I saw the movie "Jesus Camp" the other day. It was disturbing. I wasn't disturbed by the religious indoctrination, the speaking in tongues, the horrible christian rock music, or even having ten year old kids out on the streets witnessing to strangers. What was most disturbing is the camp director's political messages that were all wrapped up as being straight from the bible.
The people in this movie used the word "war" to describe their mission. While it was clear that part of their goal was to find non-believers, they seemed far more concerned about making such their own flock didn't stray.
My favorite part of the movie, of course, was when they were filming Rev. Ted Haggard, the leader of one of the biggest evangelical churches in the country, preaching on the sins of homosexuality. This was a year before he was caught having a relationship with a male prostitute.
The part that disturbed me the most was then they were preaching for "righteous judges." it was around this time they pulled out a life-sized cut out of George W. so that they could pray for their leader. The audience was children most of the time - at a small camp for apparently religious wing-nuts.
Many of the children were home schooled. To me, home schooling is a bad idea, but its also a freedom we have, and the liberty we have to raise our children how we think is best. Between being smothered at home and reinforced with right-wing doctrine at church - of course these children get no other point of view. There was a scene in which they laughed at the idea of evolution but I sincerely doubt they really looked at it.
The Jesus camp director was keenly aware of the similarities between what they were doing and how children of Islamic radicals raise their children. Their attitude was - they are raising their children to be fanatics - so we better do the same. Of course- in this climate, fanatics tend to go too far when they are doing it for "the lord."
Its impossible to argue with these people. The world is simple to them - there are those that love Jesus and those that don't. Unfortunately, they seem to think most mainstream American Christians are members of "dead churches" where they don't shout and speak in tongues - and therefore Jesus doesn't come to their church. Its this "my version of Christianity is better than your version of Christianity" that is the most frightening part of this movement. These people are willing to die for their cause, because just like suicide bombers, they are going to heaven when they die. It they have to take few heathens with them, or a few hundred thousand Iraqis, it doesn't seem to matter. See the extended entry for the handiwork of one such wacko.
When a segment of the population isolates itself from the outside world, starts talking in terms of a war, us vs. them, and claiming to have a monopoly on true religion - I think that is breeding grounds for seriously disturbed zealots - When you never have to have your ideas challenged in school, in church, or by interacting with society - strange ideas become normal. The zealots are welcome to keep their ideas - I just hope I'm not in their proximity when they decide to become martyrs.
Half-baked attempt to kill Supreme Court crumbles
POSTED: 1:31 p.m. EST, November 17, 2006
From Kevin Bohn
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Cookies mailed to the U.S. Supreme Court last year contained enough rat poison to kill all nine justices, retired member Sandra Day O'Connor said at a conference last week.
Barbara Joan March, a 60-year-old Connecticut woman, was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison. She sent 14 threatening letters in April 2005 -- each with a baked good or piece of candy laced with rat poison -- to a variety of federal officials: the nine Supreme Court justices; FBI Director Robert Mueller; his deputy; the chief of naval operations; the Air Force chief of staff and the chief of staff of the Army.
March pleaded guilty in March to 14 counts of mailing injurious articles.
March's plea received little public attention until O'Connor discussed it last week.
"Every member of the Supreme Court received a wonderful package of home-baked cookies, and I don't know why, (but) the staff decided to analyze them," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted O'Connor as saying at the legal conference November 10 in the Dallas area. "Each one contained enough poison to kill the entire membership of the court."
The letters did not seem to pose much of a real danger since the threatening note told the recipients the food was poisoned. In court papers submitted with the plea agreement, prosecutors said each of the envelopes contained a one-page typewritten letter stating either "I am" or "We are" followed by "going to kill you. This is poisoned."
Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said the poison packages never reached the chambers of the justices.
All mail sent to the court is screened, and there has been heightened security since anthrax-laced letters were sent to members of Congress and the media in 2001. The Supreme Court also received some suspicious packages at the time, forcing it to shut down for a short period of time. Those packages turned out to be harmless.
Authorities said March included fake handwritten signatures of the purported senders of the letters whose names and return addresses were typed both in the body of the letter and on the envelopes.
Prosecutors said the purported senders live throughout the United States, and were connected to March in various ways, including being classmates, a former co-worker and a former roommate.
Prosecutors said handwritten documents recovered in March's apartment "reflect that she engaged in considerable planning in order to prepare and send the letters," including making a detailed list of the purported senders and an apparent to-do list.