Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Becky Fischer's Yoke In Jesus Camp

Rob Bell, pastor/communicator/author writes in his book Velvet Elvis about the rabbinical concept of "a yoke" that being "a particular teaching of the Bible." (Bell passage here)

Most people have some sort of understanding of what the Bible is, and what it means.

Tonight my wife and I watched Jesus Camp, and I think the most interesting part of watching this film was that although I found Becky Fischer's methods and tone to be inappropriate, at the same time I agreed with much of her basic teachings.

Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady did an excellent job at what my middle school English teachers always encouraged us to do: "Show, not Tell."

Ewing and Grady didn't tell us what to think, although it's a logical conclusion that the majority of a viewing audience would watch Becky Fischer at the Kid's On Fire camp at Devil's Lake, North Dakota, and think "Are these parents idiots?"

But it was interesting, because even for myself there were parts of my yoke that overlaped with Fischer's yoke.

The thing that really bothered me about Fischer, and really radically conservative Christian Fundementalist, is that that there yoke places an undo importance on God's love for America and American politics. (observe this church sign here).

And the unfortunate thing is that in Jesus Camp this is how all Evangelical Christians are painted. 25% of America may be Evangelical Christians, but many of those Christian's might consider themselves politically moderate, they might have different thoughts in speaking in tongues, and they may happen to be incredibly anti-homeschooling, etc.

It's understandable why after the filming and release of this movie Becky Fischer would deem it neccesary to close her camp, but that does not mean that the issues that arise in this film are not prevelant. I think this film is a good beginning of dialogue for many people, especially Christians because there is a tension in knowing what is and is not appropriate in raising children. Ultimatly those decisions lie in the hands of parents, and this film creates a great opportunity to discuss the role parents should and should not play in raising their children in a home with a faith dynamic.

Besides the illumination of Fischer's yoke placing extreme importance on American politics and George Bush, I also didn't like how she was using Muslim parents as examples of how Christians should raise their children. Christian militantism is certainly not a part of my yoke, and hence this was very disturbing.

Also, Ted Haggard made me very uncomfortable in this film. Fischer seemed like she trully believed in the things she was teaching her kids, while Haggard pastor of New Life Church and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals was very inscincere and gave me tons of icky feelings, not to mention the recent allegations that Haggard has a habit of engaging in the same homosexual behavior he strongly preaches against.

Be sure to read my wife's perspective on this film which she posted immediatly after watching this film, as well as previous StrangeCulture post mentioning the newly-Academy-Award-nominated film: Jesus Camp.

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38 comments:

Paula said...

Yeah, as someone who doesn't live in America, I find the whole "God Loves America!" thing very exclusivist and repulsive. Yes, God loves America, but he loves Iraq just as much! He loves Darfur, he loves India, he loves Canada, he loves France, he loves Russia...well, you get the idea. Every time I read or hear "God Bless America!" I have to turn away or I get angry--not because I don't want God to bless America, but it seems to me they've had their share, and maybe some other countries should get a chance at the front of the line for awhile, eh? First shall be last and all that.

Not meaning to offend anyone. Just hoping to share my perspective.

Marina said...

I agree that the filmmakers did a good job of 'showing' but I don't think the film was as balanced as I had hoped it would be.

They essentially gave Becky Fischer lots of rope and let her hang herself. And you said it yourself "
And the unfortunate thing is that in Jesus Camp this is how all Evangelical Christians are painted."

I do agree with you thought, it's a good documentary.

Ando said...

Thanks for the analysis. I've been half-wanting to see this film, but now I think I'll probably watch it for sure.

Woodstock said...

I still haven't watched Jesus Camp and have no perspective to see it until DVD, since documentaries rarely make it to the theatres here. But this has been getting me curious for a while and after the Oscar nod even more.

2 Dollar Productions said...

This was the most in-depth look at this project that I've read as I was curious about it.

And Ted Haggard has scared me for quite some time.

jasdye said...

i have a feeling that certain Christians' yokes (often my own) are not light nor easy to bear.

although the DVD has come out (at least States-side), i'm in no particular mood to watch it yet - as i feel that i already have with all the hype surrounding it.

jasdye said...

o yeah, and we're becoming big rob bell-heads (along w/ n.t. wright-ers) here at the jasdye household for the last several months.

always excited that we're not the only ones jumping on this bandwagon (apparently, so are some members of Deliriou5?).

reeve said...

