Thursday, May 03, 2007

This Will Keep Me Up at Night Now

I saw the most terrifying film last night. It had no gore, no blood, no violence of any kind but it scared the living daylights out of me.

Jesus Camp is about a sect of evangelical Christians essentially brainwashing children every summer at a camp in (no joke) Devil's Lake, North Dakota. The scenes that show how the adults break the kids, really strip them of any pride or self-worth, only to mold them into miniature neocons outraged and saddened me beyond belief. Anyone who routinely coerces rooms full of children to collapse into tears has no business calling herself a Christian. How "Christ-like" is it to force kids to pray to a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush or tell them, "You're missing a third of your friends right now because they've been killed before they could ever be born?"

Watching this film in light of the Supreme Court's recent judgment against late-term abortions was especially chilling and disheartening. These children aren't being taught to love others as they love themselves, or to take care of the less fortunate, or follow any of Christ's teachings. They're being taught that they're the most "special" generation because they'll vote to ban abortion. The emphasis is on government more than true religion.

This particular group of evangelicals are fucking SCARY, y'all. They're really into blood imagery, really big on all the classic tools of propaganda and persuasion (visual aids, sound effects), and really really after our children. The main woman even says, "This is what they're doing in Palestine and Israel, training kids to be warriors." that makes it OKAY??? Is that what we're coming to, a world of religious zealots all brainwashed since childhood to believe our way is the only way?

The children in this documentary were intense but at least they seemed real. The adults all played to the camera. Of course the money shot was Ted Haggard pointing at the camera and saying, "I know what what you did last night." Oh god, he was the WORST, the PT Barnum of mega-churches, all teeth and slick showmanship, coming off like a fake, smug, patronizing sleazeball. I'm not one to celebrate someone else's downfall but I couldn't help feeling glad that the jig is up for him. He can't manipulate anyone else again (I hope. Oh please, I hope).

I just think adults who exploit children, in ANY way, are the creepiest a-holes in the world.

ETA: I just realized the irony of writing this post on what I just discovered is the National Day of Prayer. I wish I could think that everyone is praying for peace, instead of something like the souls of aborted fetuses.

I don't want to end this post with the words "aborted fetuses."

Baby animals! Rainbows! Ice cream! Orgasms! Peonies in bloom! Dirty martinis!


Anonymous said...

Some people professing to be christians give all good christians a bad name. It's just like muslims who use their religion as a reason for terrorism that give good muslims a bad name. Unfortunately, too many people like to clump all christians or all muslims in the same group. I know when I am in the prescence of a good christian or muslim and I know when I am in the prescence of an all-out whack job, too.

Alannah said...

Oh, yes, you're absolutely right.

This is why I made sure to explain that this is only a subsect of evangelicals.

The documentary is really interesting, too, in that the kids' scenes are juxtaposed with those of Mike Papantonio, an Air America host who understands Christianity as a religion whose followers should try to be like Christ. He acts as the voice of reason....sorely lacking from the rest of the film!

NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Down with Jesus-freak, holy-rolling, bible-bangers! Hooray for orgasms!!

Dude, a couple of mormons came to my door the other night. I said thanks, but I'm not interested, and they asked if any of my other roomies would be interested. My roomy said, "No. We drink too much."

StormySleep said...

I know, right?! That's a freaky horrifying movie. My daughter Marnie is temporarily (but not much longer) living in Missouri, which -- as you recall -- is the location of the movie. Her boyfriend just did his master's thesis (sociology of religion) on this very topic, and it's just more horrifying. Oh my. And making those little children cry and feel so shameful, that's just so sad.

I have no point. I just wanted to say yeah, me too.

Alannah said...

That part of Missouri isn't too far from me, either (but you knew that already ;)) so I am intimately familiar with those types. My daughter has good friends who aren't allowed to read Harry Potter.

The sociology of religion sounds like a fascinating topic.

Watching those scenes of the kids sobbing and being made to feel so bad and so guilty just wrenched me. I kept thinking of wild horses being broken....until they just resign themselves to go along with the trainer.