Teaching Christian Children Religious Warfare
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:50:06 PM EST
A few months ago, Jonathan Hutson broke a series of stories at Talk to Action about a ruthless indoctrination video game masquerading as entertainment for children. Left Behind:  Eternal Forces, based on Tim LaHaye's best selling series of novels, is set in contemporary New York City where the citizens, "left behind" after all of the good Christians have been pulled up into heaven in an event called the rapture, are to be converted or killed by a roving Christian militia battling the United Nation peace keeping force, headed by the Anti-Christ.

The game, which is scheduled to come out next month - just in time for the Christmas shopping season, is the subject of an article by Michelle Goldberg, in the current issue of New York magazine. Goldberg advances the story with new information about the developers of the game: the key people are Jewish converts to conservative Christianity. (One clarified that he is not converted, but "completed." This is a notion of Messianic Jews, who consider themsevles "completed" because they have accepted Jesus the Messiah.)

The release, of what some now consider to be orientation software for the Christian militias of a coming religious war in America, coincidentally comes just as a film is coming out that documents the indoctrination of young evangelical children in a fierce ideology of religious warfare and what they call God's Army. Their pastor compares her efforts to Islamic Madrassa schools in Pakistan. The film is called Jesus Camp.

Goldberg writes:  
The heroes of the series -- including a born-again rabbi -- battle Carpathia's [the Anti-Christ's] attempts to impose an abortion-promoting one-world government. Much hinges on the conversion of the Jews, who must repent their "specific national sin" of "rejecting the messiahship of Jesus," or spend eternity in hell.

As it happens, before they were Evangelical entrepreneurs, the people behind the game were New York Jews. Lyndon, 41, whose secular-gaming résumé includes helping design Madden Football, was born to a Jewish mother on the Upper West Side. While she raised him as a Catholic, he identifies as a Jew-albeit one who believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God (he also describes evolution as a "hoax"). Jeffrey Frichner, 48, the company's president and co-founder, is from Rego Park and went to Hebrew school at Forest Hills Jewish Center; he found Jesus while serving in the Marines in the eighties. Senior vice-president David Klein, 49, one of the original employees at gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts, was born in Israel and raised in Canarsie. He's now a Christian, though he says, "I haven't converted. I've completed."

May we then suppose, that the unlike all of the other characters who face conversion or death, Jews in the game may choose completion?  That some may see this as a distinction without a difference will certainly be understandable, and indeed, it is the major point that underscores the horrific implications of this hands-on children's' guide to religious warfare.

Hutson has long maintained that the video, like the novels themselves, is religious supremacy wrapped in a children's game, and is intended to prepare children for religious warfare in our time; against people of other faiths and those deemed to be sinners.  Chip Berlet underscored the point in part five of his series about Tim LaHaye at Talk to Action:

The publisher's blurb for Tim LaHaye's 1980 book, The Battle for the Mind: A Subtle Warfare, gushes that it is a "shocking, detailed exposé of the humanist onslaught, as well as a positive, practical handbook for waging war against this subtle infiltration." So LaHaye has been preparing for this "war" for over 25 years. No surprise to find this frame of an apocalyptic battle between good and evil in the Left Behind book series and video game.

The release of the game comes at a time when the new documentary film Jesus Camp raises the chilling specter of young children being indoctrinated in a fierce ideology of religious warfare.

The Boston Globe's review observes:

Kids on Fire feels like a religious boot camp, and the filmmakers frame the documentary around the reality that these kids are being groomed for war. Fischer is the drill sergeant. Her training exercises include encouraging the campers to speak in tongues, as she does. The enemy could be liberals or Muslim fundamentalists. They train their children for holy war. Why shouldn't she?

The film describes itself this way:

A growing number of evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America that requires Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement. Jesus Camp follows a group of young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire Summer Camp" where kids are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's Army and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.

I think that is a fair description.

Reasonable people will differ as to how literally to take the clearly militaristic elements of the training. And some evangelical critics of the film say that it unfairly implies that all evangelical Christians and summer camps think that way and treat children that way.  I have seen the film and I don't think it in any way makes that assertion -- however I can see how some people might take it that way. And that is unfortunate, because such thinking clouds a far more complex picture of not only the broad world of evangelical Christianity, much of which recoils at such practices, but the militant evangelical subculture itself, which certainly does exist and is sometimes consistent with what is presented so matter of factly in the film.  

The film, while depicting a camp that is undoubtedly far more extreme than most, nevertheless surfaces religious right themes -- taken another not very long step or two beyond rhetoric into reality. But I think the convert or kill ideology of Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series and now the game, underscores the issues raised for the wider culture by Jesus Camp. We see for example, Fischer's kids oriented to do battle with abortion. The training includes being bussed to Washington DC to stand in front of the U.S.Supreme Court, with red tape over their mouths with LIFE written in black capital letters across the tape. I cannot do justice to the hair-raising details of Jesus Camp here, but I flag it because I think that those who do not want America to descend into the long night of religious warfare envisioned by long time Christian right leader, Tim LaHaye need to take a hard look at the Jesus Camp and consider that far more children will play the Left Behind game than will ever see Jesus Camp and that there will be  almost no overlap in the audiences. The culture war takes on this kind of divide all the time. It will be wrong for the vast majority of peace loving evangelical Christians to in any way support Left Behind:  Eternal Forces or to fail to be publically critial of the game.  It will also be wrong for others in society to think that all conservative evangelicals agree with the ideas and methods of Becky Fischer and Tim LaHaye.  We all have a lot of work to do to sort these things out.

Meanwhile, Goldberg confirms that the company

"intends to market Eternal Forces using the same megachurch-based networks that have made [Rick] Warren [author of the Purpose Driven Life] a publishing phenomenon. His plans include sending a million demo discs to churches throughout the country."

The Christian Post reports that the company expects the game to be carried by 10,000 retail outlets around the country, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Circuit City, GameStop, EB Games, EB Canada, CompUSA, Amazon.com, and Costco.

This Christmas, conservative evangelical parents, many of them members of the conservative evangelical megachurches who are the main targets of the Left Behind game's marketing campaign, will go shop at their favorite retail megastore and buy Left Behind: Eternal Forces for their children. Then they will wrap it up and put it under the Christmas tree. This is how the software of Christian madrassa will reach the vast evangelical middle class for whom Tim LaHaye's novels may be more entertainment than deep belief -- but look what they are teaching their children.

 




Display:
will probably mostly get lost in the noise of the election season.  But the games will be out there soon, and if the game succeeds, there will undoubtedly be more.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:11:31 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (5 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (6 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (4 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.