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August 24, 2007

Open Thread: God’s Warriors

The CNN series God's Warriors with Christian Amanpour pulled in a huge audience according to Drudge. Many of you must have watched it. I caught the last 30 minutes of the 6 hour series. The part I watched covered Christian homeschoolers, Christian environmentalists and the teen-focused Battle Cry movement.

I did not see the rest of the series. Amanpour closed the series saying her job was to report what was going on (implying that she was not there to apply spin). Did she succeed? Was it a fair depiction of Christianity? Thoughts?

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I set my DVR to record the final 2 hours on Christianity but haven't had a chance to watch it. But from what I've heard, including an e-mail from someone who was featured in the Jewish episode, the entire 6 hour series was full of liberal spin on all three religions.


God’s Warriors was on par with every other mainstream media representation of religion, and particularly Christian faith, that I have seen. I thought Christiane Amanpour’s questions were fair, and the interviews were cordial, but the overall depiction of God’s Christian warriors was greatly out of touch with the majority of Christians in America and across the world. Instead of an honest search for the truth about what inspires people to Christian faith and how that inspires them to live, what we got was the usual caricature of the American Religious Right’s war on politics and culture. I myself am a conservative Christian, and I could understand where a lot of the interviewees were coming from, but the footage of pastors screaming political advice, the outdated news clips from the abortion clinic bombings, the aggressive Zionist preachers, and the shallow portrayal of homeschooling parents protecting their children from the real world were all less than inspiring. Of course, it’s always easier to reaffirm stereotypes than to go against the grain, as the power of groupthink is so strong in the media. I didn’t catch much of the other shows on Judaism and Islam, so I don’t know how accurate those were, though my guess is not very.


It seemed as fair as one could expect. She had this theme of "God's Warriors" which everything was filtered through. There the Christian segments focused on seeing the militant looking events like Battle Cry and hearing militant type language does make me cringe when I see and hear it.


Each of the Christian groups portrayed in the final two hours of the series was delighted with the show.

Grizzly Mom

I watched the program twice. I believe that CNN’s intention was to present a piece on “God’s fanatics” not on typical religion. I saw Muslims praising their suicide bomber family member, or saying they would go along with stoning a woman who was raped for fornication if the Korean said to do so. I saw Jewish murderers, provocation on Muslim holy ground by Israeli Prime Ministers that resulted in bloodshed, and settlers who built homes on Palestinian land against Israeli law and U.S. policy, and raising funds for doing so in the U.S, also against U.S. policy. I saw teenage Christian fanatics provocatively demonstrating against homosexuality on Gay “holy ground” in San Francisco, fanatics obsessed with the rapture or Judaism, or home schooling their kids to protect them from the culture. All of these activities made the faiths appear fanatical, bigoted, backward, and without virtue.
Positively I also saw a nice Muslim wife talking about modesty and her husband say he asked his wife’s father if he could date her. Jerry Falwell appeared to be on the conservative side, and all of his people were LAWFULLY and RESPECTFULLY working trying to return U.S. culture to its Judao-Christian roots by training lawyers to argue before the supreme court, giving scholarships to twin girls who lead their graduation class in saying the Lord’s prayer which was against school board policy, one twin’s aspiration to be a lawyer, male/female only dorms, etc. (I don’t remember anything positive about Jews.) These activities made the faiths appear wise, respectful, and virtuous which make them attractive.
When deciding how to live my life I ask what behaviors are going to yield more disciples for Christ that he commanded us to make?
Additionally, I want my children to go to public school to learn how this culture operates, learn evolution so they can prove it wrong if possible, foreign languages, diversity, and all the things that I am not a subject matter expert on so they can engage the culture in a loving, wise, courageous, and politically savvy manner (such as not profaning others’ “holy ground” with my feet.) All of these are a part of the Christian morality I will teach my children myself.


As a homeschooling family, I found the documentary and your article here of interest. While I can't speak for anyone else, although I do feel that Amanpour's documentary was a "hit piece", I think it was obvous to anyone that she had an agenda...down to the background music chosen. It was a laughably ridiculous misportrayal, aspecially her incinuation of the children being overly sheltered and perhaps wrongly educated. I recognized what the mother was teaching, that is the classical method of teaching (see www.thewelltrainedmind.com as this is the website shown on the screen that the mother was using, i recognized it immediatley). A classical education is the kind of education you people pay thousands a year for in the private academic sector. Homeschooling parents almost always take their kids' education and overall happiness and well-roundedness (social, extracurricular) VERY seriously. So, in my opinion, this was all a slant-job. I have a couple of homeschool specific blogs about our family in my aug 07 archive titled "In the Beginning" (that's not a Christian reference) and "Here's to the night before". I think they speak for themselves. The only thing that Amanpour said about it that was correct was that 2-plus million children are homeschooled in the U.S., and it's growing like wildfire. To those who say they want their kids to go to public school to learn foreign language, etc., Their are plenty of classes availble outside the home for homeschooling families to send their kids to in group setting. The alternatives are mind-boggling, but a lot of people who haven't gotten into the homeschooling movement are aware of it, so you can't blame them for the misconceptions, it's merely a lack of information (which is readily available en masse online). With that having been said, I am not against public schools at all! I am FOR parents having the right to educate their children as they see fit, and I am FOR the best schools we as a nation can make with our tax dollars. As a homeschooling family, we don't mind one bit that our tax dollars go to public schools like everyone else. Every child deserves a real chance, and I know not everyone could homeschool even if they wanted too. Public schools SHOULD be good, and safe.



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