Film

Human Touch
Above and below, scenes from "Jesus Camp."

Onward Christian soldiers

Posted November 9, 2006

A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America whereby Christian youth must take up the leadership of the conservative Christian movement.

"Jesus Camp," directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory, and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, N. D., where kids as young as six years old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. The film follows these children at camp as they hone their prophetic gifts and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.

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Becky Fischer is a children's pastor, who specializes in tapping into the hearts and minds of kids on their level. She recognizes that this generation accesses information through video, images, and music. Intercut with scenes of the kids is the radio commentary of Mike Papantonio, a Christian who believes that the Evangelical movement has strayed from the original teachings of love that Jesus died for. He worries that the movement's position on the environment, creationism, and other fundamental tenets are short-sighted and will hurt the conservative movement in the end.

And where does the government land in all this? The Evangelicals apply unceasing pressure to their elected officials, and have made great strides during the Bush years. What kind of force will these kids be in politics and religion when they grow up? The kids of Jesus Camp are smart, empowered, speak in tongues, and are determined to change the world.

"Jesus Camp," Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:30 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring Street, Vineyard Haven. Presented by the Martha's Vineyard Film Society. Tickets: $6 or $4 for society members. For more information, visit mvfilmsociety.com.