Adults, despite all their baggage and issues, at least can draw on breadth of experience and intelligent thought to make decisions in their own lives. The problem with force-feeding ideas and propaganda into children's heads is that they are spnges and will absorb whatever comes their way. What happens when a child who has been taught his or her entire life that homosexuality is a sin and all homosexuals will go straight to hell realize that the exact person who taught them that was a homosexual himself? They have no context from which to make sense of that disparity. Fischer herself is likely a lesbian who cannot come to terms with it, and instead forces her head up the ass of religious extremism, dragging all these kids along with her, only to find what on the other side? God isn't saving her little camp. This isn't the work of the devil; it's people using their brains and making a sensible statement that a world made up of extremists is a world in constant turnover. It is through acceptance, empathy, and open-mindedness that we all move closer to a world at peace and a world of love.

Ando said...

Just watched Jesus Camp and had a reaction similar to yours. I agreed with much of what Fischer said, but was utterly turned off by her methods. Plus, not once did she open a Bible during her messages. Granted, we only saw snippets, but still. Very interesting movie.

thom said...

The docementary is in national tv in Sweden right now... And I want to cry. Im worried...

hirmente said...

Does Becky Fischer consider that walrus look of hers as a god's gift or a god's answer to her prayers?

Anonymous said...

My initial reaction..... Becky Fischer is a dyke.

SME said...

I love Becky Fischer's approach to the kids, telling them that they can be the greatest generation and change the world. She doesn't talk down to them. I'm upset that anti-religious thugs forced the closure of her camp. Despite this, I find the entwining of politics and religion (ANY religion) disturbing, because the irrational (beliefs based on faith, emotion) and the rational (the political process) cannot be fully merged without dangerously compromising both.
Not to mention that modern politics is all about money and influence, and its aims and means aren't consistent with any religion.
Christians are upset about the Muslim theocracies of the Muslim world, yet they want to set up the same situation in the U.S.? Doesn't make sense to me.

reality calling said...

becky fischer is a feral lesbian with a severe complex, and all religion is mental illness, holding back the progress of the entire human race.

Patricia said...

I just watched "Jesus Camp" on TV. NOWHERE in the Scrptures do the apostles ever use drumbeats chants and bad music to whip people up into a frenzy. Becky implied that little kids should fast to get God's favors. That could cause eating disorders in kids. And when will Becky realize George Bush is NOT God, he's been a member of the Skull and Bones Society since his college days.

Lisa said...

I think all Becky was saying in this documentary is that we, as Christians, simply need to fervently do what God said in His Word. She didn't come across to me as saying we should raise our children as muslims raise theirs. (milita style) I took it as her saying they are deceived but they are still doing what they think is right and she is doing what the Bible says to do. We are to arm these kids but instead of with guns and ammo like the muslims, Ephesians 6 says to put on the full armor of God. With the weapon being His Word. The Bible says to read, pray in the spirit, and fast. Fasting isn't necessarily to receive favor from God but an act of obedience and it's spiritual warfare, even if results are not instant, they will come in Gods time and what is wrong with teaching our children to be obedient to GOD? Eating disorders from fasting. Come on, that is a disorder from the devil. I am an overcomer from an eating disorder before walking with the Lord and I also fast and guess what! I still don't have an eating disorder. The Lord has delivered me and I am aware of satans tactics! The Bible says to pray in the spirit. The Word says that even after the death, resurrection and His ascending. So it's not just for when jesus walked the earth. We are told to arm our children with the TRUTH and proverbs 22:6 says to train a child up in the Lord and when he is old he will not turn from it. Even when they make mistakes, everyone does. They will still always turn back to the Lord if they have had a real encounter with God, a love encounter because God is love and America needs to bless Him instead of just asking for blessings. He's not a genie. What the Bible says is the truth and I believe the whole thing, not just parts of it that fit what I think it should. No matter how much man, society and satan twist the Truth, it's still the truth and one day every knee will bow and tongue confess and remember the Word also says whoever hinders a child and causes them to sin miight as well have a milstone tied to their neck. These kids are our future and obviously what they are beiong taught in school isn't working. They are just being handed birth control instead of being taught to wait. Yes, they do things anyway but why not instill in their heads what God says to!!!!!!! Jesus said we will do greater things than He. I don't believe that was just for the apostles. The world is much worse today and we need His power and it is all for His glory!

Anonymous said...

So many people on the internet are calling this child abuse yet it reminds me of every church camp I went to as a kid and I don't think I was abused. The problem is clearly the bad mix of politics and religion. Hence, the "abuse" is in the eyes of people who are offended by Becky's politics. These kids might vote Republican, so we gotta shut the camp down. I really didn't think it was so bad. Take away Becky's extreme politics and all you have left is a church camp, akin to what I remember from my own youth.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I forgot to mention; someone on YouTube said these kids are "creepy' because they run around telling people about God's love for them. That's not creepy, that's actually very sweet. Most kids these days would rather throw eggs at your car than try to tell you about Jesus. These kids didn't have one mean thing to say to anyone.

