Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#673: Becky Fischer

This one should be familiar to most. Becky Fischer is a Pentecostal children’s pastor and member of Harvest International Ministries (HIM) and Kids in Ministry International, best known for her role in the 2006 Christian documentary Jesus Camp, featuring her antics related to (among other things) arranging the “Kids on Fire” summercamp. HIM is your standard fundie church, explicitly endorsing the contemporary existence of apostles and prophets and promotes speaking intongues, faith healing, raising the dead, exorcism, and so on.

Although Jesus Camp generated some controversy (especially when the camp leaders were getting children to worship a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush), Fischer thought that the film provided an overall positive image of her and her efforts, claiming to see the real message of the film embedded amidst the political overtones because it shows how passionate children can be when given the right opportunities. And heck, her whole life’s work is exactly devoted to collecting (not by critical thinking) as many children as possible to her brand of Biblical literalism (“I can go into a playground of kids that don't know anything about Christianity, lead them to the Lord in a matter of, just no time at all, and just moments later they can be seeing visions and hearing the voice of God, because they're so open. They are so usable in Christianity,” says Fischer, which sounds like she’s at least got the right attitude).

Some themes of the film show how her techniques have remarkable similarities with techniques used in Cambodian indoctrination camps (“Every other religion is indoctrinating their kids, hellooo. I'd like to see more churches indoctrinating,” says Fischer), and since the kids are so young the presentations on e.g. abortion, the calls to give up one’s life for God, and the befuddled assertions that global warming is a liberal conspiracy do not need to be very complex as long as they are colorful and passionate. The theology is more or less exactly in line with the theology of Jack Chick.

Her primary enemy, besides Satan (“please protect our PowerPoint presentation. Satan, I know how you just love to get in our PowerPoint presentations and mess us up. Get out! You have no power over us here,” incants Fischer) is apparently Harry Potter: “Warlocks are enemies of God,” and “Had it been in the Old Testament Harry Potter would have been put to death” (think about it!). She also tells the kids that she knows children who prayed so that their dead pets got back to life, which some would consider a disingineous thing to tell kids.

Diagnosis: Watch the movie! 

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