"Kidnapped For Christ", is a documentary about a youth-camp located south of the United States where American evangelical parents can send their children, considered disobedient, for correction. Co-Writer, Director and Star, Kate Logan, a Christian university student of media arts, was at first intending a curious look at the good work an off shore Christian organization was providing for families with troubled teens.
What she discovered instead was more of an institutionalised youth-prison called, "Christian Reform Camp" located in Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic. In the documentary "Kidnapped For Christ", CRC uses mental and light physical abuse to brainwash or teach children an understanding of discipline according to the Bible and let them experience, by this treatment, the pain they cause to their family by being disobedient and undisciplined.
Most people have heard the phrase, "Spare the rod and spoil the child", and most people know that in today's society whipping or beating a child into submission is severely frowned upon. Add to that the growing speed and accessibility to adult life through social media or peer pressure, and parents have " A hard row to hoe", so to speak, when it comes to rearing and protecting their children; let alone following a religious doctrine.
With that understanding in mind, "Kidnapped for Christ" begs the question on the legitimacy of methods used for the solution of disobedience and disciplinary issues. Do parents allow using primitive behavioral methods and cruel brainwashing techniques to direct a child's path or does one seek family guidance, education, communication, and reasoning to help understand or change behavior?
Film maker, Kate Logan; writer, Yada Zamora; and producer, Lance Bass, do well not to place blame on the parents who entrusted their children to this system. The parents, we assume, chose these method for "last resort" help, often at great financial strain. Why else would a loving parent allow an organization to come into the home without warning to the child, arrest, restrained and take their child away to an island? Some children stay in CRC for several years often until the age of emancipation. It almost makes you weep for both the parents and the child even to consider it. The parents are not interviewed in "Kidnapped For Christ" so we are left without knowing their stated reasoning.
"Kiddnapped for Christ" shows in many cases the child's civil rights are being violated. Captive children are often punished for speaking out of turn, being different or asking questions. Children are given task to perform as punishment and assigned status of allowances. Sometimes the children are forbidden privileges, forbidden to speak or having to do extensive exercises such as, squats, push-ups, and running, many times until they bleed. Besides given extra chores, a child may be sentenced to solitary confinement for days at a time without a bed or a chair, only a sheet or blanket and a bucket for human waste.
During a child's stay, parents are not allowed to see nor communicate with their children, for the most part, as the institution fears that the love between them will weaken the effort of ethics being developed in the young adult Christian.Children can be emancipated at 171/2 or 18 years of age. But In CRC the young adults may still be held captive, according to the CRC laws while in the Dominican Republic.
In "Kidnapped For Christ" primarily three young adults are being focused on. These children consist of two young women and one young male. We assume the women are there because they have been disobedient or defiant and we learn that the young male has been taken because he announced his orientation to be homosexual. In the end, we learn that not every childs experiences were negative. Of the three children followed, one of the females feels that the process saved her life. She is now married and living with a husband and has children of her own. The other two young adults feel that the experience was extremely harmful having no religious or other redeeming qualities. They are both not married and are still recovering, even after several years out of the facility and living on their own. The young man is still Christian and homosexual. Of all the children focused none blame their parents.
To date in America, parents do not get a handbook on how to raise their children. It has been said that marriage, family life, and the rearing of children should be a mandatory curriculum in American school systems. In yesteryear parents did not "Spare the Rod". Parents ruled their households with complete authority. Today we live as a free society in which religious beliefs are up to each individual and the youth are encouraged to win at life , make a good living, keep up with their peers and be better in life than their parents.
" Kidnapped for Christ" begs for answers. Perhaps In today's social climate, religious or not, it will take a community "think tank" to rally round the youth and focus for better understanding of our pan-direction of humankind.
"Kidnapped for Christ" is a very provocative documentary. Winner of the Audience Award 2014 Slamdance Film Festival.
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Director: Kate Logan
Writers: Kate Logan, Yada Zamora
Stars: Kate Logan |