Jesus Camp (or...how I learned who most to fear in our country)
"Faith is what credulity becomes when it finally achieves escape velocity from the constraints of terrestrial discourse...constraints like reasonableness, internal coherence, civility and candor. However far you feel you have fled the parish, you are likely to be the product of a culture that has elevated belief in the absence of evidence to the highest place in the hierarchy of human virtues. Ignorance is the true coinage of this realm. 'Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.' (John 20:29) And every child is instructed that it is, at the very least, an option, if not a sacred duty to disregard the facts of this world out of deference to the god who lurks in his Mother's and Father's imaginations."
- Sam Harris
I've seen the future of horror, and it's name is "Jesus Camp". After viewing this movie, I felt exhausted, frustrated, angered, fearful and utterly drained of hope for "Evangelical" Christians.
The movie starts with a prime example of woman "manning" a pulpit, speaking down to a room full of children, most of which have been dropped off by their parents. The large lady brags that the venue they're at holds 5,000 when it's obvious that it couldn't hold more than 500 and there is less than 50 there anyway. This sets up not only the movie, but the premise of Evangelical Christianity as a whole.
What's scariest to me is the Nazi-like way in which these people talk to, raise and prep their children. It's not funny, not in the least. You want something to fear? Fear your life, the life of your loved ones, anything you hold dear in the hands of these "people" and/or their offspring. They are training their kids to be militant, bigoted, self-absorbed, attention-starved, over-hyper, judgmental minions of "Jesus" who are "obedient" to the will of "God" when it's obvious what they really want is attention by the other so-called parents for having the child most oblivious to convention, social skills and a sense of reality.
Watch this movie at your own risk. I for one wish I'd never come across it. My faith in everything has been shaken, even in things not remotely related to this movie. The children are devoid of any manner's (ma'am, sir, please, thank you) and each have acting abilities beyond the subtle making it almost impossible to not to feel for them as victims of their own parents short-comings and social inadequacies. Feel for them that is until you notice their incessant pupil dilation and their tiring self-importance and lack of any compassion for anyone thinking differently.
Each person in this movie attempts to tackle issues that draw attention rather than one's in which their numbers could be helpful. Gays and abortion take the main stage (of course) and are supplemented intermittently with non-issues like creationism vs. realism (oops sorry, I mean science) and the parents take every opportunity to jump in front of the camera to brag about how great it is that their over-stimulated, under-educated children are going to grow up to be like them.
This movie pleased no one. It pissed off the people it was about and it scared the shit out of people who had no idea these obsessive fanatics existed. Of course the families involved don't know what to do with themselves so they promote the movie like rock-stars and ask you to go to their "sponsored" web-sites so you can see "their side" of the story and make plenty of donations while you're at it.
Jesus Camp was as objective as it could be when dealing with such opinionated and self-absorbed people bent on convincing you they are otherwise, and I for one am glad I saw it, if only once so that I now know who the REAL threat to our country, our future and our freedom really are.
"...in these places, religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in the last ten years. Give people divergent, irreconcilable and untestable notions about what happens after death, and then, oblige them to live together with limited resources...the result is just what we see...an unending cycle of murder and cease fire. If history reveals any categorical truth, it is that an insufficient taste for evidence regularly brings out the worst in us. Add weapons of mass destruction to this diabolical clockwork, and you have found a recipe for the fall of civilization..."
- Sam Harris
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Ewing and Grady cover the proceedings thoroughly....What the viewer primarily takes away from JESUS CAMP is the triumph of nurture over nature."
Box Office - Mark Keizer (10/01/2006)
"Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady superbly capture the fervor....Disturbing stuff."
Total Film - Carmen Gray (11/01/2007)
4 stars out of 5 -- "Funny, sad and horrifying. Anti-fundamentalist rather than anti-Christian, this deserves to preach to more than just the converted."
Empire - Empire Staff (10/19/2007)