Monday, October 23, 2006

Jesus Camp (2006)

This would be Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's documentary portrait of Pastor Becky Fischer the smiling hellfire preacherette who runs a summer camp program (ominously dubbed "Kids on Fire") for aspiring Christian Revolutionaries.
Films like this are always disconcerting, especially when we see impressionable children being drilled into mindless book-worshipper with a pronounced tendency for the entirely pagan veneration of George Bush's mortal person.
There is a great deal of christian rock, rap, television, cartoons and even religious heavy metal music all sorts of noisy distractions designed to wrap children up in an alternate god-centric culture.
This can be scary to watch to the unwary.
I however wonder if these kids who are being trained as religious zealots (in part to meet the fanciful threat of Islam aroused and militant) are really gonna stick with it? For the most part the range in age was from eight to about twelve, I'd love to see a follow up some ten years down the line to see if they are really so righteous, truculent and simple minded come age twenty.
Because lets face it, revolutionary christianity with all it's authoritarianism and hatred for the separation of church and state NEEDS all this manipulative sound and fury to survive.
It is to say the least a narrow minded, bossy, bleak and inhumane faith predicated on the promise of predestined life after death, a pledge that can revoked at any time on the whim of some wowser witch doctor.
So it stands to reason with theology demanding much and returning so little, there is desperate need to keep the kids in a perpetual religious fervor otherwise they might calm down enough to stop and think as to WHY the Pastor Fischer needs so many expensive techno-toys to preach her angry aggressive gospel.
Or else start watching Harry Potter DVDs.
Pastor Fischer may herself come across as a New American Cromwell screaming up a new generation of roundheads, but her speaking in tongues routine is strictly syllable by syllable out of Bob Tilton's book of religious nonsense.
She has a old message, i don't expect it wear well over time.
The other interviewees, the youth pastors and revivalists, looks fidgety and scared sometimes, they talked a good game about huge evangelical voting blocks but didn't seem convinced of their own omnipotence. Truth is, the serious fundamentalist sects have a problem with kids falling away as they grow older just like all the other denominations. Nothing in the fire of their faith seems to guarantee a successful lifelong conversion.