Evangelical camp, shown in Jesus Camp documentary, discontinued

NEW YORK — Organizers of an evangelical summer camp for children featured in the documentary “Jesus Camp” are discontinuing the camp because of negative reaction sparked by the film and recent vandalism at the camp site in Devils Lake, N. D.

“We have decided to hold different activities in future,” Pentecostal pastor and camp organizer Becky Fischer said.

Fischer was the central figure in “Jesus Camp,” a documentary about Pentecostal evangelical Christians, some of whom send their children to summer camp where they pray, “speak in tongues” and are urged to campaign against abortion.

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In the months since the film was released, the campground was vandalized and Fischer was inundated with negative e-mails and phone calls.

In one of the film’s scenes, a cardboard effigy of President Bush is placed on stage before an assembly, so attendees can pray he make America “one nation under God.”

The film has no voice-overs or narrative. Heidi Ewing, who directed the film with Rachel Grady, said the aim was to show a slice of American culture unfamiliar to many in America and abroad.

When it was released in May, a Variety magazine reviewer said, “Liberals might also be alarmed by images of 7-year-olds in camouflauge face-paint performing spiritual war dances.”

Fischer was criticized by some for “brainwashing” the children.

The film also features scenes with disgraced evangelical leader the Rev. Ted Haggard, who resigned as pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs last week after a gay sex and drug scandal.

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