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by Eugene Hernandez
July 26, 2006 7:53 AM
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Magnolia Eyeing Both Sides of the Aisle with "Jesus Camp" Doc

Rachael, one of the evangelical Christian children who attends the "Kids on Fire" camp in Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing's "Jesus Camp." Photo provided by Magnolia Pictures

"Jesus Camp," the new documentary about three Missouri kids who travel to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" evangelical summer camp, has been acquired by Magnolia Pictures for a September theatrical release that will target both conservative Christian and liberal doc audiences alike. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's follow-up to "The Boys of Baraka" debuted at this year's Tribeca Film Festival where it won a Special Documentary Jury Prize and went on to pick up the SilverDocs Sterling Award at SilverDocs last month. Produced by A&E IndieFilms, "Jesus Camp" offers a unique window into the North Dakota camp where young kids are actively trained, in the words of an announcement, "to become dedicated soldiers in 'God's army'."

"When so many supposedly journalistic documentaries can't resist the urge to editorialize, it's refreshing to see a pair of filmmakers tackle this hot button subject with such a respect for their subject matter and the people involved," said Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles, in a statement today. "'Jesus Camp' is sure to be intensely fascinating and thought-provoking to people on all sides of this issue."

Magnolia intends to specifically court both Evangelical Pentecostals and the more traditionally liberal audiences that tend to embrace documentaries. A mid-September debut in New York City, as well as Kansas City and Colorado Springs, is in the works. In a conversation with indieWIRE today, Bowles explained that he has decided to pull the doc from next week's scheduled screening at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival so as not to taint the perception of the film in the run up to the release. Moore saw the film at the Tribeca Film Festival and praised it in a subsequent conversation with indieWIRE, but Bowles reiterated that he doesn't want to send the wrong message by showing the movie at Moore's event.

"We are not going to stack the deck. We want people to make up their own minds," Bowles said, explaining that when marketing the movie he will be true to its balanced approach and maintain an unbiased approach. "I have no problem with Michael Moore, its just that (he) is such a polarizing figure and I don't want to turn off a certain segment of the audience that is going to like the film and find it interesting."

"Jesus Camp" co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady ("The Boys of Baraka") immediately following the world premiere of "Jesus Camp" at the Tribeca Film Festival. Photo by Brian Brooks

As indieWIRE's doc columnist Jonny Leahan noted in an article about the film prior to its Tribeca fest world premiere, "The camp becomes almost a side issue here, as a much larger picture is painted in 'Jesus Camp' - one about the role of religion in American politics, specifically the fight of the Christian conservatives to win the hearts and minds of the next generation as they prepare to be the governors and senators of tomorrow. It begs the question: what, if anything, are the liberals doing to pass on their values to children in an organized and effective way?"

Magnolia's Bowles and head of acquisitions Tom Quinn, along with head of business and legal affairs Jason Janego negotiated the deal with John Sloss of Cinetic Media and Molly Thompson from A&E IndieFilms.

"[The Christian right] feel empowered right now and they gave us a lot of access - more than had we done [the film] some years earlier," explained co-director Heidi Ewing, following the film's first screening at the Tribeca Film Festival back in April. She added that while Pastor Fischer was unable to attend the Tribeca fest, she has been supportive of the project.

"I think they captured the beautiful concepts of what we represent," Fischer told indieWIRE in a subsequent interview. And when asked about a particularly inflammatory scene that involves a life-size standup photo of President George W. Bush and a large American flag in the background -- with the crowd raising their hands towards the Bush effigy in prayer -- she added, "I didn't realize how the secular world viewed what we were doing...When we took out [an] image of Bush, it turned political, but to us, it's not political - it's Biblical."

"What I think is admirable is the way ("Jesus Camp") walks the line," Bowles concluded, during today's conversation with indieWIRE. "It doesn't make up your mind for you."

ABOUT THE WRITER: Eugene Hernandez is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of indieWIRE.

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37 Comments

  • smiles | September 28, 2006 9:47 AMReply

    The bible tells us that we do not fight against flesh and blood but spirital darkness and wickedness in high places. So to be a soldier in God's army does NOT mean that you are trained to kill people and do evil. It means that you follow after God If you choose to believe in him, It is not a forced thing its a belief based on a personal relationsip with him. God's word teaches us to love (even our enemies) lets defind enemies- those are people who come against us for what we believe because they choose to believe in something different or nothing at all, so they hate us for what we believe. We dont hate those people for this but we pray for them and show them love and kindness as Jesus says to do. To be in God's army teaches you meekness, love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, temperence, faith, charity, compassion, gentleness, long suffering (being mocked and percecuted as Jesus was) . Yes I do have to say that not everyone who claims to be "Christian" is christ like but God's word said that this would come and people will rise us and persecute us for his name sake. Just as the word of God tells us things are coming and lining up with the word of God. Most people dissect people who claim to be christian, as if we are all super human and make no mistakes, We strive to be as good as Jesus was when he walked on earth. We strive to be the best we can be according to how God's word says to live our lives. Yet we are still just human as anyone else who doesnt serve God. The exception is that when we make wrong judgements in life non believers crucify us with slander, and in other countries they are not only mocked but beaten and put to death just for acknowledging Jesus Christ. I wonder how Long before America turns so against God and peoples right to worship God before America turns into a nation like all the others that we are not free to worship and live as we choose or we can live like we choose as long as we deny Jesus!!!!

