Taking its name from a 1970’s and ‘80’s “mock-town used for paramilitary training,” Silhouette City spans the evolution, commercialization, and politicization of religious extremism. Beginning with the survivalist sect called The Covenant, The Sword & The Arm of the Lord and ending with the advancement of the Christian Right, Silhouette City leaves no stone unturned. The documentary dually functions as an informing essay and an eye-opening plummet into an unsettling realm of fundamentalist ideology and religious intolerance.
With intent to provide a place of refuge during retribution, Jim Ellison led a group of 500-plus religious revolutionaries into Silhouette City and formed The Covenant, The Sword & The Arm of the Lord. Its members gathered food and clothes, stationed themselves in their man-made city, and began to prepare for the impending apocalypse. According to this cult’s line-of-thinking, the End of Days was near, because of a growing fear of being robbed and a heightened prevalence of blatant homosexuality, witchcraft, paganism, and communism. In addition, the believers anticipated Judgment Day as a result of increases in murder, suicide, abortion, drug abuse, pornography, infidelity, incest, and the “humanistic junk” taught in schools.
From there, Silhouette City depicts the progression of this biblical mindset in the presence of modern-day radio, television, and politics. With D. James Kennedy’s “Reclaiming America for Christ” speech and Rod Parsley’s “Man your battle stations. Ready your weapons. Lock and Load!” quote, the secularization of America is established. Further, the belief that this separation is corroding the very values that the United States was built upon is enhanced through the voices of George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ron Luce, Rick Scarborough, and again John McCain’s dynamic “spiritual guide” Rod Parsley. After all, “America is defined by its relationship to God.”
Throughout the film, evangelism is highly touted through both the influence of church-associated speakers and the force of the military. While churches spread the Word and literally rake in millions, soldiers are told to “Bring faith to the foxhole, hope to the home-front, and carry the message of Christ to the ends of the Earth.” The ultimate goal of this joint venture is to establish a global Christian empire and broaden an apocalyptic obsession with not being “left behind” when Christ returns.
If this outlook piques your interest, seek out The Rapture, read the Left Behind series (and add to the author of the novels and founder of The Council for National Policy Tim Lahaye’s – Left Behind Inc.’s – annual revenue of over $100 million dollars), and repent your days away. In addition, both extremists and non-extremists should seek out Silhouette City—not necessarily for its organization and production value, but more so for its information and ability to inspire debate.