It’s the kind of thing nightmares are made of – David, a straight-A student from Colorado, is startled from his slumber in the middle of the night by strange men, placed in a “transportation device”, and whisked away under the cover of darkness. The teen isn’t told where he’s going or if or when he’d be returned. He winds up in Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic – but this isn’t a ransom case or white slavery ring. David’s parents aren’t sitting at home hounding the police to find him – they’ve paid good money for their son to be abducted against his will.
David’s story provides the central focus of the upcoming documentary Kidnapped for Christ – a film that examines how certain Evangelical Christian families are paying military-styled boarding schools to take their wayward children and retrain them so they’re living lives in line with Biblical principles. What was David’s great failing? He told his parents he was gay.
As Kidnapped for Christ points out, the camp at Escuela Caribe is just one of many in the burgeoning “troubled teen” industry. People have known of its existence since at least 2005, when Julia Scheeres’ memoir Jesusland told readers of the physical and psychological abuse she suffered while at the camp in the mid 1980s. The documentary gives viewers images that put those punishments into context and highlights how children are being held against their will, cut off from contact with family and friends outside of the United States.
Regardless of where you stand on the issues of parental rights and religion, the trailer for Kidnapped for Christ certainly raises some ethical questions about how children are treated at Escuela Caribe. The film hasn’t been completed yet, but if you’re moved by what you see you can donate through the documentary’s IndieGoGo page. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think.