I stumbled across some comments that Ted Haggard made about the film, Jesus Camp. Ted is in the film. Apparently, the directors spent some time filming at New Life (Ted’s church in Colorado Springs). It seems like Ted was not happy with the way he and the greater Evangelical/charismatic church is portrayed in the movie. I have not seen the movie, but from what I can tell, Ted joked around with the directors on camera and he feels like his joking comes across as serious comments. Also, he feels like the group in the film is being depicted as the norm in Evangelical and Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity. If you do not know Ted, let me give you the skinny: He is the current president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the pastor of one of the largest churches in the US and a fellow ORU alum. Here is what Ted said:
“You can expect to learn as much about the Catholic Church from Nacho Libre as you can learn about evangelicalism from Jesus Camp. This movie manipulates facts like a Michael Moore film and works the camera like The Blair Witch Project. It’s one more ‘documentary’ that seems to miss the point intentionally.”
Not only is Ted the president of the NAE, but he is in touch with pop culture. I am impressed with both his leadership and knowledge of film.
“The group they chose is a sub-group of the charismatic movement portrayed as mainstream. Then by using the portion where I am joking around and casually talking about the growth of Evangelicalism, they make us all look like we’re dominionists, which we are not. Not only does the movie misrepresent Evangelicalism, but it misrepresents the Charismatic movement. It does represent a small portion of the Charismatic movement, but I think the film demonizes it.”
I felt the same thing when watching the trailer for the movie. They show kids doing a skit where they are dressed up like soliders and then cut to Becky, the children’s pastor, saying something about the Army of God. There was a subtle demonizing, in what I could see in the trailer.
You can read more comments at www.tedhaggard.com.
The directors responded by saying that they did not have an agenda in making the documentary. They write: Perhaps Pastor Ted regrets how he comes off in the film and is expressing it by criticizing us, Becky, and the children in the film. What he calls “negative” and not “normative” we see as simply true and accurate. As for us, we will continue to share “Jesus Camp,” with people from all backgrounds and beliefs and learn from the profound discussions that result from this film..
I made some comments in an earlier blog after watching and reading some of the news reports and trailers for the film. I am not writing a full-fledged review until I have seen the whole movie.