  • smiles | September 28, 2006 9:46 AMReply

    The bible tells us that we do not fight against flesh and blood but spirital darkness and wickedness in high places. So to be a soldier in God's army does NOT mean that you are trained to kill people and do evil. It means that you follow after God If you choose to believe in him, It is not a forced thing its a belief based on a personal relationsip with him. God's word teaches us to love (even our enemies) lets defind enemies- those are people who come against us for what we believe because they choose to believe in something different or nothing at all, so they hate us for what we believe. We dont hate those people for this but we pray for them and show them love and kindness as Jesus says to do. To be in God's army teaches you meekness, love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, temperence, faith, charity, compassion, gentleness, long suffering (being mocked and percecuted as Jesus was) . Yes I do have to say that not everyone who claims to be "Christian" is christ like but God's word said that this would come and people will rise us and persecute us for his name sake. Just as the word of God tells us things are coming and lining up with the word of God. Most people dissect people who claim to be christian, as if we are all super human and make no mistakes, We strive to be as good as Jesus was when he walked on earth. We strive to be the best we can be according to how God's word says to live our lives. Yet we are still just human as anyone else who doesnt serve God. The exception is that when we make wrong judgements in life non believers crucify us with slander, and in other countries they are not only mocked but beaten and put to death just for acknowledging Jesus Christ. I wonder how Long before America turns so against God and peoples right to worship God before America turns into a nation like all the others that we are not free to worship and live as we choose or we can live like we choose as long as we deny Jesus!!!!

  • smiles | September 28, 2006 9:43 AMReply

    The bible tells us that we do not fight against flesh and blood but spirital darkness and wickedness in high places. So to be a soldier in God's army does NOT mean that you are trained to kill people and do evil. It means that you follow after God If you choose to believe in him, It is not a forced thing its a belief based on a personal relationsip with him. God's word teaches us to love (even our enemies) lets defind enemies- those are people who come against us for what we believe because they choose to believe in something different or nothing at all, so they hate us for what we believe. We dont hate those people for this but we pray for them and show them love and kindness as Jesus says to do. To be in God's army teaches you meekness, love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, temperence, faith, charity, compassion, gentleness, long suffering (being mocked and percecuted as Jesus was) . Yes I do have to say that not everyone who claims to be "Christian" is christ like but God's word said that this would come and people will rise us and persecute us for his name sake. Just as the word of God tells us things are coming and lining up with the word of God. Most people dissect people who claim to be christian, as if we are all super human and make no mistakes, We strive to be as good as Jesus was when he walked on earth. We strive to be the best we can be according to how God's word says to live our lives. Yet we are still just human as anyone else who doesnt serve God. The exception is that when we make wrong judgements in life non believers crucify us with slander, and in other countries they are not only mocked but beaten and put to death just for acknowledging Jesus Christ. I wonder how Long before America turns so against God and peoples right to worship God before America turns into a nation like all the others that we are not free to worship and live as we choose or we can live like we choose as long as we deny Jesus!!!!

  • skeeterou | September 26, 2006 2:41 AMReply

    "Nearly every man who wrote our constitution, which insures freedom of religion, were practicing Christians. Read the history. Those who most strongly defend it today are practicing Christians. Our founding documents are replete with references to God and the Bible."

    I hate to burst your bubble, but the majority of the founding fathers were DEISTS. Not xtian. When they mention the word God, they are not speaking about Jesus or Jehova, they are speaking about the more broad sense of God, which includes Mother Nature. So why don't YOU go read the history books.

  • skeeterou | September 26, 2006 2:33 AMReply

    "Nearly every man who wrote our constitution, which insures freedom of religion, were practicing Christians. Read the history. Those who most strongly defend it today are practicing Christians. Our founding documents are replete with references to God and the Bible."

    I hate to burst your bubble, but the majority of the founding fathers were DEISTS. Not xtian. When they mention the word God, they are not speaking about Jesus or Jehova, they are speaking about the more broad sense of God, which includes Mother Nature. So why don't YOU go read the history books.

  • ninodealma | September 24, 2006 1:21 AMReply

    haha, you are all fighting. This is what they intended to happen when they made the movie. They new that the die-hard Christians and left wing liberals would sign on to a website and begin to fight. Dose anyone see my point or am I the only one laughing right now? Oh wait I suppose the producers of the movie are too because they know that when October rolls around they will be shoving money into their pockets. Humanity makes me sick.

  • ninodealma | September 24, 2006 1:12 AMReply

    haha, you are all fighting. This is what they intended to happen when they made the movie. They new that the die-hard Christians and left wing liberals would sign on to a website and begin to fight. Dose anyone see my point or am I the only one laughing right now? Oh wait I suppose the producers of the movie are too because they know that when October rolls around they will be shoving money into their pockets. Humanity makes me sick.

  • ninodealma | September 24, 2006 1:06 AMReply

    haha, you are all fighting. This is what they intended to happen when they made the movie. They new that the die-hard Christians and left wing liberals would sign on to a website and begin to fight. Dose anyone see my point or am I the only one laughing right now? Oh wait I suppose the producers of the movie are too because they know that when October rolls around they will be shoving money into their pockets. Humanity makes me sick.

  • ninodealma | September 24, 2006 1:04 AMReply

    haha you are all fighting. This is what they intended to happen when they made the movie. They new they new die-hard Christians and left wing liberals would sign on to a website and begin to fight. Dose anyone see my point or am I the only one laughing right now?

  • intothewonderland | September 22, 2006 3:02 AMReply

    How in the world does homosexuality hurt anyone? It doesn't. People fear what they do not understand. As far as what God says about homosexuality in the Bible should be taken with a grain of salt. The Bible is full of contradictions. The problem with Christianity as a whole is it is a fear based religion. Do this and you go to hell, don't do this and you go to hell. Now before anyone goes preaching to me to read the bible, save it. Been there done, done that, got the tee shirt. I was raised Catholic and have read every version of the bible that is out there. Funny thing about the bible that most hardcore Christians seem to forget is that it has been edited and revised over and over. Books of the bible were actually burned by Constantine in 316 AD. Also why is it that the scrolls of Nag Hamadi aren't recognized. I can tell you why...it turns Christianity on its ear. Any type of organized religion is a form of brain washing in my opinion and to do this to children who do not have a choice is abuse.

    Nietzsche said it best..
    In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.

