1.17.08 ~ Jesus Camp

Today’s Music: “Red Eye”, The Album Leaf

TODAY’S TOPIC: Film of Choice – Jesus Camp

Tonight I watched “Jesus Camp”, a documentary on loan to me from Karen Popp (one of my coworkers and work-friend) which was of course on loan to her from Netflix. I’d seen clips of this some time ago and wanted to see it, and had totally forgotten about it until she brought it up the other day.

I don’t quite know where to begin. It’s definitely a political fan about the extreme Evangelical conservatives in the nation. It does an excellent job of implying this on the most subtle levels while keeping you interested in what’s happening with the kids. More than once the ministers come right out and say that they are training these children to be “warriors” and to take over the nation. It’s a little frightening that not only are the Evangelicals (both moderate and severe) are the largest group of voters, but also the group of people most likely to go out and vote.

On one hand, I have to say I wasn’t as incensed by the entire film as I was by the brief clips I watched on YouTube. Part of me is warmed by seeing children with faith, well-spoken children who have each other for a community. It’s good to see children who admit to being teased and not letting it bother them. On the other hand, the narrow-mindedness is troubling. The children, when speaking during interviews, often sound far more grown up than they are. It is as if you can hear the adults who monitor their lives speaking through them. It isn’t the Holy Ghost; it’s the pastors and ministers.

More troubling than the children are the adults featured in the films. Violent and almost terrorist-like, these people exist with a singleness of vision that is at once both commendable and frightening. Becky, the woman leading the camp, spends a fair amount of time describing how the extremist Muslims raise their children from very young ages not to be afraid of dying for their faith. That’s how they can, in their teenage years, so bravely carry hand grenades into public places. That’s what we should be teaching our children, she says. (The first part is not a -direct- quote, but you get the idea. The latter part essentially is.)

As a film, it’s very well done. While covertly being a liberal film, I felt overall it was very unbiased. The few facts it presented were very cut and dry. “75% of all homeschooled kids are Evangelical Christians.” Pure numbers without commentary one way or the other. The directors and producers make no comment for the entirety of the film. All that’s said and shown is what’s said and done by the subjects. There is, of course, an outsider radio host who has a few soundbytes, but these clips I felt were put in to guide the audience to one question or another.

I don’t have much to say about this one. I took a shower after finishing it, to give myself more time to think about it. I’m still digesting it. Maybe I’ll have a solid statement to make one way or another about it in a few days or a week. Right now I don’t even know if I’d actively recommend it. It’s an excellent film, and I enjoyed it. I felt it had a strong message, politically. I just don’t know if I’ll make a big stink out of telling all my friends.

**** out of *****

(a.) Yes, I stole Jordan’s rating system.

b.) I now go to sign up for Netflix.)


One Response to 1.17.08 ~ Jesus Camp

  1. jor says:

    I now can’t imagine life without Netflix. And you may have stolen the rating system from me, but, sadly, I stole it from Netflix first.

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