Tag Archives: vacation bible school

Indoctrination

My mother and father were from two very different protestant denominations, neither of which were particularly fond of any other denomination usurping their right to be the One True Way. The result: My mother and father stopped going to church, and, by extension, I never did.

To make up for the lack of religious education, they sent me to every Vacation Bible School known to man. Every summer. Fortunately, I guess, they were all scheduled for different weeks. I spent my summer singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” (a song that adults seemed not to remember), making macaroni crosses and hearing bible stories about the Lamb.

This was a good thing, because VBS lacked the hellfire and brimstone of the Sunday church meeting, and I had very little bullshit to wade through and step out of as an adult. Apparentely that’s not so much the case anymore.

There was the “Kids on Fire School of Ministry,” subject of the 2006 film “Jesus Camp,” where kids learned to “take back America for Christ.” The camp shut down after the film’s controversy got to it, but I have no doubts that many such camps still exist. There, kids learn to walk up to strangers and offer to share with them the “good news” of the gospel, and then mutter “fucking A-rabs” as they turn away if their uninvited subjects are dark and refuse.

And then there’s things like the Tampa 912 Project. 912? Glenn Beck, anyone? What’s it all about? Here — let Jeff Lukens, the conservative writer who organizes the thing, tell you:

We want to impart to our children what our nation is about, and what they may or may not be told.

Just guess what that means. For one thing, they’ll teach kids about the “gold standard” by giving them hard candies to use at a store. But a “banker” will exchange their candies for paper money, which becomes less and less valuable over the course of the week. Here’s more:

Another example: Starting in an austere room where they are made to sit quietly, symbolizing Europe, the children will pass through an obstacle course to arrive at a brightly decorated party room (the New World).

Red-white-and-blue confetti will be thrown. But afterward the kids will have to clean up the confetti, learning that with freedom comes responsibility.

Still another example: Children will blow bubbles from a single container of soapy solution, and then pop each other’s bubbles with squirt guns in an arrangement that mimicsĀ socialism. They are to count how many bubbles they pop. Then they will work with individual bottles of solution and pop their own bubbles.

“What they will find out is that you can do a lot more with individual freedom,” Lukens said.

Sound like fun? I’m sure they’ll include some special lessons that include revisionist history from Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Here’s Digby:

These people are raising their kids to be insufferable, proselytizing Ayn Rand adolescents or black-clad teen-age loners who love Death Metal and hate their parents.

Hey, sign me up. Sounds a lot like those parents in rural Pennsylvania or New Jersey or somewhere who named their son “Adolf Hitler” and said it had nothing to do with Naziism or anything like that. They gave their daughter the middle name “Aryan Nation” too, but I suppose that had nothing to do with white supremacism either.

There’s one word for this kind of crap: Indoctrination. Kinda funny, doncha think, that’s same word these right-wing lunatics use for public education. Or Beck’s “FEMA camps.”

Gimme that old time Vacation Bible School. At least that’s survivable.