  • intothewonderland | September 22, 2006 2:53 AMReply

    How in the world does homosexuality hurt anyone? It doesn't. People fear what they do not understand. As far as what God says about homosexuality in the Bible should be taken with a grain of salt. The Bible is full of contradictions. The problem with Christianity as a whole is it is a fear based religion. Do this and you go to hell, don't do this and you go to hell. Now before anyone goes preaching to me to read the bible, save it. Been there done, done that, got the tee shirt. I was raised Catholic and have read every version of the bible that is out there. Funny thing about the bible that most hardcore Christians seem to forget is that it has been edited and revised over and over. Books of the bible were actually burned by Constantine in 316 AD. Also why is it that the scrolls of Nag Hamadi aren't recognized. I can tell you why...it turns Christianity on its ear. Any type of organized religion is a form of brain washing in my opinion and to do this to children who do not have a choice is abuse.

    Nietzsche said it best..
    In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.

  • siglost | September 22, 2006 1:23 AMReply

    For all who lay excuse at the feet of the sinner, you become the same as the problem you excuse. Homosexuality hurts everyone, and as stated is an abomination to the Lord. Which is truth. My God made you in his own likeness. You choose to be an abomination. The same way a serial killer chooses to murder. Does the fact that I dont know anyone personally that has been killed by a serial killer justify the lifestyle of the serial killer? Does the fact that I am personally "physically" unaffected justify the lifestyle? Heavens no!

    But what the serial killer does hurts everyone. My heart hurts for Sharon Tate. My feelings are affected by the death of 5 children at the hands of their "post partum depressed" mother. And it does have a significant impact on how I treat my children and the dangers that I teach them about, and how they live their lives. As I also teach them about the dangers of homosexuality.

    For anyone out there wishing to say Christians have their own bent ideas about which rules to follow and which rules not to follow: WIDE is the path to destruction. Narrow is the path that leads to everlasting life. Not every pastor/preist/minister/chruch leader is going to be acknowledge by the Son to the Father. They will come and say, "Didnt I do wonders in your name" And he will reply, "I never knew you, depart from me evil ones."

    You can blindly reject anyones words. A fool believes what is easy to believe. It is easier to believe a physical being standing in front of you has the right to make a choice. A choice to destroy what God has created? Ignorance is bliss.

    I have read many classical literatures over the years. And I invite you, dear reader, to read a classical book that deals with proof. The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. By Josh McDowell. Its not light reading for the average person. But it gives an arsonal if irrefutable argument.

    Be intelligent in your argument, and your decisions. They affect more than just you.

  • bf | September 21, 2006 11:51 AMReply

    I don't understand why christians have all the sudden decided the last few years to pick on homosexuals. If two people of the same sex decide to get married, does that really affect everyone else's marraige? Absolutly not. The same way, if an axe murderer marries an 18 year old virgin, does that affect your marrage? Absolutely not. Being homosexual is not a choice. It's the way YOUR GOD made us. YOUR GOD made you the way you are and you are accepted, unless of course you're a christian looking at a homosexual. As a homosexual, I don't judge christians, nor do I expect them to judge me.

  • cajeepy | September 15, 2006 7:11 AMReply

    I'm not sure where vcenz got his information about the Bible's view on homosexuality, but his assertion that it is simply related to uncleanness in some ceremonial sense (on a par with shell fish) is absurd. The Greek is probably stronger in the language of condemnation of the practice than most English versions. It is not just in Romans either. I Corinthians and other passages make passing references to the practice. In the Corinthian passage homosexuality is one practice that some of the believers at Corinth having once practiced are said to now be free from. Homosexuality is not a life-long sentence. Gay people can choose to change their lifestyle. With God's help thousands successfully do. That information is closely guarded and censored by the main stream press.

    With regard to the earlier comment that Christians don't believe in religious liberty, the comment can only have come from one who was publicly schooled. Nearly every man who wrote our constitution, which insures freedom of religion, were practicing Christians. Read the history. Those who most strongly defend it today are practicing Christians. Our founding documents are replete with references to God and the Bible. Ironically, the only group that is systematically discriminated against with impunity in this country is Christians. You may study and discuss the Koran or any other "holy" book in our public schools with no problem. Let a Christian do a report on anything with the Bible as his major source and the ACLU will be calling principals office before the day is done.

    One more note. It is getting a little tiresome hearing people who have never actually investigated the claims of Christ pretend to know more about the events surrounding the life and times of Jesus than those who have. This silly notion that believers in Scripture are troglodytes living in the dark needs to be put to bed. For informed people, such statements say more about the prejudice of the one making the statement than of its object. It is a sad state to which we have arrived when a person believes he sounds intelligent by calling the Bible a book of myths, when he has never read it, and likely has never read myth. Read the Bible. Read the constitution. Read the Federalist papers. Read the Declaration of Independence. Then we may have an intelligent conversation about their meaning.

  • cajeepy | September 15, 2006 7:10 AMReply

    I'm not sure where vcenz got his information about the Bible's view on homosexuality, but his assertion that it is simply related to uncleanness in some ceremonial sense (on a par with shell fish) is absurd. The Greek is probably stronger in the language of condemnation of the practice than most English versions. It is not just in Romans either. I Corinthians and other passages make passing references to the practice. In the Corinthian passage homosexuality is one practice that some of the believers at Corinth having once practiced are said to now be free from. Homosexuality is not a life-long sentence. Gay people can choose to change their lifestyle. With God's help thousands successfully do. That information is closely guarded and censored by the main stream press.

    With regard to the earlier comment that Christians don't believe in religious liberty, the comment can only have come from one who was publicly schooled. Nearly every man who wrote our constitution, which insures freedom of religion, were practicing Christians. Read the history. Those who most strongly defend it today are practicing Christians. Our founding documents are replete with references to God and the Bible. Ironically, the only group that is systematically discriminated against with impunity in this country is Christians. You may study and discuss the Koran or any other "holy" book in our public schools with no problem. Let a Christian do a report on anything with the Bible as his major source and the ACLU will be calling principals office before the day is done.

