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Jesus Camp (2006) - Movie Review

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Jesus Camp (2006) - Movie Review

Jesus Camp on DVD

© Magnolia Pictures

The Bottom Line

Academy Award-nominated Jesus Camp is an extraordinary exposé about the well-organized Evangelical indoctrination of children in heartland America to become soldiers for Christ. It serves as a cautionary tale about fundamentalist Christian recruitment and conditioning of preteens to prepare them to battle al-Qaeda, whose kids fast, bare arms and sacrifice themselves for Islam.
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Pros

  • An enlightening look at religious fanaticism in the United States.
  • One of the most gripping, frightening movies of 2006. A real life horror film.
  • A must-see documentary for anyone who values the Bill of Rights.

Cons

  • None worth mentioning

Description

  • Stats: 75% of home-schooled children, 25% of our population are Evangelicals. 43% of Evangelicals were "saved" before age 13.
  • Jesus Camp is a purely observational documentary, devoid of Michael Moore-ishness intended to sway viewer opinion.
  • DVD extras include director commentary, additional interviews, footage and resource references.

Guide Review - Jesus Camp (2006) - Movie Review

Within the context of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation and confirmation of ultraconservative Samuel Alito as her successor, we witness home-schooled Levi (12), Rachael (9) and Victoria (10) delivered by Evangelical parents unto Bible camp at Devil's Lake, N.D., where Pentecostal Minister Becky Fischer "hooks them up" with Jesus.

Fischer boasts she can "have kids 'saved' in minutes because they're so open" and "so useful to Christianity."

Brainwashed, more like.

Levi, "saved" at age five, knows Creationism is the only possibility and science doesn't prove anything. Rachael thinks martyrdom is "really cool." Victoria feels feeling guilty about dancing "for the flesh," knows it leads to damnation.

To their credit, filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady don't preach, so you're not sure of their opinion. Fischer and her cronies support the film because they think it glorifies their cause.

Jesus Camp's singular opposing presence, Christian talk radio host Michael Papantonio, expresses alarm about Evangelical fanaticism as he fields calls and conducts on-air discourse with Fischer.

Fischer asserts that her camp program is apolitical. Why, then, do campers pray—in tongues—over a cardboard cutout of George W.? Why are kids stirred into frenzied chanting about banning abortion and creation of a Christians-only America?

These hair-raising scenes remind one of The Crucible, the narrative feature that uses religiously fanatic colonial Salem, MA, as a metaphor for contemporary repressive tendencies. Recall the disastrous ending of that cautionary tale while watching Levi receive preacher-to-preacher advice from Ted Haggard (Evangelical pastor to 30-million people and a regular in George W.'s camp).

While boasting he has the numbers to elect our government, Haggard tells Levi he is the future. Levi avows to complete his mission.

Scared yet?

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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Great job from the filmakers, Member maluc21

I saw this piece some time ago but I have very much present. Of course the whole issue and the facts that it reflects left me very impressed I would highlight the excellent work of the filmmakers. As someone interested in making documentaries, I admire the way they approached it, using the camera as a tool that took me invisible to all scenes. I was reminded of the style of ""Salesman"" and is also really like that style. If Jesus Camp would have made otherwise the effect would not have been the same, their much smaller impact. It is a great documentary that I recommend to all those lovers of the genre, makes a specific pattern of how to approach a documentary film project: there is a huge job for a long time not seen on camera, needed to be in the places and the appropriate times to collect these unforgettable images. (google translated from spanish)

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