Jesus Camp is a documentary about the beliefs and rituals of the Evangelistic people all around America. Many people believe that these Evangelists are taking Christianity to a whole new level. In the movie, parents raise their kids to believe that being Christian is the only right thing. You are either a believer in God or not. In the documentary, the directors, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady show how Evangelists have shifted far right and away from the ideals and principles of Christianity, through emotional imagery, religious anecdotes, and rhetorical appeals.
Jesus Camp utilizes children’s emotions immensely throughout the film to create pathos. In the film children cry out and plead to god as their hands are being cleansed as the Evangelical ministers and parents accuse them of being “fake” and “hypocrites” and questioned about how they act outside of church. Children at this Jesus camp are also required to pray, preach, and are even told to “speak in tongues” to the Lord.
The children are told to repent for all the sins they have committed through their life and are being initiated into “Gods Army.” When the kids repent, it was shown in different ways, such as speaking in tongues, praying intensely, and just pleading God for forgiveness. The only way they can be forgiven of their sins is through repentance, if they don’t repent, they will go to hell.
The tone of this documentary is sort of dark in a way. Not mysterious, but it’s apparent that the director’s cut out and made things look as if they were darker and more intense than they probably really were. Also, the children in the Documentary look as if they are heavily influenced by the family members and ministers around them. They seem to have no choice and aren’t exposed to any other religion or ideals.
The directors also creates logos, such as the confrontational sermons and rituals that make the audience question if what Evangelists are practicing is right, or even sane. Heidi and Rachel make ethos by being at the camp with video cameras to show and prove what they are seeing. By focusing on certain kids in the movie it creates ethos also, to show the audience the kids point of view and thoughts.
Furthermore, the he directors also film Becky Fischer, the minister who runs this camp, behind scenes to see her outlook on what she is doing. Of course she thinks what she is doing and saying to the kids is the right things and best thing to do for these kids. She wants to start “Gods Army,” and compares this army to Al Qaeda and how they train their children with weapons and bombs. She says children are the most important tool for Christianity, because they are so easily influenced and are so emotional about their beliefs. Many people who are spectating this religion think that this “Gods Army” is a ploy for getting evangical republicans into office in the future. Meaning the kids; the kids are everything. The kids are weapons of god said Becky and should be used to the fullest.
As the movie goes on, the things the ministers and the parents say are anything but the norm. Becky Fischer, the minister who runs the camp talks about the evils in the world at one point. She talks about how Harry Potter is an enemy of God, and would be put to death if he lived in the early A.D. time period. When she said this, the camera caught some kids faces and they changed when they heard what she said. The kids found it a little odd that they couldn’t read or watch a fictional story, But never once disobeyed these beliefs.
This documentary showed a lot about the evangical views and beliefs, but Heidi and Rachel said in an interview that they did not take a side on this matter. They didn’t want to choose whether it was wrong or not. They are letting the Audience determine this as they watch the documentary. I believe that what they are forcing upon these children is not the best thing for them. The point of this great country is to have freedom to choose, freedom to think your own way. These parents and leaders of Evangical churches are indoctrinating these ideals into the kids minds. You can do that with any child under the age of five, anything you want them to believe they will if you try hard enough.