Viral video depicts child coercion at church summer camp

When does religious indoctrination become child abuse? A disturbing video depicting children crying and wailing in the name of Jesus at a church summer camp has many concerned that the religious indoctrination and coercion depicted in the video is child abuse.

The video, which comes from the Rose of Sharon Summer Camps in Burlinson, TN, was shared publicly on Facebook by a counselor from the camp earlier this week. However, the video soon went viral on Facebook after freethinkers and other concerned citizens saw the horrific emotional and mental abuse the children were suffering in their attempts to show a sufficient amount of piety to please their adult supervisors / tormentors.

Subsequently, the video was removed from Facebook, and the Facebook page for the summer camp was hidden from public view.

Commenting on the video, the administrators for the Awkward Moments Children’s Bible Facebook page reports “our viewers went nuts about what they perceived to be significant emotional abuse of minors. The post went viral with hundreds of comments and hundreds of shares within just a few minutes.”

The webpage for the Awkward Moments Children’s Bible notes:

In our post, we tried to make it clear that we were not trying to “name and shame” anybody personally or from the church organization. Yet, within minutes of going viral again, many counselors, parents, volunteers, and previous campers rushed to our page to attempt to justify the content as showing the children innocently “being slain in the Spirit – nothing is more amazing” or “being overcome by the amazing love of Jesus” or “speaking to God in HIS language is beautiful music to HIS ears!” I feel I should mention, there were also many comments along the lines of, “You are all just evil agents of the enemy, viciously attacking our religious freedoms and persecuting our beliefs!” At the same time, various counselors and parents began posting various public rebuttals to the wall as well.

The video is currently posted to LiveLeak and being mirrored elsewhere, despite the vigorous attempts of the Rose of Sharon Summer Camps to hide the incriminating video.

The LiveLeak site describes the video as “the blatant manipulation, coercion and emotional abuse of minors.”

The site asks readers to “take a stand” and “report this abuse”  noting “This is NOT religious freedom – it is child abuse.”

The question is begged – where does religious freedom for parents end and child abuse in the name of religion begin?

Religious freedom or child abuse?
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