    One more note. It is getting a little tiresome hearing people who have never actually investigated the claims of Christ pretend to know more about the events surrounding the life and times of Jesus than those who have. This silly notion that believers in Scripture are troglodytes living in the dark needs to be put to bed. For informed people, such statements say more about the prejudice of the one making the statement than of its object. It is a sad state to which we have arrived when a person believes he sounds intelligent by calling the Bible a book of myths, when he has never read it, and likely has never read myth. Read the Bible. Read the constitution. Read the Federalist papers. Read the Declaration of Independence. Then we may have an intelligent conversation about their meaning.

  • vcenz | September 13, 2006 10:30 AMReply

    To Bugmenot,

    (Readers, you will need to review Bugmenot's comment to grasp the jist of this one.)

    You mention New Testament prohibition of homosexual acts distinct from the Old Testament pronouncement of shellfish as verboten. Your source is Romans.

    In Romans Paul is relying on Old Testament tradition. There's much of it in his writing, though he touts faith over law or rules.

    Jesus never mentions homosexuality. However, there is a scene in the NT where John rests his head on Jesus' breast and no one gasps. Cultural mores? Probably. But, with modern day literalism, not so easy to explain.

    Jesus repeatedly repudiates laws of purification and cleanliness which surround a number of abominations or much uncleanliness. You will find that both OT statements on homosexual acts and Paul's fulminations relate to what's "unclean". Check it out; there is no moral pronouncement either in the Hebrew or Greek phrasing used. No, sorry, you cannot separate the homosexual unclean from the shellfish unclean, and these are only two in a long list of the unclean. Excusing the shellfish type prohibitions casts a shadow that covers the homosexual one.

    Unless you are willing to incorporate and adhere to the pronouncements against all that is listed as unclean, you will need to suspend judgement on homosexuality.

  • vcenz | September 13, 2006 10:28 AMReply

    To Bugmenot,

    (Readers, you will need to review Bugmenot's comment to grasp the jist of this one.)

    You mention New Testament prohibition of homosexual acts distinct from the Old Testament pronouncement of shellfish as verboten. Your source is Romans.

    In Romans Paul is relying on Old Testament tradition. There's much of it in his writing, though he touts faith over law or rules.

    Jesus never mentions homosexuality. However, there is a scene in the NT where John rests his head on Jesus' breast and no one gasps. Cultural mores? Probably. But, with modern day literalism, not so easy to explain.

    Jesus repeatedly repudiates laws of purification and cleanliness which surround a number of abominations or much uncleanliness. You will find that both OT statements on homosexual acts and Paul's fulminations relate to what's "unclean". Check it out; there is no moral pronouncement either in the Hebrew or Greek phrasing used. No, sorry, you cannot separate the homosexual unclean from the shellfish unclean, and these are only two in a long list of the unclean. Excusing the shellfish type prohibitions casts a shadow that covers the homosexual one.

    Unless you are willing to incorporate and adhere to the pronouncements against all that is listed as unclean, you will need to suspend judgement on homosexuality.

  • vcenz | September 13, 2006 10:25 AMReply

    To Bugmenot,

    (Readers, you will need to review Bugmenot's comment to grasp the jist of this one.)

    You mention New Testament prohibition of homosexual acts distinct from the Old Testament pronouncement of shellfish as verboten. Your source is Romans.

    In Romans Paul is relying on Old Testament tradition. There's much of it in his writing, though he touts faith over law or rules.

    Jesus never mentions homosexuality. However, there is a scene in the NT where John rests his head on Jesus' breast and no one gasps. Cultural mores? Probably. But, with modern day literalism, not so easy to explain.

    Jesus repeatedly repudiates laws of purification and cleanliness which surround a number of abominations or much uncleanliness. You will find that both OT statements on homosexual acts and Paul's fulminations relate to what's "unclean". Check it out; there is no moral pronouncement either in the Hebrew or Greek phrasing used. No, sorry, you cannot separate the homosexual unclean from the shellfish unclean, and these are only two in a long list of the unclean. Excusing the shellfish type prohibitions casts a shadow that covers the homosexual one.

    Unless you are willing to incorporate and adhere to the pronouncements against all that is listed as unclean, you will need to suspend judgement on homosexuality.

  • vcenz | September 13, 2006 10:21 AMReply

    To Bugmenot,

    (Readers, you will need to review Bugmenot's comment to grasp the jist of this one.)

    You mention New Testament prohibition of homosexual acts distinct from the Old Testament pronouncement of shellfish as verboten. Your source is Romans.

    In Romans Paul is relying on Old Testament tradition. There's much of it in his writing, though he touts faith over law or rules.

    Jesus never mentions homosexuality. However, there is a scene in the NT where John rests his head on Jesus' breast and no one gasps. Cultural mores? Probably. But, with modern day literalism, not so easy to explain.

    Jesus repeatedly repudiates laws of purification and cleanliness which surround a number of abominations or much uncleanliness. You will find that both OT statements on homosexual acts and Paul's fulminations relate to what's "unclean". Check it out; there is no moral pronouncement either in the Hebrew or Greek phrasing used. No, sorry, you cannot separate the homosexual unclean from the shellfish unclean, and these are only two in a long list of the unclean. Excusing the shellfish type prohibitions casts a shadow that covers the homosexual one.

    Unless you are willing to incorporate and adhere to the pronouncements against all that is listed as unclean, you will need to suspend judgement on homosexuality.

  • jenawakening | September 11, 2006 1:47 AMReply

    I'm not going to read all above, but I'd just like to comment on the religious freedom bit.

    These people are Christians before they are Americans. They are glad to be American, but they are Christian firstly and mostly. In the Bible it does not cuddle with other religions. It clearly states in the 10 Commandements that there shall be "NO OTHER GOD BUT ME."

    Where is the room for doubt in that commandment?

    If you are a Christian by the book of God, you do not believe in Religious Freedom. Why should they practice appeasement when their religion is clear in their being none.

