There are a number of Christian Madrassas that indoctrinate the younger generation into how to be good political Christians. Many of these fundamentalist camps are the perfect model for a science fiction totalitarian dystopia, but few seem to lack the self-awareness that the Summer Missionary Institute of Training and Evangelism — known by the creative acronym SMITE — does.
A breeding ground for fundamentalists
SMITE has been “training Christian workers” since 1978, according to their banner. If that sounds ominous, that’s because your translator has the correct settings. It really means they’re “training the next generation of lunatic fundies.”
It starts with the application, which notes that they proudly stand against the 21st and even the 20th centuries, that they use only the King James translation, and that they practice gender segregation (bolding original):
The preaching is very direct, HOT! Those that are easily offended need not apply. We only use the King James Version of the Bible. We stand against liberalism, modernism, all forms of rock and roll, country western, and contemporary music. We support and enforce modest dress and behavior. We DO NOT support nor encourage the world’s view of “Dating”. The typical “boyfriend/girlfriend relationships” are not allowed at this institute; therefore “fraternizing” is not permitted. Most activities will have the boys separated from the girls in order to decrease distractions.
They also want to make sure that potential trainees don’t bring “flashlights, knives, radios, iPods, Mp3 players [Thamiel: people still use these?] and ear phones.” Aside from a knife and earphones, my phone is all of that and more, but since they reject modernism, they probably don’t have any idea what a smart phone is.
Of course, there’s an obvious reason for this, and that’s because they want to cut attendees off from the outside world. Like mold, fundamentalism flourishes where the sterilizing light of government regulation and oversight can’t reach. And if you want more proof of that, they admit as much in their opening statement:
Cell phone calls will be limited to 5 minutes per day to parents only; no text messaging to anyone, anytime under the penalty of expulsion from SMITE. We will strictly enforce these rules.
You get your free five minute call, and then you’re right back in prison again.
Modesty is very important for Christian Madrassas like this. The only reason they don’t demand women wear a burqa is because Muslim fundamentalists beat them to it.
Their dress code for men is just as insane, however, demanding that men not wear “Afros, punk, weed eaters, or cool dude hairstyles.” It also bars “effeminate apparel”:
Sports shirt and appropriate pants. Dress shirts and tie are required for evening services. No T-shirts with artwork unless approved by the management. No low waist pants are allowed. Hair must be neat and well kept and must not touch the ears, eyes, or collar. No Afros, punk, weed eater, or cool dude hairstyles. No necklaces, earrings, nose rings, or any other effeminate apparel.
I wasn’t aware that a nose ring is “effeminate.” I also have no idea what a “weed eater” hairstyle is, although now I’m imagining a hair sculpture that looks like this.
The casual racism is a perfect fit for the homophobia, as well.
As you can imagine, the dress code for women is just as nuts. It even comes with visuals:
They warn women that if they don’t “dress accordingly,” then the camp will be “providing clothing.” Clothing that they “may not want to wear.” The application adds, “Shirts should be long enough so no mid-drift [sic] will show when you sit, bend over, or raise your arms.”
SMITE also requires that you give up the email address that you use for your Facebook page. It makes it easier for the Thoughtpolice to Facebook stalk you and judge you by your pictures.
This dream camp will set you back $35 dollars for the admission and $105 in total (if you want the t-shirt; it’s $40 dollars admission and $115 if you don’t, so you’re paying for it either way). For Alumni, it’s considerably cheaper (presumably because they already have the t-shirt), while children 4 years and younger get in free.
After all, you gotta get the kids while they’re young; every totalitarian-fascist nation has known that.
Featured image via Friendly Atheist