Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jesus Camp and the 2016 election

In 2006, a documentary called Jesus Camp was released.  It followed three children who spent their summer at an Evangelical camp, and was largely a commentary on Evangelical Christian culture.
Now, I don't have a problem with the camp's existence.  My own children attend Jewish day camps every year.  Every summer, they pack up their modest bathing suits and their siddurim for a summer of fun with other Jewish kids in a Jewish environment.  So, if Christian parents wish to have their children in a religious environment, fine by me.
The documentary followed three of the camp attendees.  Levi was homeschooled using Christian curriculum materials that completely misrepresent science.  Rachael read Chick tracts and tried to convert strangers in a bowling alley.  Tory was in a Christian dance troupe where the costumes were military-knockoff camo gear.  But that wasn't my problem.
My problem is with the culture of the camp itself.
The documentary included scenes of the children praying over a life-size cardboard statue of then president George W. Bush.  The camp's culture encouraged patriotism and fealty to the Republican Party and its ideals.  At one point, the camp brought in an anti-abortion speaker who talked about the "millions of babies being killed" in a way that made the children cry.  He also taped the kids' mouths with red tape that said "LIFE" and handed out miniscule rubber baby dolls that represented embryos.  There was also a scene in which the campers are picketing the Supreme Court regarding an abortion case.  Camp director Becky Fischer was quoted as saying that she took her cues from Islamic extremists, who brainwash their followers into suicide bombings.  Although Fischer is not advocating direct acts of violence, she is pushing the children into specific political thought.  Christianity is now about conforming to an anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, pro-Republican agenda.
Here's the other problem.  This documentary was released in 2006.  It is now 2017.  Every single one of the kids in that documentary is now old enough to vote, and more than likely did so in the last election.  Their main concerns would not have been equal rights, or preserving health insurance for the working poor, or increasing employment opportunities.  Their concerns would have been reversing the Obergefell decision, giving protected status to Christian companies a la the Hobby Lobby case, reversing Roe v. Wade, and the spread of Christianity at the expense of non-Christians.

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