  • modernblend | September 8, 2006 5:13 AMReply

    dear chris e,

    thats great that you have found jesus and it has made your life better. i think the point of will b and jimm-ill comments (and mine) are to point out that finding jesus is not the only way to having a fulfilling life. my problem with some christians, mainly the extreme ones, is that they do not feel that being without jesus is okay. i am without jesus, but i got life, i got freedom, i got laughs, and i got good times. i got broadway, i got hollywood, and i got secular society. no jesus, and i like it that way.

  • chris e | September 6, 2006 12:43 PMReply

    this response is to specifically jimm-ill and willi b: i understand where u are coming from--but there is so much you do not understand. I am a born again christian--a true christian--but not by choice. i'm sure you have heard stories about radical transformations due to personal encounters with Jesus--this was me. I grew up catholic- which didn't mean anything back then--it was all just religion--go to church only on holidays and then when i got older-not going at all--sure i believed in "god" because i figured this world --and especially nature and our human bodies --was all too complex just to have evolved and appear without someone being behind it--didn't really believe in jesus--he was just some guy who hung on a cross at church--thats all---but when about 8 years ago--after having struggled with a variety of eating disorders and drug addictions all my life (bulimia-compulsive overeating and anorexia--down to 80 lbs at one point)--i was not married with two small children--still struggling with anorexia--now newly diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar) and still addicted to any kind of drug/alcohol i could find--remembering that even my shrink telling me he couldn't help me anymore after my third or fourth stay in a mental hospital. It was March 13th, 1998--I had stumbled across norman vincent peale's book of stories of peoples lives--famous and not so famous. i can't remember the name of the book. As i began reading i noticed that the lives of these people were pretty messed up until they said a prayer to ask Jesus into their hearts and He answered them and their lives got radically changed and better--i needed that so bad--so i remember really crying and saying :Jesus, if you are real then please come into my heart and change me. I went to sleep. The next morning when I woke up I knew I was different--I knew that I knew that He was real and living inside of me--all the guilt and shame of my past (and believe me there was alot of that) was gone--felt like a million pounds was lifted from me--and Jesus was like light in me--this is so hard to explain. Prior to this-the couple of times I tried to read my bible--I couldn't understand it--now I understood everything I read and I couldn't stop reading--it was like Jesus was talking directly to my heart and I understood! The very best part is that He has freed me from the drug addiction and eating disorder, manic depression and smoking also--It wasn't magic--I had to really be in the bible to find out what no church or religion could tell me--that Jesus is truly alive--the son of God--raised from the dead--to make me free.
    To answer Willi b--you are really doing the same thing--as a person who has studies the bible for almost 8 years daily--(all i am is a housewife--no formal training in the bible)-- i can tell you that its not really fair for you to quote on things you only know in part--like the shellfish--i agree with the other response to your comment--when Jesus rose from the dead--He did change everything--we are not under the old testement/covenant anymore--but homesexuality is definetly a sin (if you went to blueletterbible.org you can do a word search in the bible--type in homosexual or men with men--and find out yourself exactly what the bible says for yourself)--Jesus himself said that all the law is fulfilled in this--love God, and your neighbor as yourself--I know that soulnd like an impossibility--but in Romans chapter 5 verse 5-=-when you are born again--a new creature in Christ (2 Corithians 5:17) God's very own love gets shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit--so now you can love God, others and even yourself. When you are born again and operate out of God's Love in your heart--you won't want to break any of the commandmants--you won't want to steal from them--or cheat on your spouse--or use Gods name in vain--because you really know God now thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit--. Now there are many times when I do miss the mark--but as I read my bible--i understand the ongoing forgiveness of Jesus. All i know is that my life has totally changed--i no longer want to things to myself or others that are destructive in any way--and more and more I am understanding about the mercy, grace and forgiveness that Jesus has provided on that cross and the awesome power of His love for us thru His deat and most especially His resurrection.

    I am willing to die for Jesus--but most importantly willing to die in the flesh--which means-not living for myself anymore but for others-so that they can see the love of God in me--I don't want to blow people up or be destructive in anyway--because that's not going to help people who are already hurting in so many ways. Yes--there are also many people who call themselves Christians and maybe they are, or were--Jesus said you will know His disciples by their fruit--and the fruit of the spirit is described in Galatians 5:23---LOVE, PEACE, JOY, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS (HUMBLENESS), SELF CONTROL--and none of this is posslbe to walk in except you are born again and have His Holy Spirit living in you--this is what changtes the world--I am living proof of this--just ask my husband, children, family and friends.

    Also in the past 8 years I have seen and witnessed people who were just like you, being born again and totally changed--their lives being healed and restored--Jesus said in Isaiah 61 and then again in the New Testment in Luke 4--that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to heal the broken hearted--to open prison doors (how people do we know that are in an emotional prision)--to set people free--We, who are born again--are a new breed--a new creature in Christ--we who are truly Christians know God--understand what Jesus has done and boldly take our place as Sons and Daughters of the Most High God in Christ Jesus. We know how to pray and interceede for people God puts in our path--We know how to spirually fight and win--because the bible says God alwasy causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus--I have so many victories in my life and I've seen Jesus change so much in me when I truly gave Him my heart---I could never in a million years ever doubt the realy and power of His presence and resurrection!!!

