I just finished watching a documentary called Jesus Camp, and it is horrifying. I am still in awe of what I watched, and hopefully a bit of writing can help me process. Before we get into all of that, I think a small bit of history is in order.
From Judaism came Christianity, and then Islam. Three religions that share so much more in common than they do different. Oh sure, on the outside there are glaring differences, but many of those are cultural differences not religious differences. Boil all three down and they all have the exact same message: Do not treat anybody any way you would not want to be treated. The Golden Rule, do unto others and all that. Another thing they all have in common is that they all began as the religion for patriarchal, nomadic, desert tribes. It is those cultural mores that man has slipped into these religions that create the possibility for some of the scariest people on this earth. Fundamental religious people.
Yes, other religions have their fanatics that do horrible acts, but I live in the West and it is these three that have the largest impact on my life. Also, this is my blog and I write what I want.
I also realize that these fundamentalist are a plague on each of these religions. That they really do not represent the religion because they have left the religion behind for hateful rhetoric.
So, I am not going to be talking about religious fanatics who claim the Muslim faith. I want to talk about the monster growing right here in these United States of America. Which I have just heard apt name for, Christianists.
Back to the documentary Jesus Camp. This was a very unique documentary, to me at least, in that there was no narration. They just followed a few kids around this camp and showed the footage with an occasional interview. They did not need to narrate because nothing they said could have illustrate how horrific these people are.
It starts off bad. With in the first five minuets of this film, the pastor, who runs the camp, said that she wants these kids to grow up with the same devotion as suicide bombers. It just gets worse from there.
Lets start with the parents of the kids that the filmmakers followed around. They home school their children, everyday starts off with their own version of the Pledge, then they do a pledge to the “Christian Flag,” and then they do a pledge to the Bible. For those that don’t know, the “Christian Flag,” is just a white field with a blue rectangle in the upper left part, like where the stars in our flag go, with a red Crusader’s Cross in the middle of the blue.
After the scary group chanting, they start immediately in teaching these kids to distrust all science. They teach creationism, they teach that climate change is a complete hoax, that early man lived alongside dinosaurs, and other completely ridiculous stuff. In addition, they have these 10 and 11 year olds going up to random people and trying to convert them.
Then these kids get to camp, and the fun really begins. The camp uses classic brainwashing, indoctrination techniques. Same as with cults. Group chanting, public humiliation and shamming, followed by love and forgiveness for the imagined sin. Late nights followed by early mornings, little group rituals before every meal or task. These techniques work on adults who have fully developed minds, they really work on kids. These Christianists are taking away the ability for these kids to choose for themselves, the ability to question anything that is told to them; as long as it comes from the “lord” then it must be right.
Then these kids get a special preacher. Some guy, who definitely has the look of somebody who cruises bus stations looking for young boys all by themselves. Well, this guy proceeds to teach them all about how evil abortion is and that if they don’t end it, then god will take away his blessing from this country. He then proceeds to teach them false science, and actively preached against science, and how to protest abortion clinics. You know the people, the one out there with the nasty pictures and the little plastic babes, and the judgment. Oh, the judgment.
Then the final night comes around and man do they do it up big time. They pull out a cardboard cut out of G.W. and pray to it. Not joking, they lay hands on a cardboard cut out of the President. Then comes the sermon. This pastor proceeds to whip these kids up into a frenzy then starts screaming about a coming war and asking if these kids were ready to die, yes TO DIE, and be a martyr.
Yeah, I know.
Now, it gets even scarier. There are approximately 20 million evangelicals in the United States. 90% of them home school. But wait, there’s more. The largest concentrations of evangelical churches in the United States, therefor the world, is in Colorado Springs, CO. Home of NORAD. You know, our missile defense. I am terrified that people who work there are part of these crazy ass people.
I am equally terrified about the political influence these people have gained. The Freedom Caucus, that is these folks.
This scares me because these are the same people who gleefully talk of civil war, of killing their fellow…I was going to say Americans, but fellow people. These are the people who are the same pushing and pushing to make everybody scared about other religious fanaticism. All so you ignore them. As they grow in numbers and in influence, while they begin to push their beliefs on the rest of us. So you don’t see the growing calls of violence coming from their pulpits.
Just down the road from me in a small little town called Byram, there is a small strip mall looking evangelical church. I recently watched one of sermons from their pastor. After watching it, I am just glad this guy has almost no charisma. He has since taken the video down, probably because of a bunch of people comparing him to Islamists. I know if this dumb-ass is up there preaching about a holy war against Muslims, that there is a person out there with tons of charisma preaching the same thing.
There is so much fear in this country about terrorism from people on the other side of the globe that we are completely ignoring the terrorism and terrorist that are active in our own country. These are the people who cry out the most when anybody talks about gun control laws. Laws like closing the gun show loophole. They don’t want that, how else can they build their arsenals for the war they are sure is coming. The war they are hoping is coming.
These are not just dumb, poor, backwoods rednecks. Well not all. The Christianists tend to be middle class and up. Yes, they let their dumbest and poorest be the ones always seen on TV. It is a great way to distract the people from what is going on with the rest of the congregation and leaders. Make it easy to dismiss as just a bunch of uneducated, poor people. Next thing you know, the public school that your child goes to is taking a field trip to the Creation Museum. Yes it is a real place, in Kentucky if you are wondering. Here let Trey Crowder tell you about it.
We need to stop ignoring this threat, which is getting more and more dangerous, due to recent events at the White House. If you want to know what happens when you ignore a fanatical religious element in your country, go talk to an Iranian who was alive in 1979. Dissatisfaction of the brutal, autocratic regime finally led to a revolution. Led by, at the beginning, college students and middle class professionals. It was quickly overtaken by an aggressive, extremely well organized, far right religious group. Then, you have the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Christianist in our country are 20 million strong, and much like the Flintstones’ Kids, growing. The already wield enormous political power just through their votes. They also wield enormous political power through their wallets. They are a powerful, powerful lobby group and fund lobbies that contribute to both political parties, the pro-Israel lobby for instance.
We need to confront this threat before they get anymore power and influence in this country.