In my youth, I attended Bible camp at the Word of Life Island (WOLI). At the time, I thouight it was a great experience, but looking back, I really have to wonder what sort of place this was. It was an island in the middle of Scroon Lake, NY. While on this island, you were toally cut off from the otuside world. No TV, radios, no newspapers, no phones except in case of emergency. This was during the summer of 1985, and it wasn't until I returned from the island that I was even aware that a baseball strike occurred. Anyway, this place, for all of it's benigh advertising, seemed little more than an indoctrination camp. Your schedule was tightly regimented, you had very little free time, and you were so immersed in the evangelical experience that by thr time you left, you were either preaching the Gospel or had hardened yoru heart against it. By the third day, I was a Bible-thumping, God-fearing, hellfire-and-brimstone preaching, charismatic, evangelical, born-again Christian.
The counselors on this island were students at the Word of Life Bible Institute, a seminary on the mainland. If the campers were the Christian version of the Hitler Youth, then the counselors were the stormtroopers. They would stop you in the middle of the day and quiz you about Bible verses or some such thing, and they did bedchecks in the evening. There was good reason for the latter. From the moment you set foot on the island, you were segregated by gender. The only time you could see or talk to people of the opposite sex was during the evening prayer service. I remember one of our cabin mates sneaking out for a rendezvous with a female camper. Part of me wanted to turn hum in for breaking the rules, and part of me admired his rebel spirit. He was lucky he didn't get caught. Adherence to the rules of the island was paramount. If you broke the rules, you had to spend your free time that day in Bible study and would have to get up at the evening group, read the Bible aloud, and testify to the redeeming power of God, whether you felt it or not. If the infraction was serious enough (such as smuggling a cassette player on the island and listneing to Chrisan music, which I did), you were given corporal punishment, in the form of having to run up and down "Cardiac Hill". I was a pudgy 16-year old, and they made me run up and down this hill until I almost puked.
I don't know quite why I had a dream about this place, or why I remember it with such vitriol. The fact remains: if George Bush and the religious right wanted to raise an army of Chistians to fight the "axis of evil", Word of Life Bible Institute and their ilk are definitely the training ground. Picture it as a terrorist training camp for a new generationof Chrisan martyrs.