'Jesus Camp' Pastor Says She Does Not Manipulate Children

Pastor Becky Fischer, director of an evangelical Christian summer camp featured in the controversial documentary "Jesus Camp," told "Good Morning America" that she did not manipulate children's emotions.

"I do not use guilt. I do not use shame or manipulation in those ways," Fischer said. "This is a very intense moment. These children are passionate about their faith in Jesus Christ. Most people don't really have much emotion going on in their religion at all."

"Jesus Camp" chronicles Kids on Fire, a summer getaway for evangelical Christians nestled in Devil's Lake, N.D.

In the film, young children are often shown weeping over abortion, speaking in tongues, and overwhelmed with emotion, sobbing for their sins.

But "Air America" radio host Mike Papantonio disagrees with the tactics used at the camp.

"I think when you look at what occurs in the camp, there is a use of guilt. There is a use of shame," Papantonio said. "That is not directed all at Becky. I mean, what is a 5-year-old capable in ways of sin? Maybe stealing an Oreo from a cookie jar."

Papantonio asked Fischer why children needed to be so emotional at such a young age.

"One repetitive theme is a child crying, a child laying out on the ground and crying. Well, what are they crying about?" he asked. "Why does a 5-year-old feel like it is necessary to cry about their spirituality?"

Some Christian Evangelics Akin to Foot Soldiers

Even though no one is getting hurt, Papantonio believes kids should not be indoctrinated at such a young age.

"Again, this is not directed at Becky, but you have a movement … that is part of the evangelical movement. It is not the entirety of the evangelical movement," he said.

"At the core of the religion is, they believe, and all religions believe, that when we do good work, the grace of God is invited to work. The same is true in the way we deal with our children. We don't have to shame them. We don't have to make them feel guilty."

In the film, Fischer seems to compare the Christian movement to war.

"Take these prophesies and take what the Apostle Paul said and make war with them," she shouts at boys with war paint on their faces in the film.

"This means war."

Fischer insisted that the use of "war" in her teachings was no cause for concern.

"All of the language that has people really upset about [is] the warred language. That is very typical in Christian communities. We are taught to fight the good fight of faith," she said.

"The sword of the Spirit, which is the Bible, it is a whole vernacular. We are in no way, shape or form trying to get these kids to be militant and go out and strap on a bomb belt. That is nothing further from the truth. Children are far more capable of understanding things than we give them credit for."

Still, Papantonio insisted that using language that described religion in warlike terms recalled real wars that were being fought on a religious basis all over the world.

"I will tell you what struck me about it. Today, as we sit and talk about this issue, there are children -- what we call 'child soldiers' in Sudan -- who carry AK-47s because for some reason they are emotionally led, for some reason they believe it is us against them," he said. "They have this belief that their politics are right, and the other politics are wrong. Well, they are led that way at 5, 6, 7 years old not by reason. They are not even at the age of reason. They are not able to determine right from wrong."

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