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November 21, 2006

Suffer little children (part 2)

I realize this is like shooting fish in a barrel, but this article from Britain’s Telegraph on a kids’ conference run by Becky “Jesus Camp” Fischer is truly beyond belief (and worth reading in its 4,700-word entirety):

At 9pm – a time when most of the children might have been expected to be in bed – the atmos-
phere in the Christ Triumphant Church was approaching fever-pitch. On stage, a teenage Christian rock band called Signs and Wonders was playing something sweet and exul-
tantly hypnotic.
Some of the children were dancing, their bodies writhing and twisting, their arms flailing in the air, perspiration on their foreheads. Some had fallen to the ground, ‘slain in the spirit’, as the phrase has it, and were now crouching and kneeling in prayer, while the grown-ups moved among them laying on hands, some speaking in tongues.
… The numberplates on the cars and camper-vans parked outside the Christ Triumphant Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, suggested that some families had travelled hundreds of miles to attend what was billed as ‘The Extreme Prophetic Conference for Kids’.
The event was hosted by an evangelical organisation called Kids in Ministry, founded by Pastor Fischer. Kids in Ministry describes its aims as to promote a vision of ‘how God sees children as His partners in ministry worldwide’; with the purpose of equipping children ‘to do the work of ministry and release them in their giftings and callings’.
What this means, in simple terms, is training children, some as young as five, to use the ‘gifts’ of healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues more commonly associated with Old Testament prophets and Jesus Christ Himself.

Out in the real world, we call this “child abuse.”

Children, Fischer told me, are ‘part of God’s End Time army’, as capable as adults of operating in the ‘gifts of the Spirit’, including preaching the Gospel, laying hands on the sick, raising the dead and speaking in tongues.
She cited the biblical book Acts, 2:17: ‘In my last days I will pour out my spirit and your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your young men shall see visions, your old men shall see dreams.’
Fischer allowed that not many people took this to apply to children as young as five. But children, she said, are ‘naturally in touch with the supernatural. You have to remember this is a relatively new phenomenon.
‘When people start hearing that children are prophesying and preaching they get goosebumps. But this is happening across the face of the earth. I’ve got a friend in Tanzania who runs a school where children are healing the sick and casting out devils.’

They get goosebumps? I get nauseous.

‘I’ve been accused of brainwashing these children,’ Fischer said, ‘but they’re brainwashing our kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can’t turn on TV without seeing witchcraft, perversion, homosexuality, jumping in and out of bed with anybody and everybody. It might be common behaviour, but it’s not normal.’ You want to screw up a kid’s life, Fischer said, send them to university. ‘They’ll turn his head so inside out and upside down he won’t even know which end he’s supposed to wipe.’

Fischer’s idea of education is to teach second-graders about pornography:

The next morning, there was an appearance by a guest speaker named Stacey Campbell, well-known in Charismatic circles for her work with children.
A small, energetic woman in her forties, she began by asking for the Lord’s intervention over the matter of the pornographer Larry Flynt opening a Hustler boutique in Nashville – ‘Because if he can take Nashville, he can take America…’
I wondered how many of the eight-year-olds in the congregation had heard of Larry Flynt or knew what pornography was.
‘There is a living Devil, and he is after your generation,’ Campbell went on, recounting a story about seven-year-olds being sold into prostitution in Thailand. ‘The Devil knows about your generation. He wants to steal from you and kill you. But God knows about you, too.’
… That afternoon, the children divided into groups for lessons in ‘prophetic’ painting, music and dance. The dance class was conducted in the main hall by Carol Koch, one of the pastors of Christ Triumphant, and afterwards people began to gather there for Fischer’s talk on interpreting prophetic symbols and colours.
They were greeted by the sight of a small child lying on the floor, twitching and groaning. It was Ruth, the eight-year-old whom I had noticed prophesying the day before.
‘Don’t worry about her,’ Fischer said. ‘They had a really sweet moment in the dance class today and she was touched by God.’
She carefully stepped around the prostrate body and attempted to press on with her talk, then gestured to Koch. ‘She’s kind of distracting.’ Ruth’s father came out of the audience, picked up his child and carried her off to a side room.

I believe this is called “causing actual bodily harm.”

The Rev Chris Hand is an authority on the Charismatic movement. The pastor of a Baptist church in Derbyshire and editor of the Christian magazine Today’s Contender, Hand is a former Charismatic who left the movement some 12 years ago, unable to find any Biblical justification for its prophetic claims.
… The emotional hysteria generated in Charismatic gatherings was also, Hand told me, ‘alien to the Christian faith’; and, he thought, ‘particularly questionable and at times dangerous’ where children were involved. ‘These kinds of experiences have immense potential to deceive both the children themselves and the adults who encourage them. For most of these children, they’ll look back in 10 years’ time and wonder what on earth it was all about.’
Hand is the father of two children, aged five and eight, whom he is trying to raise in the Christian faith, he told me, ‘and I would not let them come within a million miles of Kids in Ministry’.

Which is great for Hand’s children, but Fischer continues to pursue her brand of extreme child abuse elsewhere, aided and abetted by insane charismatic parents. And protected by the magic cloak of religion, she gets away with it.

Sometimes I wish I lived anywhere but the US.

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