Jesus Camp invades Singapore

Posted on 10 September 2011

Becky Fischer, a conservative Christian pastor well-known for running the controversial Jesus Camp, spoke to kids at a Singapore Christian retreat (Update: Bethany Church Singapore is the likely organizer).

By Terence Lee

Remember Jesus Camp? It’s a 2006 American documentary about a summer Charismatic Christian camp where children are taught to pray for George Bush, hate Islam, and convert America into a conservative Christian nation.

The film generated much controversy because it portrays children being brainwashed to become “Christian jihadists” (a disturbing excerpt here).

The camp, called “Kids On Fire School of Ministry,” is run by Becky Fischer, leader of Kids in Ministry International, a conservative Christian organization.

 

Now, here’s the chilling thing: A couple of YouTube videos has revealed that Becky — slimmed down from all the stress of media attention — was in Singapore to speak at a similar-sounding camp. 

You have to see it to believe it. The design of the T-shirt on the volunteers says “God’s Army” while the back reads: “On the March”. Kids sobbing while worshiping. Becky teaching the kids how to raise the dead. Sounds like Jesus Camp — Singapore Edition to me.

The most disturbing thing came at the end of the second, and shorter video — the kids at the camp prayed for the kids in America to change the country. Probably an euphemism for turning the US of A into a bastion of conservative gay-hating, demon-casting, tongue-speaking Christianity.

The videos were uploaded on August 25th to the ‘kidsinministry’ YouTube account, which seemingly belongs to Becky’s ministry. Maybe she should have kept a lower profile instead.

According to an enterprising reader, Bethany Church Singapore is the likely organizer of the Christian retreat (see flyer below). What is not known, however, is how alike the camp is to Becky’s own.

Becky had also left a message on the church’s Facebook Page:

While we know conservative Christians have been influential in Singapore for a while, they are not as scary as their cousins in America, who go around praying that God takes over the country, including putting fundamentalist Christians in government. That’s because the Singapore government has been rather vigilant in keeping overenthusiastic religious fanatics at bay.

But I guess Becky somehow found a way to slip through. One wonders what else happened at the camp.

I sure hope our country doesn’t end up becoming like America — where religious groups go out of control to force their doctrines on other people.

This post was written by:

- who has written 81 posts on New Nation.

Terence is an online media nut that is obsessed with writing and publishing on the Internet. Recently, he took up photography to expand his repertoire, and hopes to learn videography soon. He has worked in both online and print publications such as The Straits Times, Today, Mind Your Body, The Online Citizen, and Funkygrad. He is currently the assistant editor with SGEntrepreneurs, a website that covers entrepreneurship in Singapore and Asia. Terence can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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  • Legendary_slacker

    So you’re saying religious groups are the only ones “go out of control” in America? So in Singapore it’s people like you who’re intolerant. Imagine writing about Christianity but yet not knowing what the different traditions represent.

    • Terence Lee

      I’m against the Christian Right movement in the States and its manifestations in Singapore, not Christianity as a while. So yes, you are right that I’m intolerant. I’m intolerant of those who try to undermine our secular society.

    • TL Lim

      Your post reveals your ignorance about the Jesus Camp. Terence is merely being an honest and responsible citizen. It’s easy to read up about Jesus Camp. Do that first. Of course Terence is aware of the different traditions of Christianity. He’s only opposed to Jesus Camp. Fischer in Jesus Camp is the one who is intolerant. She’s known to refer to Islam as “the enemy”. Any decent person would be intolerant of her. We don’t need a troublemaker like her here. Someone should have called the police.

    • Anonymous

      If you’ve no idea what’s going on, its best to find out before making a fool of yourself

    • Kelvin

      I believe that Terence is more knowledgeable about the different denominations and doctrines of Christianity than the “average Christian”. Of course, the point of contention should not be about how much Terence knows, but what Becky Fischer espouses.

      To be passionate for Jesus is wonderful (to me). But if that passion invades the rights of other religions, then I believe the line has been crossed.

    • Kaleb

      I’ve always found tu quoque a most convenient excuse for a debater who figures his argument is screwed… :)

  • Melvin669

    the 2nd video is extremely creepy!

