Do Not Keep Silent

Early in the film “Jesus Camp” , we hear the words “We must not keep silent in this time of decision”. One of the few views expressed that I agreed with.

In “Useful Idiot” I commented on the Dispatches programme that showed how British fundementalists were pulling Nadine Dorries’ strings over the abortion amendment. That programme also mentioned that the Evangelical Alliance claims two million supporters in the UK and showed that there were links with American fundementalists. According to “Jesus Camp”, eighty million Americans – about a quarter of the population – describe themselves as Evangelicals.

 Like their British counterparts they are trying to influence the political process; with George W. Bush in the White House since January 2001, they have been a lot more successful.

Becky Fischer, the organiser of the Camp in question, makes no secret of her policy of targetting young people and pushing them towards support of the Republican Party and very conservative social policies. She justifies this in part by claiming that Islam gets to their youth at a very young age and saying that this needs to be countered. Consequently she feels it acceptable to indoctrinate “protect” children as young as five. Like Britain’s Andrea Williams, she sees no irony in using the very same tactics she criticises Islam for using.

I wouldn’t have thought there were many mullahs wandering through North Dakota trying to convert America’s youth and of course Islam here is a red herring; her real target is American liberals and secularists. Fischer claimed that the film would have “extreme liberals” quaking in their boots. Being a socialist and an atheist I am probably what she has in mind. I have to say that while I am not “quaking” I do have very real concerns over her activities.

She describes children as “so usable” for Christianity – presumaby because they can be conditioned to take her line without question. She talks of fighting a war against God’s enemies ie everyone with whom she disagrees. Even as an adult non-believer I could see the attraction for the kids – being chosen as the agent of a deity is heady stuff.

Even if we could offer anything as attractive as this, rationalists and the liberal religious cannot counter this tide of bigotry and wilfull ignorance by using the evangelicals’ tactics. What we offer does not have the same emotional appeal and even if it did, using such tactics would make us part of the problem not part of the solution.

It is becoming clear that we are at one of hiostory’s major decision points, where actions now will decide the path Western (and possibly world-) civilisation is to take. Thus all of us who like living in a non-theocratic society must counter the radical religious message wherever we find it. We will not persuade the likes of Becky Fischer but we must show that there is a workable alternative to her mesage.

If we fail, we are starting back towards the Middle Ages and the prospect of refighting the Crusades with 21st Century weaponry.

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10 Responses to “Do Not Keep Silent”

  1. strummer Says:

    Interestingly the film did not leave liberals ‘quaking in their boots’, it ended up with the Jesus Camp being closed down and vandalised after people reacted to the film. I took some comfort from the fact that the american people would not tolerate her approach but you’re right, we should not be complacent.

  2. Sirius Says:

    I haven’t seen the film, but I would characterize your comments as antitheistic rather than nontheistic. You have kind of an Us or Them thing goling on here.

    So much for tolerance, eh?

    Sirius Knott

  3. jaycueaitch Says:

    Sirius, perhaps you should watch the film before criticising my views on it. My views are not antitheistic as I do not believe there is a god or gods to oppose.

    As for the “Us or Them” thing, if you trouble yourself to actually watch the film you will notice that it is Fischer et al who have this attitude and it is quite clear that they would put someone with my views in the “Them” category. It is also clear that class liberal Christians as “Them”.

    If the Evangelicals want to believe that the Rapture is on its way and vote Republican that is their free choice. I strenuously object to them – or anybody else – indoctrinating children.

  4. ibens Says:

    ok 4 me no problem

  5. Apathy Sketchpad » Blog Archive » Please Don’t Start Saying That, Or I’ll Start Believing You… Says:

    […] true, but she uses that not as her chief weapon but as her justification. And she can’t see the hypocrisy. Here is a speech of hers from near the start of the film: I can go into a playground of kids that […]

  6. Sirius Says:

    Why would I have to watch a film to characterize your comments? By antitheistic, I mean that your comments betray the fact that it’s not that you simply do not believe in any sort of God, you actually oppose a belief in God. For example, you characterize teaching children about God as indoctrination and you clearly see such a belief as harmful somehow or you would not object to it.

    Anyway, I strenuously object to anyone indoctrinating children in atheism, which is what USAmerican public schools currently do.

    –Sirius Knott
    –Sirius Knott

  7. jaycueaitch Says:

    Sirius, if you watched the film I was talking about, you would know to what my comments related. And if you read my post you would see that it is not “teaching about God” I find objectionable but the way Becky Fischer was indoctrinating children. Watch the film and you will see what I mean. You don’t have to be an atheist to object to this.

    And don’t American schoolchildren start the day with the pledge of allegiance? The pledge includes the phrase “One Nation under God” does it not? Hardly indoctrinating with atheism is it?

  8. Sirius Says:

    Oh, so saying the pledge is countering the atheism inherent in the science curriculum and the irreligion [i.e. – the implication that religion is irrelevant because all religions are products of culture] of the multiculural material in schools?

    That’s quite a primrose path your skipping down.

    I’m curious: Are you suggesting that a parent has no right to indoctrinate their children? Or just educators? Or anyone at all?

    –Sirius Knott

  9. jaycueaitch Says:

    This thread is about the film. Stop trying to reframe it to be about the American education system.

  10. Fox Says:

    This country is not purely just Christian. I am a perfectly happy content Pagan woman. I have no problem with people believing in other religions. I just feel like that this film and what those people do are quite a bit exterme. I believe full heartily that this will promote another Christian Crusade and what pagans know by “Burning Times”. That at that point in history, If anyone wasn’t Christian they were put to death.

    This is political madness tied with something that is personal. Religion is a personal thing and should NOT be tied with politics. This country was founded with the constitutional First Amendment being ‘Freedom of Religion’.

    As long as people who believe in other religions besides Christianity are NOT causing harm to themselves, anyone else, or to this country. Leave them be… However, This folks NEED to tone it down by A LOT or stop them entirely from this massive socialistic style of brain washing of innocent children.

    Everyone has the right to think for themselves and these children should be allowed to do so. Independent thought is what makes America unique from the communistic, socialistic, and dictatioral socities.

    I don’t believe in Anarchy, but I damn sure don’t believe in this rubbish. Please America WAKE UP! These people are such a dangerous threat and in the future are going to be the continual reasoning why America has bad foreign policy ties.

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