Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jesus Camp

It's a really well-made, provocative, sensitive, scary, totally watch-worthy documentary about Evangelical Christians in America. And I think what makes it particularly edgy is that the focus is on children. I watched Jesus Camp a couple days ago -- and I strongly recommend it.

Especially to anyone who thinks that religion today has turned a strange shade of bizarre. This particular film focuses on Christian Evangelicals, but the fact is, fundamentalists of any religion are this...mindblowing.

The film follows three born-again Christian kids to a camp in North Dakota where they're trained to be part of "God's army," an army that's fighting to bring Americans back to Christ (or to their interpretation of Him anyway). Just the idea of children as religious soldiers sends chills coursing through me. There were many moments that made me want to gag -- like when a camp leader was lecturing the kids on abortion, while handing out little plastic fetuses and red "life" strips that they taped across their mouths. Or when the leaders whipped the kids into such a frenzy by making them feel like sinners, that they began to shake and cry.

Still, the film also had many, many humorous moments -- given children's innate naïveté, that's inevitable. One of my favorite moments was when this little 9-year-old walks up to a platinum blond 20-something with large breasts under a tight shirt and hands her a religious book, saying that she felt the woman needed to "be saved." It was just so funny because I had a feeling even before she went over that the blond's big breasts would evoke the devil in this little girl's mind!

The laughter wasn't all comfortable, though. Some of the time, it was derisive(consider that this film about Evangelical kids being essentially indoctrinated was being watched by an NYU-heavy, New York liberal audience). And sometimes the bursts of laughter seemed to come at the most uncomfortable moments.

Anyway, I guess my reaction was colored by the fact that I fit the above mentioned demographic. Most extreme forms of religion scare me. And yet, I didn't entirely dislike the characters. The film has a definite political bent, but at the same time, I think there was a certain fairness of portrayal. Which means the directors did something right.


At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous, for now! said...

May I take you out for lunch sometime? Or coffee? Bubble tea, perhaps?

I think I might have a massive crush.


At 11:32 PM, Blogger rhea said...

hmmm...why be anonymous at all? because you know i could interpret your comment as either flattering or creepy, right? and the whole anonymous thing, makes one lean toward the latter.

and.. do i know you? i mean, outside of the blogosphere. in, like, real life.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger sac said...

i find it quite incredible how much everyone (especially reliogious types) wants to 'save' someone else, but the whole log-in-your-eye principle gets ignored. grrr.


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