Training Extremists While They Are Young


It is probably no more than an ironic coincidence that the Kids on Fire camp is in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. Or perhaps not. Kids on Fire is not your mother’s summer camp; rather, it is a place where children–some as young as six–receive instruction in glossolalia, go on field trips to political protests, and learn to chant for “righteous judges” for America.

At Kids on Fire, the children pray over a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, and they wash their hands in bottled water to cleanse themselves of their wicked ways and drive out the devil. Some children are filled with the Holy Spirit and go down in a trance-like state. One little girl is said to have been “pinned to the floor” for over an hour by the Holy Spirit. Children describe seeing “gold dust” on their hands, feeling compelled to dance, and being “slain by the Holy Spirit.”

Becky Fischer
, leader of Kids of Fire, who wants to “take back America for Christ,” says “I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I want to see them radically laying down their lives for the gospel, as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine.”

The documentary film, Jesus Camp, made by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, follows three children as they participate in camp activities. Opening today in Los Angeles, the film has already stirred quite a bit of attention. It won in the “scariest movie” category at the Traverse City Film Festival.

One of the children in the documentary, Tory, who is ten years old, says something that is scary enough for me. Tory explains that she prefers “Christian, heavy metal rock and roll” to Britney Spears:

“When I dance, I have to make sure that that’s God. People will notice when I’m just dancing for the flesh.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.