  • chris e | September 6, 2006 12:41 PMReply

    this response is to specifically jimm-ill and willi b: i understand where u are coming from--but there is so much you do not understand. I am a born again christian--a true christian--but not by choice. i'm sure you have heard stories about radical transformations due to personal encounters with Jesus--this was me. I grew up catholic- which didn't mean anything back then--it was all just religion--go to church only on holidays and then when i got older-not going at all--sure i believed in "god" because i figured this world --and especially nature and our human bodies --was all too complex just to have evolved and appear without someone being behind it--didn't really believe in jesus--he was just some guy who hung on a cross at church--thats all---but when about 8 years ago--after having struggled with a variety of eating disorders and drug addictions all my life (bulimia-compulsive overeating and anorexia--down to 80 lbs at one point)--i was not married with two small children--still struggling with anorexia--now newly diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar) and still addicted to any kind of drug/alcohol i could find--remembering that even my shrink telling me he couldn't help me anymore after my third or fourth stay in a mental hospital. It was March 13th, 1998--I had stumbled across norman vincent peale's book of stories of peoples lives--famous and not so famous. i can't remember the name of the book. As i began reading i noticed that the lives of these people were pretty messed up until they said a prayer to ask Jesus into their hearts and He answered them and their lives got radically changed and better--i needed that so bad--so i remember really crying and saying :Jesus, if you are real then please come into my heart and change me. I went to sleep. The next morning when I woke up I knew I was different--I knew that I knew that He was real and living inside of me--all the guilt and shame of my past (and believe me there was alot of that) was gone--felt like a million pounds was lifted from me--and Jesus was like light in me--this is so hard to explain. Prior to this-the couple of times I tried to read my bible--I couldn't understand it--now I understood everything I read and I couldn't stop reading--it was like Jesus was talking directly to my heart and I understood! The very best part is that He has freed me from the drug addiction and eating disorder, manic depression and smoking also--It wasn't magic--I had to really be in the bible to find out what no church or religion could tell me--that Jesus is truly alive--the son of God--raised from the dead--to make me free.
    To answer Willi b--you are really doing the same thing--as a person who has studies the bible for almost 8 years daily--(all i am is a housewife--no formal training in the bible)-- i can tell you that its not really fair for you to quote on things you only know in part--like the shellfish--i agree with the other response to your comment--when Jesus rose from the dead--He did change everything--we are not under the old testement/covenant anymore--but homesexuality is definetly a sin (if you went to blueletterbible.org you can do a word search in the bible--type in homosexual or men with men--and find out yourself exactly what the bible says for yourself)--Jesus himself said that all the law is fulfilled in this--love God, and your neighbor as yourself--I know that soulnd like an impossibility--but in Romans chapter 5 verse 5-=-when you are born again--a new creature in Christ (2 Corithians 5:17) God's very own love gets shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit--so now you can love God, others and even yourself. When you are born again and operate out of God's Love in your heart--you won't want to break any of the commandmants--you won't want to steal from them--or cheat on your spouse--or use Gods name in vain--because you really know God now thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit--. Now there are many times when I do miss the mark--but as I read my bible--i understand the ongoing forgiveness of Jesus. All i know is that my life has totally changed--i no longer want to things to myself or others that are destructive in any way--and more and more I am understanding about the mercy, grace and forgiveness that Jesus has provided on that cross and the awesome power of His love for us thru His deat and most especially His resurrection.

    I am willing to die for Jesus--but most importantly willing to die in the flesh--which means-not living for myself anymore but for others-so that they can see the love of God in me--I don't want to blow people up or be destructive in anyway--because that's not going to help people who are already hurting in so many ways. Yes--there are also many people who call themselves Christians and maybe they are, or were--Jesus said you will know His disciples by their fruit--and the fruit of the spirit is described in Galatians 5:23---LOVE, PEACE, JOY, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS (HUMBLENESS), SELF CONTROL--and none of this is posslbe to walk in except you are born again and have His Holy Spirit living in you--this is what changtes the world--I am living proof of this--just ask my husband, children, family and friends.

    Also in the past 8 years I have seen and witnessed people who were just like you, being born again and totally changed--their lives being healed and restored--Jesus said in Isaiah 61 and then again in the New Testment in Luke 4--that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to heal the broken hearted--to open prison doors (how people do we know that are in an emotional prision)--to set people free--We, who are born again--are a new breed--a new creature in Christ--we who are truly Christians know God--understand what Jesus has done and boldly take our place as Sons and Daughters of the Most High God in Christ Jesus. We know how to pray and interceede for people God puts in our path--We know how to spirually fight and win--because the bible says God alwasy causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus--I have so many victories in my life and I've seen Jesus change so much in me when I truly gave Him my heart---I could never in a million years ever doubt the realy and power of His presence and resurrection!!!

  • chris e | September 6, 2006 12:35 PMReply

    this response is to specifically jimm-ill and willi b: i understand where u are coming from--but there is so much you do not understand. I am a born again christian--a true christian--but not by choice. i'm sure you have heard stories about radical transformations due to personal encounters with Jesus--this was me. I grew up catholic- which didn't mean anything back then--it was all just religion--go to church only on holidays and then when i got older-not going at all--sure i believed in "god" because i figured this world --and especially nature and our human bodies --was all too complex just to have evolved and appear without someone being behind it--didn't really believe in jesus--he was just some guy who hung on a cross at church--thats all---but when about 8 years ago--after having struggled with a variety of eating disorders and drug addictions all my life (bulimia-compulsive overeating and anorexia--down to 80 lbs at one point)--i was not married with two small children--still struggling with anorexia--now newly diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar) and still addicted to any kind of drug/alcohol i could find--remembering that even my shrink telling me he couldn't help me anymore after my third or fourth stay in a mental hospital. It was March 13th, 1998--I had stumbled across norman vincent peale's book of stories of peoples lives--famous and not so famous. i can't remember the name of the book. As i began reading i noticed that the lives of these people were pretty messed up until they said a prayer to ask Jesus into their hearts and He answered them and their lives got radically changed and better--i needed that so bad--so i remember really crying and saying :Jesus, if you are real then please come into my heart and change me. I went to sleep. The next morning when I woke up I knew I was different--I knew that I knew that He was real and living inside of me--all the guilt and shame of my past (and believe me there was alot of that) was gone--felt like a million pounds was lifted from me--and Jesus was like light in me--this is so hard to explain. Prior to this-the couple of times I tried to read my bible--I couldn't understand it--now I understood everything I read and I couldn't stop reading--it was like Jesus was talking directly to my heart and I understood! The very best part is that He has freed me from the drug addiction and eating disorder, manic depression and smoking also--It wasn't magic--I had to really be in the bible to find out what no church or religion could tell me--that Jesus is truly alive--the son of God--raised from the dead--to make me free.
    To answer Willi b--you are really doing the same thing--as a person who has studies the bible for almost 8 years daily--(all i am is a housewife--no formal training in the bible)-- i can tell you that its not really fair for you to quote on things you only know in part--like the shellfish--i agree with the other response to your comment--when Jesus rose from the dead--He did change everything--we are not under the old testement/covenant anymore--but homesexuality is definetly a sin (if you went to blueletterbible.org you can do a word search in the bible--type in homosexual or men with men--and find out yourself exactly what the bible says for yourself)--Jesus himself said that all the law is fulfilled in this--love God, and your neighbor as yourself--I know that soulnd like an impossibility--but in Romans chapter 5 verse 5-=-when you are born again--a new creature in Christ (2 Corithians 5:17) God's very own love gets shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit--so now you can love God, others and even yourself. When you are born again and operate out of God's Love in your heart--you won't want to break any of the commandmants--you won't want to steal from them--or cheat on your spouse--or use Gods name in vain--because you really know God now thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit--. Now there are many times when I do miss the mark--but as I read my bible--i understand the ongoing forgiveness of Jesus. All i know is that my life has totally changed--i no longer want to things to myself or others that are destructive in any way--and more and more I am understanding about the mercy, grace and forgiveness that Jesus has provided on that cross and the awesome power of His love for us thru His deat and most especially His resurrection.

