Last week I watched what had to be one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, and this coming from a woman whose best friend growing up was a slasher flick fan and had cable before I did. I rented this documentary:
I don't know that there is much difference between watching a videotape of fundamentalist Muslims training their children to be jihadists, and watching this documentary of fundamentalist Christians, or Evangelicals, training their children to be soldiers in the army of God. Think I'm exaggerating? Consider this quote from Becky Fischer, the pastor of the Kids on Fire Bible camp featured in the film:
And before you think that the makers of the film came at this from a very liberal point of view, I would point out that the above quoted Ms. Fischer felt it was an accurate representation of her views and was delighted with the result.
Here's a quick overview of the film via the trailer:
The scenes I found most disturbing were watching these young children - some not a whole lot older than Her Majesty, but most between the ages of 7-10 - sobbing their hearts out after being preached to, sobbing as if they'd been told they were the worst children in the world. As if someone had just died. What kind of people do that to small children? What sort of God wants you to treat children like that? If that's your God I don't want any part of it.
It is the ultimate hypocrisy to decry this sort of treatment for the children of Islam and yet perpetuate the same treatment for Christian children in the name of "truth". When children of any religion are taught to be martyrs, it chills my blood:
The first amendment of the US Constitution reads, in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." The Founding Fathers may have had Christian leanings - most were of various Christian denominations - but a few of the more prominent ones, such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were very much against organized churches. Modern Evangelicals say they want to "take back America for Christ" because the United States was founded as a Christian nation, or some variation of thereof. I say Christ never had it in the first place and the claim that the US is a Christian nation is bullsh*t. The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified in 1797, states, in part, that "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..." A nation and its people can be moral without being Christian, which is what I believe the Founding Fathers were attempting to do. Morality, not necessarily Christianity.
Fundamentalism of any kind is wrong, it is warped. I know, like the fundamentalist Islamic faith I've drawn parallels to, the sorts of people depicted in this movie represent a minority. But they are a vocal minority. And when you have a vocal minority facing an apathetic majority, the vocal minority gets to set the rules. Do you want to live under their rules, where creationism explains everything and kids aren't allowed to tell stories or read stories that don't glorify God? Where 5 year olds feel they need to be "saved"? Where President George W. Bush is the best thing since sliced bread? To me, that is scarier than any horror film ever made.
UPDATE - My brother Gabe turned his comment into a separate post at his blog - go check it out!