I just watched the documentary "Jesus camp". I intend to share my opinion on the documentary. It was a huge eye opener for me. I consider myself to be someone who is neutral with liberal bias. Before watching the movie and during the movie I tried to clear my mind of any prejudices I have and watch it with a neutral eye.
The movie shows events as it happens in a summer camp for children ('Jesus camp') run by Becky Fischer. Fischer is a steadfast believer in Jesus Christ. She can be seen saying "how could I enjoy heaven with the knowledge that I never told people that meant so much to me about Jesus Christ". She believes she's doing God's work by showing the children what God wants them to do, that is be the warrior of God.
We get to hear some of the parents' rational for sending their children to such camps. They believe that God has given them these children and expects them to bring up the children with the belief in Jesus. They teach their children how the evil-minded liberal's could pollute their mind with false information (evolution, global warming etc) and prepare the children to defend their faith and believes.
As a child in the camp, the viewer can see that the child has plenty of things to like about the camp. He or she gets to play with other kids in the camp (we get to see kids go-karting). Participate in social events like singing and dancing. Being told that each one of them is unique created by God with some unique purpose in mind. The documentary focuses on three kids Levi, Rachael and Tory. Levi, who has ambitions of becoming a pastor, is one of the favourite students in the camp. He can be seen preaching to the kids in the camp that their generation is key to Jesus' return. Rachael believes god wants her to spread the his word, can be seen going and talking to strangers telling them that Jesus loves them. Tory loves to heavy metal music and loves to dance. But Britney Spears' and Lindsy Lohan's songs are not among the songs she likes because they are about "boys and girls".
Although I am against what they preach, I could bring myself to hate these kids. I especially liked Rachael. She genuinely believes she would helps people by talking to them about Jesus. When I look back at these kids, I could only see highly opinionated and motivated kids. It is very difficult to dislike these kids how-much ever one may hate the message conveyed by them.
I found few things Fischer said disturbing. Fischer wants these kids to grow into adults who would be ready to give up their life for their religion as some Muslims do. During an assembly the speaker asks "How many of you would give up your life for Jesus?". All the kids raise up their hands happily. I'm sad to see someone telling children that it is acceptable to give up life for any cause before the kids even know what life is. I'm also disturbed by the usage of words "war" and "soldier" in their preachings. Accepted, Fisher could just be referring to ideological war, but assuming that kids would all see that as purely ideological war is far fetched.
I found few things ironic. In one of the scenes, we could see that the children break ceramic cups with "Government" written on them, symbolically destroying the government that opposes their beliefs. In another, we get to see the same kids blessing Gorge W Bush who was head of the government at that time. In another scene, Fisher requests kids to come forward and wash their "sins" in holy water. I wonder what "sins" these kids of age 10 could have committed and to top it all the water was from a distilled water bottle (Nestle I guess) which is a product of science. In one of the scenes you get to see Ted Haggerd using a palm phone, what could arguably called a poster child for innovation in science.
To summarise, I liked the movie. The directors have been very careful not to support or ridicule the subjects in the film. An evangelical Christian could watch the movie and be inspired by the dedicated kids. A liberal could watch the movie and get horrified by the way children are groomed. The movie is just a time-capsule that gives the viewer an unbiased look into life of few Christians and lets the viewer form his own opinion.
I'd give it 9 stars out of 10.