Anonymous said...

i watched jesus camp and it scared me. The idolising of the photo of the wolds biggest terrorist bush and the scene wher they were talking to the kids about abortion are so out of line it is criminal let kids be kids and gro up to make thierown judgements give them choices not propaganda

Anonymous said...

Did anyone watch after the credits. I saw something that truly made me stop and just stare even more than the rest of the movie. I believe it is the boy name Levi and he is holding a sign that says "Jesus IS God". Now I thought that "good" christians weren't supposed to put anything before God and since Jesus is supposed to be just the son of god, then wouldn't that mean that they are going against their own teachings. I know it's not like they haven't done it before, you know that whole judge not lest ye be judged thing but still. I thought the idols thing was one of their big whammy sins. here is a link to the photo that i picked off the film. Let me know what you think. hope it works.

http://viewmorepics.myspace.
com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.
editAlbumPhoto&albumID=1761822&
imageID=27959964&MyToken=14f27a72-
bb3b-4d94-8aaa-6640e6568d7e

Anonymous said...

What I do not understand is that there is no child care organisation that interferes. the children should be taken away from parents who let this happen, this, the destruction of intellect.

Anonymous said...

People, what Becky meant by "army" was "God's army" in spiritual sense. That is, God's army to fight the darkness and evil (the devil). NOT (repeated: NOT) physically against any human beings. So it's NOT a literal army. I hope it;s clear as it can get now.

The thing about President Bush, they were praying FOR him, NOT with him. It's a common practice among some churches to pray for the president and the government by laying hands on their pictures.
They were just using that Pres. Bush's life-sized image to give the kids clearer and more vivid understanding. It was NOT about politics, but it was only because Pres. Bush was the president at the time the film was made. If it were Obama, you would see his image also in the movie.

I do admire Becky's fiery passion

Anonymous said...

The real problem i see is... what happened to free will and choosing what is right or wrong? Brainwashing these kids, does that really make them love a so-called god? They are kids! They don't know what they are really doing, they just do what they believe is the authority tells them to do. This "brainwashing" breeds ignorance and narrow-mindedness, which in turn leads to animosity between different religions. Why do radical Muslims hate Christians? Same reason we hate them, which is giving rise to mistrust of anyone non-christian. The world will never know peace as long as we breed ignorance and spew on how each side is right and really god's will.

Patrick said...

Just watched the film on the Biography Channel. While I certainly found the indoctrination of the children disturbing, I was more than a bit fascinated with Becky Fischer. I suspected at the beginning of the film, and became convinced as the film wore on that all of this 'ministry' of hers was much more about her and her own self-aggrandizement than about any dubious need of hers to 'save' these children.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the part about Fasting, clearly Becky has not fasted in a while.

One thing for sure, I am not buying property in Colorado Springs anytime soon!

Anonymous said...

3 things jumped out at me.
1) The kid Levi always knew exacty where the camera was and when it was on him, just like Pat Robertson. I fear he will grow up to be a very dangerous man aka David Koresh.
2) Becky Fischer has got to be one of the biggest lesbians I have ever seen on TV. She has serious demons she is trying to work out. It is also pretty obvious, she is trying to make a buck off these ignorant people.
3) These people seriously want to turn America into a Christian version of Iran.

Ted Haggard just proves the evil of these people

Anonymous said...

I have watched this film once and am now watching again. It totally gives me the creeps. It is like making little ss kids under the guise of christianity. As for Becky. Don't know her but I wouldn't let her anywhere near my kids if they were small. I believe in teaching my kids myself and teaching them to think for themselves. That way their beliefs will be their own. My kids are grown and neither have ever given up their belief in Jesus. This is total mind control which sorry to say alot of churches are into...

Anonymous said...

I just watched this movie, and it just confirms my belief that a huge percentage of Americans are gullible morons! I think that church in general is the greatest money making device ever created. Complete bullshit! You don't have to go to church to be a decent person, but most Americans do, because if they weren't brainwashed, they probably would be committing crimes. That's why the bible was devised in the first place, to keep morons in control through fear. Wow, I feel much better now.

Anonymous said...

I felt sick as I watched Ms. Fischer's techniques to put all the negativity onto those children.
This kind of narrow thinking will not create peace, it will create separation, which we does not heal anything. An appreciation of and for LIFE, for our bodies that are the greatest gift we have received, and an open heart and mind will heal ourselves and the world. It is obvious Ms. Fischer is NOT connected to her body, nor to life only to a religious dogma that does not serve man or creator.
It is disturbing that such things are going on for our sweet children on this planet, they need direction and love, not hell fire and damnation.