    I am willing to die for Jesus--but most importantly willing to die in the flesh--which means-not living for myself anymore but for others-so that they can see the love of God in me--I don't want to blow people up or be destructive in anyway--because that's not going to help people who are already hurting in so many ways. Yes--there are also many people who call themselves Christians and maybe they are, or were--Jesus said you will know His disciples by their fruit--and the fruit of the spirit is described in Galatians 5:23---LOVE, PEACE, JOY, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS (HUMBLENESS), SELF CONTROL--and none of this is posslbe to walk in except you are born again and have His Holy Spirit living in you--this is what changtes the world--I am living proof of this--just ask my husband, children, family and friends.

    Also in the past 8 years I have seen and witnessed people who were just like you, being born again and totally changed--their lives being healed and restored--Jesus said in Isaiah 61 and then again in the New Testment in Luke 4--that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to heal the broken hearted--to open prison doors (how people do we know that are in an emotional prision)--to set people free--We, who are born again--are a new breed--a new creature in Christ--we who are truly Christians know God--understand what Jesus has done and boldly take our place as Sons and Daughters of the Most High God in Christ Jesus. We know how to pray and interceede for people God puts in our path--We know how to spirually fight and win--because the bible says God alwasy causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus--I have so many victories in my life and I've seen Jesus change so much in me when I truly gave Him my heart---I could never in a million years ever doubt the realy and power of His presence and resurrection!!!

  • jim-ill | September 2, 2006 9:42 AMReply

    This is Strange. It's like these kids are in a boot camp, being trained for a holy war. It's almost the Christian equivalent of Jihad, talking about being a

  • tracy41 | August 30, 2006 3:38 AMReply

    Hey maureenog,
    Yes, all the parents gave the filmmakers permission to film their children. They also gave them permission to enter their homes and film there. There was no violation of privacy. However, as in every documentary, some sentences and situations are shown out of context. Please remember this when you see the film.

    OOPS--sorry it was monalott's blog that I was referring to. Sorry maureenog.

  • tracy41 | August 30, 2006 3:36 AMReply

    Hey maureenog,
    Yes, all the parents gave the filmmakers permission to film their children. They also gave them permission to enter their homes and film there. There was no violation of privacy. However, as in every documentary, some sentences and situations are shown out of context. Please remember this when you see the film.

  • bugmenot | August 28, 2006 6:40 AMReply

    willi b, please do your homework before you make arguments from the Bible. There are some problems with your arguments:

    First, you can't discredit a particular view, religion, or philosophy by pointing out its hypocrites. Getting turned off by a fake Christian is fine, but there's absolutely no reason to bash true Christians! "Keeping up with the Jones" / coveting are wrong mentalities that should be repented of. And those preachers you've heard, I've heard them too on TBN. They're fake and NOT God's servants! They're "prosperity gospel" is evil and twists scripture.

    Second, have you ever considered that maybe we have a reason for eating shellfish but still believing homosexuality is a sin? You're shellfish example is from the Old Testament, and there's a reason it's called "old." After Christ, things changed. Though much more complicated, it can be summarized this way: some commands were abolished, some were created, and some stayed the same. The details and reasons are many, and not for this post. But Homosexuality is clearly confirmed to have transferred to the New Testament in several NT passages, like Romans 1:27.

    Finally, not all religions are credible. If I invent a religion right now in which it is good and right to torture old people, is that on the same level as Christianity? Would you tolerate me? How many other religions (when rightly followed) teach you to love you enemies? Some, but not all. When's the last time you saw the Atheist Club head over to Sudan to help in a situation that the world largely ignores?

  • willi b | August 8, 2006 9:40 AMReply

    WOW! The scariness that this film will attempt to highlight shows already.

    There is a huge problem in this country and religion is at the root of it.

    The thing is, we have something called religious freedom yet no one seems to respect it. Probably has something to do with that "no way but through me thing". Yeah.... that phrase stinks pretty loudly for those that seek to have an open mind and a religious freedom, doesn't it?

    Christians believe what they want to believe... they pick and choose their parts of the Bible and run with it. They have no problem believing that homosexuality is an abomination, because the bible says so. However, do they view shellfish in the same regard? No. Yet the bible says the same thing about shellfish.

    However, you don't see them picketing Red Lobster or Joe's Crab Shack, do you?

    They really back the Commandments about Not Stealing, Not Murdering... but do they avoid the coveting? Really?

    I've seen the cars they drive. I've seen the "keeping up with the Jones" and attempts to be better than everyone else... and even heard preachers pridefully speak about their Rolls Royce the church bought for them.

    Is there a concervative spin for the commandments too?

