing against America, but churches that place an American flag in the place of priority over the supposed flag of their faith, are teetering on the Nationalistic approach presented in Jesus Camp. One also only has to look at the political system to see this happening, and therefore the subject matter starts to hit close to home, and thus the attack on the documentary.

    I realize I am unique, I am posting today a political piece I wrote last night that touches on this subject as there seems to be political pundits to compete for the religious vote, and in return deliver nothing of what they have promised, the sad thing is that many within the religious community falls for their bait, hook, line and sinker.

    The thing about Jesus Camp, is that the subject matter of mixing politics and faith have gone beyond an assault on adult thought, to where it is now being used on Children. Jesus Camp illustrates, that at least for this one Camp, and many within this particular segment of the population, that the militaristic, pro Republican response isn?t just a spiritual allegory, it is a point of reality which is being taught. When Christians talk about openly taking up arms to present and preserve their faith, they are no longer acting on the strength of their faith, but the power of the arms they take up. This is a serious theological point that many Christians will argue because they are caught up more with the power of ?The Republican Party? (a point reference, not necessarily a point of actual reality), then their faith is not in their God, their faith is in the geopolitical systems that give the allusion of supporting faith concepts.

    Personally, I thought Jesus Camp was one of the best documentaries of the year, at the demise of many Christians, and those ultra conservative political pundits, I will hold to this view. Is it fun to watch? Nope, but a filmmaker, especially a documentary film maker, does not change the scenes they are given. When children are given the opportunity to praise America over God, and have their picture taken with a cut out of George Bush, or Ted Haggard says the things he says in a church service, one would have to assume that the filmmakers somehow manipulated and caused these things to happen. I don?t believe that to be the case, the used the cards they were given, and made the most confronting movie possible with those cards. You can?t blame them for that.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Jesus Camp

    here is a link to the article I published today at HJ and on TVP. There are two pretty good videos at the end, although the Chris Rock one will offend some.

    http://thevirtualpew.blogspot.com/20...president.html
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    A certain amount of opposition is of great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with the wind. ~ John Neal

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