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Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka) follow several young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. At this camp, kids as young as 6 years old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in "God's army." Following these children at camp as they hone their "prophetic gifts" and are schooled in how to "take back America for Christ," Ewing and Grady take an unprecedented look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.

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 What We Learned at Jesus Camp
      

Before embarking on Jesus Camp, our experience with born-again Christians was limited. As New Yorkers, every so often we had encountered Evangelicals in the subway tunnels, passing out little comic booklets about Jesus (we now know them to be “Bible tracks”), but that was about it. For us, like many urban dwellers in America, the born-again experience was something that did not affect us, something that existed in the Bible Belt, wherever that was, exactly.

But we were wrong to think that way, and in many ways, ignorant of our own country. There are one hundred million Evangelical Christians in the United States that form a flourishing parallel America to our own—a conservative counterculture comprised of individuals of all walks of life.

Many Evangelicals go quietly about their business and stay far from “worldly” concerns. Yet millions of others feel engaged in a fierce culture war with what they perceive as immorality and godless liberalism that must be altered via intense political involvement and federal legislation. They eagerly—with the support and encouragement of their pastors—jump into positions that can shape their own communities, from the school board to the town library to local politics.

As millions of Americans have become cynical about their ability to be heard by our leaders, politically-minded Evangelicals keep up on national issues they are passionate about and loudly engage: organizing protests, writing their congressmen, flooding the FCC with complaints, and voting—religiously.

The people in our film pass this can-do attitude on to their children, infusing them with the concept that they have a responsibility to bring God not just to their neighbors and friends but to their country as a whole—it is a call to political activism mandated by God.

When we first started shooting in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, the kids we met seemed to experience the same things as most middle-class kids: trips to Starbucks, science homework, baseball practice, dancing in their room to their favorite music, summer camp. But quickly it became clear that these children are living a version of childhood where a specific Christian worldview is at the center of all things. The music coming out of their stereos may be heavy metal, but the lyrics celebrate the “blood of Jesus.” Moms teach a home-schooling curriculum that repudiates evolution and highlights the “young earth movement.” The kids on soccer teams proudly wear red bracelets imprinted with “HWJC,” short for “How would Jesus compete?”

And when it comes to summer camp, go-carting excursions and the water balloon toss were intermingled with raucous anti-abortion revival meetings.

The camp in our film is a riveting example of a world many Americans do not understand or dismiss as “fringe” or simply irrelevant to their own lives. But perhaps they should take a closer look. The people portrayed in this film—white, college-educated, middle-class citizens—are part of an enormous and forceful voting block. Together, with their children, they are utilizing the offerings of American democracy to “take back America for Christ.”

What does this mean for Americans who call themselves proud secular humanists? Or those who believe in God but feel that our democracy depends on a clear delineation between Church and State? What is the significance of a generation of kids being infused with the view that they can—and must—bring America back to God? And how will it affect the country when these children come of age?

These questions informed our own journey to Jesus Camp, and we hope audiences leave the theater discussing where we are as a nation—or perhaps as two separate nations, at war with each other.