Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Film Review -- Jesus Camp

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where every day is a new day! Hooray!

Before we get started, here are some upcoming dates you'll want to throw on your calendar. Meet and greet Anne, have a great time, go home feeling good about the world!

Thursday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.
Pizza and Poetry Night: Haiku
Location: Slice of New York Pizza, 3rd St. between Market and Cooper, Camden, NJ. BYOB

Sunday, April 29, 12:00 noon
LlynHydd Grove Beltaine Ritual
Picnic Area 14, Ridley Creek State Park, Gradysville, PA.
No B allowed!

Friday-Sunday, May 4-6, all day
Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm, Glen Rock, PA. Admission: $10.00
Includes: Costumed faeries and Green Men, full Beltaine ritual with Celtic music, drum circles, Scottish and Celtic performers, art and crafts by selected artisans.

For those of you living in the Washington, DC/Baltimore area, this is definitely worth the drive. You know who you are.

Saturday, May 12, 12:00 noon
Maypole Celebration at Woodstock Trading Company, NJ Route 70 West between Greentree and Springdale Roads.
Includes: live music, best Maypole on the east coast, lots of fun getting the ribbons untangled, lots of fun watching people drive by and stare. When this pole is rocking on, it is a gorgeous sight!

Wow! We at "The Gods Are Bored" are gonna be busy little beavers!

Today's topic: the independent documentary film Jesus Camp.

Jesus Camp is a well-directed 90-minute documentary about children who are being inculcated with extreme pseudo-Christian beliefs.

I say pseudo-Christian because the agenda of the adults influencing the children has very little to do with Christian theology and a whole heck of a lot to do with politics. The children (youngest seem to be around 5, oldest are tweens) are encouraged to get off their butts and spread Christianity, to be political activists, and to see that their sort of Christian is voted into office -- and put onto judicial benches.

Lest we think this is a bunch of fringe fundie wackadoos, the directors lace the film with radio coverage of Samuel Alito's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. And we've already seen where that's leading. Right, my lieblings?

The most bizarre aspect of this documentary is that the adult leadership of Jesus Camp allowed the directors to film their activities. What I saw amounted to child abuse -- kids weeping over their sins, throwing themselves on the floor, promising to fight for Jesus, even doing martial dances to aggressive music. The resemblance to the footage from Jonestown is staggering. If the adults had passed out cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, the kids would have downed it.

To the adult leadership of Jesus Camp, the hero is Fearless Godly George W. Bush. The villain (aside from poor old misunderstood Mr. Applegate) is the public school system. And liberals, of course, although the kids are too young to understand political nuance yet.

But this generation of youngsters is going to change all that. The adults tell them that they are the ones who will "take back the Christian nation of America for Jesus Christ."

(That sound you just heard was Thomas Jefferson turning in his grave.)

Intentionally, the directors offer vistas of the wide, dreary American heartland, with its soulless highways, dull little towns surrounded by shopping centers, and cardboard suburbs. It's easy to see how anything with a pulse would be attractive to kids stuck in such surroundings. Political Jesus fits the bill.

But have heart, readers! We at "The Gods Are Bored" hate scary movies. Jesus Camp was shaping up to be a real challenge to the ol' blood pressure until near the end, when Pastor Ted Haggard makes a cameo appearance preaching about (I swear on my mama's grave) homosexuality.

Mr. Johnson and I were watching the CD together, and we both roared with laughter. We had to rewind the doggone thing to hear what we missed while rolling on the floor.

There was one other patch of blue in this otherwise chilling glimpse at the Brave New World.

Although the directors made great efforts to mask it, Jesus Camp was not particularly well-attended. In the panoramic scenes of the chapel, swaths of vacant seats could be seen.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" pray that these seats may never be filled. If they are, when today's youngsters grow up, they're going to find not only a tropical America baking in a greenhouse oven, but also a theocracy that will borrow liberally from George Orwell's 1984.

Annie Sez: You can make your kids matter, too. Take them to the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm! Talk to them about the Constitution. And for the love of fruit flies, send them to public school!



Hecate said...

You so rock. And, you are braver than I am. I can't make myself watch jesus camp..

Morgaine said...

Brava, Sister! I like all three of those suggestions. Did the movie mention that new Xtian video game where kids blow people to bits for yaj? We've got a lovely little crop of goosesteppers growing up in this country.

I wish I had known you when I lived in Philly.

Anonymous said...

Where were the media 45 years ago when I was being put through this very same crap? They might have helped forestall a lot of the past few decades if they hadn't been sitting around in their little circle as usual, assuming everyone was like themselves, till the knock came on the door.

Rodger Cunningham

buddydon said...

nuther fine post. i seen that movie n wuz happy fer the punch line (haggard).

them eevents sounds verr innerestin. we hope to go to sum such, whuther here or thar is the queschun.

Sarah said...

Oi! I live in North Dakota, so treat it kindly, thank you!

That being said, "Jesus Camp" was indeed a frightening film. My two favorite crap-your-pants-scary parts? The Creation Adventures kids movies with dinosaurs as the newscasters debunking evolution; and the little girl asking the old black men in D.C. if they "had found Jesus" (you know the crap) then saying that they must be Muslim or something like that.

Levi, the kid who wanted to be a pastor, was a sympathetic character for me, and I am angry for the adults who twisted his mind. His younger sister (right?) frightens me with her almost manic devotion to the cause.

The camp no longer resides in Devils Lake (ironic!) North Dakota. It has been shut down, thank the Gods.

I love "The Gods Are Bored," by the way. Paganism + humor = amazing!

Anonymous said...

don't forget to put CONSTITUTION DAY on your calendar: September 18!