  • Dick

    When Singapore is doing their best to ward off terrorists from her shores, she should look at her fellow citizens and unite her people together as one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

    It’d be interesting to see what Terence Lee thinks of the assertion that Christians believe a man named Jesus was the Son of God who raised the dead and was himself raised on the 3rd day of his execution.

    Are these ideas extreme?

    : )

    • Holy Jerk Conspiracy

      no. its what they do with those ideas thats extreme….

    • Terence Lee

      Please see my response to legendary slacker.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

    ” I’m intolerant of those who try to undermine our secular society.”
    How does this undermine your secular society?
    Does the Deepavali parade do that too?

    I’m curious to hear your take on how Singapore’s secular society should function.
    : )

    • Terence Lee

      Wally, Becky is aligned with the Christian Right movement in the States, and they are known for their desire to impose their religious values on non-Christians. Plus, if you’ve watched the original documentary Jesus Camp, you will know that her methods are extreme. Which is why I’m hesitant to have her speak in Singapore.

      • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

        “Becky is aligned with the Christian Right movement in the States, and they are known for their desire to impose their religious values on non-Christians”

        Ok, so it’s the American left wing interpretation of secular values you advocate?

        Why not elaborate on your view of secular society in Singapore?

        I’m really interested to hear.

        I’ve been hearing a lot of folks toss the rather vague term around without hearing what they actually mean by it.

        : )

        • Kaleb

          Hmm, fallacy sense is tingling. Do I sense a false dilemma? Why, it seems I do!

          :)

        • http://twitter.com/Yan_BIOE Edan Chrysler

          The irony is that the Americans themselves throw this at people very often (Republican, Democrat, or otherwise): OH, YOU’RE PRO-CHOICE? YOU MUST BE SOME ANARCHIST LEFTIST.

          Here, I quote Staceyann Chin: “The state needs us to be either a clear left or right. Those in the middle get caught in the cross – fire away at the other side. If you are not for us, then you must be against us. If you are not for us, then you must be against us. People get scared enough, they pick a team.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

            “The most disturbing thing came at the end of the second, and shorter video — the kids at the camp prayed for the kids in America to change the country. Probably an euphemism for turning the US of A into a bastion of conservative gay-hating, demon-casting, tongue-speaking Christianity.”

            I think Terence’s statement has already picked some sides.

            You can see my response above.

            And my question:

            “But demon-casting and tongue-speaking is out of bounds?

            Again, do share your understanding of what a secular society allows and disallows.”

            I am interested in what he means by a secular society.

            I really am.

          • Friday

            It’s weird that Terence chose to use the term “secular”. Since Singapore, in the first place, is already a multiracial society itself.

            I believe we are all blessed, to be able to exchange presents during Christmas, receive ang baos during Chinese New Year, watch the Deepavali parade along Buffalo road and shop along Geylang Serai during Hari Raya.

            This is a balance that I really hate to see topple.

            Having said that, I must admit that I am very disturb. Nearly chocked on my mooncake while watching the youtube videos on Jesus Camp.

            This is nothing less than a scare tactic, and frankly speaking, I am very scare after watching the whole clip. If that is the camp’s agenda, it has been very successful, too successful.

            I wonder what traumatic experience that must have been for the children.

          • Friday

            Oh yes, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!! <3

      • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

        “The most disturbing thing came at the end of the second, and shorter video — the kids at the camp prayed for the kids in America to change the country. Probably an euphemism for turning the US of A into a bastion of conservative gay-hating, demon-casting, tongue-speaking Christianity.”

        In your framework of secular Singapore, are all the things above necessarily forbidden?

        Christian doctrine forbids hatred, so I’m with you on the issue of homophobia.

        But demon-casting and tongue-speaking is out of bounds?

        Again, do share your understanding of what a secular society allows and disallows.

        : )

        • Fddsadfsdadfsadf

          Secular simply means that the state should not support nor endorse any particular religion. So for instance, public funds should not be used to pay for religious activities, religious monuments should not be erected on public land, the state should make no law favoring any specific creed, etc.

          It doesn’t mean that people should be prohibited from exercising their right to religious freedom, unless of course that infringes on the common good.

