Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jesus Camp (2006)

Director(s): Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady. 87 min. Rated PG-13. Documentary.

Watching this Oscar-nominated documentary was the strangest experience. No, not because it perplexes you how kids' minds are molested, indoctrinating them into an Evangelical brainwashing boot camp; but because save for some creepy soundtrack music, there's almost no intervention by the filmmakers (in terms of narration) to show how evil the events are. They just use evocative camera angles, ominous close-ups, and suggestive editing techniques such as juxtaposed sequences, to give an aura of evil throughout the film. And the ironic part is, Evangelicals are probably proud how truthfully they've been presented here. The magic of (unilateral) documentary film-making.

PS: Thank you, Shahriar, for the recommendation.

Mo says:


  1. A well deserved MOJO for a brilliant documentary. It was a little scary how some of the kids seemed to be encouraged to one day give their lives for Christ. A kind of fight fire with fire against the "Islamists". The message of peace commonly associated with Christianity seems to have been totally lost in hatred for the enemies of Christ.

    I know quite a few devoted Christians who would be horrified by this film and sadly one who would agree totally with the way the kids were being "taught".
    Keep your eyes open for Levi, I expect he will be a powerful evangelist one day soon.

  2. The common point I've found between what is purported here about Evangelical Christianity and some Islamic sects (or other religions), is the concept of "Sin". The way the innocent children's minds are injected with the concept of sin, to the point that they're bawling their eyes out and lose consciousness, is very similar to Islam, where in cult-like sessions followers are told they have to repent for all their sins, and are driven to the point of self-beating and self-flagellation.

    I don't have a documented reference, but I heard in another documentary that these strong feelings of guilt and worthlessness are solely created to control the masses, because individuals will lose their self-esteem in the process, and become submissive to higher authority.

  3. I agree with you.

    Children being frightened and made to feel worthless is the real sin here. Most Kids want to please their parents and to fit in, many of these kids will rebel when they reach puberty if their minds are not totally screwed up with feelings of guilt and shame.

    It seems to me that all organised religion is a way to control people. Why are they so afraid to allow people to think for themselves?

  4. Exactly. I have no problem with anybody having a personal religion. It's when it becomes "organized" as a means for power and mobilizing the masses, that the evil starts flowing.

  5. Dear Mohsen , I am very glad that you have watched this documentary .In my opinion , brain-washing is always frightening .From the ancient ages of human civilization , there have always been some religious or society leaders who have used this method to reach their goal which has been strong desire to power and domination.And , unfortunately , they have been very successful.Not only the religions, but also all the ideologies like Nazism , Fascism, and Communism have always used these brain-washing methods.As you see in this documentary , all fundamentalists are the same.When I watched this film for the first time , I felt that I am watching a film about Islamic fundamentalists. A very interesting aspect of this film was the close relationship between them and The Republicans.It means that : there is always a political power behind the scene of theses extremists and supports their activities .

  6. Dear Shahriar,

    Thanks again. There's one point about religious ideologies that always perplex me: the problem that it's very difficult to differentiate who honestly preaches extremism from the heart from a true belief ... and who is just abusing extremism for power. I'm not talking about the highest authorities of organized religion, who almost always have the lust for power. I'm talking about the middle men (like the female Evangelical teacher in this film). We really don't know if these people are honest (naive) believers, or mere opportunists. But we judge both the same, and believe both deserve the same punishment, for brainwashing other people (like the kids shown in the film).


  7. Dear Mohsen
    Thanks so much for your wise gesture.I agree that some of the people have their honest beliefs about the religions and ideologies , but the problem is when they insist guiding other people even by force or when their beliefs are abused by the authoroties for political reasons.Unfortunately , they have harmed other people who didn't believe in their religions and ideologies throughout the history. I personally don't believe in any ideology but don't have any problem with the believers unless they hurt me in some way . The problem is when a person is brain-washed by some kind of religion or ideology , he/she thinks that he/she should fight in this way to defeat other forms of thinking or living. So , they let themselves to enter the field of other people's personal freedom .