Documentary gives a frightening view across the cultural divide
The scariest movie release of the autumn season is, in fact, a documentary. Jesus Camp takes viewers to the heart of America's culture divide as it profiles three children being groomed to become foot soldiers in "God's army" at a summer camp for charismatic evangelical Christians.
by JewsOnFirst, October 3, 2006
This is a movie that many Christian conservatives don't want you (or their followers) to see. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's incisive film looks at a summer camp for charismatic evangelical Christians run by Pastor Becky Fischer in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. The movie has won critical praise for providing greater social context to the growing Christian right community's influence on the political sphere of America.
It's earned condemnation as well from religious conservatives such as Rev. Ted Haggard -- whose constituency at the National Association of Evangelicals is 30 million strong. Haggard has spoken out against the film, claiming that it makes evangelicals look "scary." His condemnation apparently chilled the film's opening in 13 theaters in Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
The children at Fischer's Kids on Fire camp in North Dakota practice war dances in camouflage and face paint and they make straight-armed salutes to a soundtrack of Christian heavy metal. They weep and speak in tongues as they are seized by the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Fischer equates the preparation she is giving children with the training of terrorists in the Middle East. "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," she tells the camera. "I want to see them radically laying down their lives for the gospel, as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine.")
God's Boot Camp?
A film on kids' religious experience creates a furor, divides Christians.
By Gina Piccalo, The Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2006
"Jesus Camp," a documentary feature film that follows evangelical Christian children at a religious summer camp, won prizes and critical praise on the summer festival circuit, but it wasn't until its quiet opening in the Midwest two weeks ago that a news clip about the film hit YouTube.com, inciting a whirlwind of controversy.
Already, the movie, which opens in L.A. this week, has split the Christian community and horrified those who fear the ascendance of the religious right on the national stage. "Jesus Camp" opened Friday in New York and will open in 20 more cities nationally Oct. 6. Continue.
Childrenís Boot Camp for the Culture Wars
By Stephen Holden, The New York Times, September 22, 2006
"Extreme liberals who look at this should be quaking in their boots," declares Pastor Becky Fischer with jovial satisfaction in the riveting documentary "Jesus Camp." Ms. Fischer, an evangelical Christian, helps run Kids on Fire, a summer camp in Devils Lake, N.D., that grooms children to be soldiers in "Godís army."
A mountainous woman of indefatigable good cheer, Ms. Fischer makes no bones about her expectation that the growing evangelical movement in the United States will one day end the constitutional ban separating church and state. And as the movie explores her highly effective methods of mobilizing Godís army, that expectation seems reasonable. Continue.
They Cry, Pray to Bush and Wash out the Devil - Welcome to Jesus Camp
A documentary on evangelical Christian children's camps has caused uproar in the US
by Dan Glaister, Guardian (UK) via Common Dreams, September 29, 2006
The children at the Kids on Fire summer camp are intent as they pray over a cardboard cutout of President George Bush. They raise their hands in the air and sway, eyes closed, as they join the chant for "righteous judges". Tears stream down their faces as they are told that they are "phonies" and "hypocrites" and must wash their hands in bottled water to drive out the devil. Continue
To Jesus Camp and Back Again
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, filmmakers of Jesus Camp, blog on Huffington Post, September 29, 2006
Last week we went on a mini "word of mouth" tour with our new documentary "Jesus Camp." As with every turn we've had on this particular filmmaking journey - from the production, to the edit and now to the release of the film nationwide - it was surprising.
The film looks at a summer camp for Charismatic Evangelical Christians run by the captivating Pastor Becky Fischer in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. The film also gives a greater social context of the growing Evangelical communities influence on the political sphere of America. We were excited and curious to share the movie with a conservative Christian audience in heartland markets, and see what they had to say about our film. We invited Pastor Becky along for the journey. The three of us made an odd road trip trio--a Jew, a lapsed Catholic and a devout Born-Again Christian. It felt like the beginning of a corny joke. Continue.
Hear Jesus Camp directors Ewing and Grady on Mother Jones Radio
Click here for a link to listen to film directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady on Mother Jones Radio.
Jesus Camp Shuts Down, But Fischer Says Her 'Indoctrination' Will Continue
Other Christian camp leaders say her camp and documentary about it don't represent mainstream Christian camping
Sarah Pulliam, Christianity Today, November 13, 2006
The camp featured in the controversial documentary Jesus Camp will shut down due to negative response from the film, according to camp director Becky Fischer. Continue
Attention Prompts 'Jesus Camp' to Leave Devil's Lake
By The Associated Press, Christian Post, October. 28 2006
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A woman whose summer camp for children near Devil's Lake, N.D., was featured in a documentary called "Jesus Camp," says all the attention led to her decision not to continue camps there.
Fischer said the camp, which is owned by the Assemblies of God and rents to a number of groups, was vandalized after the release of the movie about her Kids on Fire camp. The Assemblies of God church also was vandalized, she said. Continue.