Monday, September 25, 2006

Jesus Cramp

So there's this new documentary out chronicling the goings-on at what is little more than an American madrassa:

You've never seen this in a movie before—young children speaking in tongues and rolling on the floor, apparently under the power of the Holy Spirit. And what is more, they're dressed in camouflage, to represent their identity as soldiers in God's army. They're asking God to fill the U.S. Supreme Court with "righteous judges." They're protesting abortion. They're shouting prayers for President Bush while they lay hands on a cardboard cut-out of his likeness. And—don't tell Al Gore—but they're being taught that global warming isn't a problem at all.

Jesus Camp is not a drama or a comedy. It's a documentary, made by award-winning filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, who follow the experiences of three young children—Levi, Tory, and Rachael—as they attend the "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. The camp, directed by Becky Fischer, encourages children to embrace Christianity through programs of intense instruction and charismatic worship.

Some Christian media personalities are speaking out against the movie, but for differing reasons. A few accuse the filmmakers of trying to discredit Fischer and her camp, and they rush to the defense of the film's subjects, saying that their methods of worship and education are to be celebrated. Others are criticizing the film by saying that this documentary footage severely misrepresents Christianity, and that it has been framed to draw viewers into viewing Christians as lunatics.

The fact that this thing is in a place called Devil's Lake just makes the stupid-ade that much sweeter. The important thing to keep in mind is that Becky Fischer herself has already said that she thinks the film was a fair representation of what she's trying to do, which is turn perfectly good kids into drooling morons.

Look, like most of these little exercises in fetishism, this movie and this camp are not about faith. This is not a camp about spirituality, or godliness, or any sort of contemplative pursuit in seeking the inner godhead. This is a place of politics, of cheap indoctrination and rote nonsense. "Laying hands" on a cardboard Bush is not "religious", it's stupid. It's like me thinking that if I'd had a cardboard cutout of Eddie Van Halen when I was eighteen, I'd have known how to play Hot For Teacher without ever having to practice.

And rolling around on the floor babbling nonsensical syllables (aka "speaking in tongues") is the sort of behavior that used to get you locked away for your own good, but with these charismatic/pentecostal goofballs, it's more of a snake-free method of showing the congregation how freaky you can get, which in the Benny Hinn stadium shows can actually turn into a rather entertaining breakdancing-for-morons sort of competition. Nothing like watching Florida Panhandle yahoos "throw down" and try to out-do each other in the hillbilly-Aramaic spelling bee.

What sort of teenagers and adults are these kids going to turn out to be, after having crazy shit like this pounded into their heads? What the fuck is wrong with their parents, or Becky Fischer for that matter? The only other "God's Army" one regularly hears about is the one in Uganda that massacres villages and kidnaps the children to use as either sex slaves or soldiers.

It's ironic that this sort of "warriors fer Christ" lunacy thrives in precisely the regions of the country that have by far the least to worry about from religious extremism and terrorism, at least from Islamic terrorists. The Christian ones, I wouldn't be so sure about. Wait till these poor kids grow up, soundly pummeled into raptured stupidity. They will either figure out their parents' bamboozlement and wrack their imaginations for the most caustic way to rebel, or worse they'll get deeper into it, and either lash out at some unsuspecting brown immigrant, snap and kill their families, or find a like sect of goofballs to escalate a Jesusier-than-thou pissing contest with.

For people who claim to be looking forward to the end of the world, they sure do seem to be overstaying their welcome.

1 comment:

firestarter5 said...

"What sort of teenagers and adults are these kids going to turn out to be, after having crazy shit like this pounded into their heads?"