    The scariest and funniest thing I heard an AM radio guy tell a concerned listener was that she need not worry about "judge not lest ye be judged" thing because she had been saved and didn't need to worry anymore.

    If you TRULY believe in "judge not lest ye be judged", then you shouldn't care about homosexuals getting married... isn't for God to sort out, not you?

    Just wondering...

    There are other religions besides what you believe. They are just as credible as yours (though you do not believe it). You should allow your children to make their own choices about religion in their own time. Not send them into some camp to be told what to think.

  • willi b | August 8, 2006 9:37 AMReply

    WOW! The scariness that this film will attempt to highlight shows already.

    There is a huge problem in this country and religion is at the root of it.

    The thing is, we have something called religious freedom yet no one seems to respect it. Probably has something to do with that "no way but through me thing". Yeah.... that phrase stinks pretty loudly for those that seek to have an open mind and a religious freedom, doesn't it?

    Christians believe what they want to believe... they pick and choose their parts of the Bible and run with it. They have no problem believing that homosexuality is an abomination, because the bible says so. However, do they view shellfish in the same regard? No. Yet the bible says the same thing about shellfish.

    However, you don't see them picketing Red Lobster or Joe's Crab Shack, do you?

    They really back the Commandments about Not Stealing, Not Murdering... but do they avoid the coveting? Really?

    I've seen the cars they drive. I've seen the "keeping up with the Jones" and attempts to be better than everyone else... and even heard preachers pridefully speak about their Rolls Royce the church bought for them.

    Is there a concervative spin for the commandments too?

    The scariest and funniest thing I heard an AM radio guy tell a concerned listener was that she need not worry about "judge not lest ye be judged" thing because she had been saved and didn't need to worry anymore.

    If you TRULY believe in "judge not lest ye be judged", then you shouldn't care about homosexuals getting married... isn't for God to sort out, not you?

    Just wondering...

    There are other religions besides what you believe. They are just as credible as yours (though you do not believe it). You should allow your children to make their own choices about religion in their own time. Not send them into some camp to be told what to think.

  • willi b | August 8, 2006 9:34 AMReply

    WOW! The scariness that this film will attempt to highlight shows already.

    There is a huge problem in this country and religion is at the root of it.

    The thing is, we have something called religious freedom yet no one seems to respect it. Probably has something to do with that "no way but through me thing". Yeah.... that phrase stinks pretty loudly for those that seek to have an open mind and a religious freedom, doesn't it?

    Christians believe what they want to believe... they pick and choose their parts of the Bible and run with it. They have no problem believing that homosexuality is an abomination, because the bible says so. However, do they view shellfish in the same regard? No. Yet the bible says the same thing about shellfish.

    However, you don't see them picketing Red Lobster or Joe's Crab Shack, do you?

    They really back the Commandments about Not Stealing, Not Murdering... but do they avoid the coveting? Really?

    I've seen the cars they drive. I've seen the "keeping up with the Jones" and attempts to be better than everyone else... and even heard preachers pridefully speak about their Rolls Royce the church bought for them.

    Is there a concervative spin for the commandments too?

    The scariest and funniest thing I heard an AM radio guy tell a concerned listener was that she need not worry about "judge not lest ye be judged" thing because she had been saved and didn't need to worry anymore.

    If you TRULY believe in "judge not lest ye be judged", then you shouldn't care about homosexuals getting married... isn't for God to sort out, not you?

    Just wondering...

    There are other religions besides what you believe. They are just as credible as yours (though you do not believe it). You should allow your children to make their own choices about religion in their own time. Not send them into some camp to be told what to think.

  • chularose | August 5, 2006 5:25 AMReply

    It is amazing how the definition of "fact" changes with being extremely right or left. There is nothing wrong and much right about praying for our leaders. If you don't believe prayer is effective then don't worry about it.

    Just be careful about the label "Christian Right." It is amazing how many born again people have an interesting and well considered mix of what is termed "right" and "left" ideas.

  • chularose | August 5, 2006 5:08 AMReply

    It is amazing how the definition of "fact" changes with being extremely right or left. There is nothing wrong and much right about praying for our leaders. If you don't believe prayer is effective then don't worry about it.

    Just be careful about the label "Christian Right." It is amazing how many born again people have an interesting and well considered mix of what is termed "right" and "left" ideas.

  • maureenog | August 4, 2006 7:47 AMReply

    I'm really looking forward to seeing the film.

    In the above article, Heidi Ewing said
    "[The Christian right] feel empowered right now and they gave us a lot of access - more than had we done [the film] some years earlier."

    Actually, the "Christian Right" -- whoever that is -- did not give her access to film the camp, the pastor who produced the camp did. I just find it ultimately de-humanizing and very un-liberal-like for her to be talking about a single person in this way. Whoever the pastor is, he or she does not represent what people perceive "the Christian Right" to be.

    My question: did the kids' parents give permission to have their kids filmed in this way? If not, the pastor shouldn't have let the filmmakers in this kind of camp. Sounds like a violation of privacy of the worst kind. Just have to see the film for more info, I guess.

  • monalott | August 4, 2006 4:50 AMReply

    NO! It's the media's job to report the facts... not fairy tales! What you refer to as liberalism is in fact reality. Check it out... leave your fear-based superstitions behind and actualize.

  • monalott | August 4, 2006 4:47 AMReply

    NO! It's the media's job to report the facts... not fairy tales!

  • duane222 | July 29, 2006 10:24 AMReply

    "What, if anything, are the liberals doing to pass on their values to children in an organized and effective way?"

    Has anyone ever heard of the public school system? Do you watch TV and movies? Ever been to a public library? Try reading teen magazines, listening to FM radio? Open your eyes - liberalism is everywhere in the culture except AM talk radio, Fox News, many private and home schools, and some Churches. Despite all this well organized, well funded libralism there seams to be much fear that the culture war is being lost. In a free society where 40% or more of the people are conservative souldn't the expectation be 40% of the media to be conservative?