          If you want to believe that there’s an invisible man in the sky with a list of 10 things he doesn’t like you to do, that’s your problem. If you want to feed such crap to your kids, I say that’s your problem too. But if you teach your kids to hate my kids because they don’t believe in your crap, then I think the state should step in to beat the crap out of you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

    ” I’m intolerant of those who try to undermine our secular society.”
    How does this undermine your secular society?
    Does the Deepavali parade do that too?

    I’m curious to hear your take on how Singapore’s secular society should function.
    : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

    ” I’m intolerant of those who try to undermine our secular society.”
    How does this undermine your secular society?
    Does the Deepavali parade do that too?

    I’m curious to hear your take on how Singapore’s secular society should function.
    : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

    ” I’m intolerant of those who try to undermine our secular society.”
    How does this undermine your secular society?
    Does the Deepavali parade do that too?

    I’m curious to hear your take on how Singapore’s secular society should function.
    : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/wallytham Wally Tham

    ” I’m intolerant of those who try to undermine our secular society.”
    How does this undermine your secular society?
    Does the Deepavali parade do that too?

    I’m curious to hear your take on how Singapore’s secular society should function.
    : )

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how they reconcile being in Singapore with their central belief that America is anointed by God to be the head of all nations. Maybe they de-emphasize that portion of their beliefs while outside of America…

  • Fgh

    Jesus Camp fundamental beliefs are as Christian as you can get. The difference, when they say you go to he’ll for not believing, they mean it whereas moderate Christians don’t have the guts not to offense the power that be or Caesar.

    You can say the Jesus Camp people are more honest than the their other hypocritical brethren who want their cake and eat it too.

  • n321

    Im a christian. I think what I saw in these videos is a discusting manipluation of the doctorine that is in the Bible. God tells us to love everyone. Jesus himself spent most of his time with prostitutes and theifs. Saying that these people are “the enemy” is against what the bible teaches. Christians must remember that the bible, and Jesus, teach of loving everyone. Helping everyone. Because the people of the world, no matter what they believe, are loved by God. No matter what they have done or will do, God loves them.

    There is no greater love then this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    It does not matter if you love or believe in God, because He loves and believes in you.

    FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.
    (Not for every one except for christians have sinned…ALL…EVERYONE)

    Were all in the same boat here. All beliefs. All religions. All life styles. No one is better then one. Were all the same.

    I do not ask any of you to believe what I believe. I would ask, however, that you try not to think badly on all christians for the acts of this Hypocryte and people like her. (Harold Camping anyone?) These people use the name “Christian” but do not live according to the beliefs that they suposedly have.

    I apologize for people like this and the people like her, (like the Westboro Baptist Church…) because what they do is descrase the name of God, they are hypocrytes, and they are evil. Not believing is one thing, believing in other things is one thing…but defaceing Gods name and preaching evil manipulations and saying they are from God…that is on a completely different level.

  • Kent Francis

    A few months back, MOE was cock blocked on it’s SexEd reforms when the Catholic community opposed it. It’s instances like this that worry me about the extent of religious extremism that can flourish here.

  • Viper_duo

    I find it strange, you mentioned that they were training kids to be Christian “jihadists” yet you acknowledge that the weapon of their warfare is prayer. You view this with disdain and mention later in the comments that this undermines  our secular society.  However, if you feel that this is nothing but some nutcase trying to influence a group of people on her viewpoints and have nothing to do with God than why should their prayers be effective at all in influencing anything or anyone outside of their sphere of influence? How then is praying I quote ” that God takes over the country, including putting fundamentalist Christians in government” a scary thing? Unless you really believe that the Christian God really is capable of doing so and responding to their prayers. And if so, why should you complain if God really does something and why would should the blame rest on the people who prayed?

    Another thing, noone can force another to take their side of the argument. We all have the freedom to decide what we believe in and do not believe in. It is arguably hard to convert people through prayer. “Convert to Christianity or I shall pray you will be ?” Again, I dont think this makes a convincing argument. Unless again you do believe that the Christian God does answer prayers and their prayers for that matter. Because I dont see them trying to kill people who dont convert. 

    Hence, this entire exercise is either a complete waste of time on everybody’s part or you seriously do believe that they do have spiritual powers that are derived from prayer to God. If so, perhaps a trip to the next prayer conference would be a better use of research time.

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