Khalid said...

becky fischer knows nothing about Islam or Muslims so her assertions that Muslim parents are 'training' their children to take up the sword in the name of God is completely baseless. What irks me more is the arrogance. You don't know. You think you know. You have faith in your beliefs and thats fine but u don't have THE answer for everyone.

Anonymous said...

i went to camp as a kid too. We played softball and basketball, learned arts and crafts, went swimming, ate bad camp food, and at night, we got to socialize with the girls' camp. Did the kids who went to "Kids on Fire" camp get to do any of these fun things?

pipsqueak said...

Hope this doesn't diminish the credibility of this article, but please correct the following homonyms:

"The thing that really bothered me about Fischer, and really radically conservative Christian Fundementalist, is that that there [SHOULD BE SPELLED 'THEIR' WHICH IS A POSSESIVE'] yoke places an undo [SHOULD BE SPELLED 'UNDUE'] importance on God's love for America and American politics."

Anonymous said...

Sick sick sick sick sick!!!!!! This is no better then a taliban trainings camp!!! Very very sick. Only in america... This country is sick and lives on warr and terror. God bless america? Yeah right. God and believe brings warr, that's a stone cold fact. they should bann it all across the world.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it's sick!

Anonymous said...

Becky is just a big fat bully! She intimidates, frightens and talks a load of shit to those kids! She picks on the kids beacause adults would just tell her to fuck off! This is child abuse, not one of those kids seemed to have a child hood! Let kids be kids and stop turning them in to these creepy outcasts that go around telling strangers 'Jesus loves you', which is not a safe thing to do in this day and age! Those kids were terrified of her and her crazy stories about if you sin you'll go to hell, this is not appropriate for children! And all that shit they were talking about abortions, if you have never been in that situation you have no fucking right to comment! She is a closed minded idiot that needs locking up and medical treatment! There is proof of evolution! What do you have? You have a fictional story book that is full of bullshit stories that you idiots take as 'the word'' pathetic! Fuck off becky and leave those kids alone!

Anonymous said...

I watched Jesus Camp and was disturbed. I grew up in a pentacostal church and went to church camp. Never did we pray for cardboard cutouts or break mugs. I didn't want to pass judgement on Becky until I read her curriculum. I got the chance and was even more disturbed. Becky claims that children sit for years in the church and get bored with the same old Bible stories. She doesn't teach Bible stories at all; just parts of scriptures taken out of context. I reviewed the preschool curriculum and it was teaching these small children to speak in tongues and interpret seams. I'm not making this stuff up. It actually tells the teacher to play worship music then it parentheses it says (speak in tongues for 20-30 seconds). Like it is a swich to be turned on and off. Then it says to tell the kids to close their eyes and start speaking the funny language. they hear in their head. This is foe preschoolers, we're talking 3-5year olds!

Anonymous said...

Cont from above...Becky does have some good, Biblical sound stuff in the curriculum but isn't that what false teachers do? They mix the good with the bad so you wont notice? A common theme I find in researching BF and KIMI is that they focus on children being in the presence of God. Ive been a Christian for a long time and there have been times in my life where I had to have total faith in God because in some situations I didn't 'feel' his presence. I learned about having faithfrom those 'boring' Bible stories Becky throws to the side. Those stories teach us the foundations of our faith. Also I would like to ask the question: Would you send your child to war against Iran? Terrorists? Bin Laden? No? Neither would I. So why is it that we should teach children that they can fight a spiritual battle against the devil when they haven't even experienced life enough to have their faith tested? One last question. Why do people teach children that they have to be crying or shaking or rocking (like in the movie) to be in the presence of God. God is supposed to always be with us. No need for the hype.

Anonymous said...

As a once brainwashed christian, I can honestly say that most people are gullible idiots. There is NO eye in the sky judging your every move. The whole idea of it was created to keep people in check, so that we can police ourselves. It's a tool that governments have used for centuries to wage war. You know who you are, do you really believe in GOD-the all loving diety who loves you so much that if you don't believe in him he'd cast you to eternal damnation? Really? Do your homework, look beyond the bible and dig into other religions. You will eventually realize that all religions are monetary tools. There's no heaven, no hell....just be good, work hard, love you kids and stop using religion, race or any other type of differences to find fault in other people. We are all here for a finite period of time...that is a fact, not a belief. Oh yea, before I forget...if there is a devil, then look no further than Becky, the fat pig that preaches about fasting lol.

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