Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jesus Camp? Jesus Christ...

At the repeated urgings of a friend —

[aside — it went like this:

INT. Blockbuster

Ooo! Jesus Camp! That's some scary shit, man, you gotta see it.

Your Humble Narrator
Okay, let's rent it...

Nah, I've got it at home. I'll bring it next time.

Let one or two weeks pass; repeat scene]

— I finally rented Jesus Camp last weekend. It was, as promised, scary shit.

I really don't mind what people believe. The Great Tomato came down and told you to wear a dress made entirely of lasagna? Iggy the Ice Pixie's Tome of Magic Stamps demands you sleep with your feet on the pillows on Tuesdays and that you not say the word "and" all day Friday? Yeah, okay, sure, whatever. No, the only problem I have with it is when they all get together and demand that everyone else must believe what they believe, or at least act like they do, and try to compel that by force of law. That, I object to.

Well, that’s what this movie’s about. Brainwashing today’s preteens to be tomorrow’s fascists in government, the media, the workplace. They couldn’t give a raw goddamn what happens to the world in terms of war, pollution, despoilage, extinctions, poverty or human misery, because they all believe that any second, they’re all going to be scooped up by God because they’re “saved”. If God “saves” people like the truly evil woman running the show in this movie, then He’s a real dirtbag. And I gotta say, there’s nothing like watching a 250 lb. woman criticize other people for being “lazy”, licentious, and too-much-of-this-world for getting a bead on just how hypocritical the rest of us who aren’t saved are, yes indeedy.

These people purport to be Christians, and as such, demand that they are all about love, QED. (It goes like this: God is love, Jesus is God, they worship Jesus, therefore they must be loving, and would demand you accept this even as they pull your toenails out or bomb your city flat… it’s ‘cause they love you, awwwwww!) But they say some hateful shit in this movie. It’s heavily veiled, of course, as it must be since pillowcase hats with eyeholes went out of style (and to be fair, you do see minorities in the crowds). Ah, but this is the New Bigotry; the acceptable kind. It’s not about your colour, it’s about what you believe. That is, if you believe human beings ought to have a choice about how to live their lives on Earth and that the validity of their conduct (where it wanders from the advice of the Bible, such as on, oh, the treatment of one’s slaves, say) is and ought to be a matter between that person and God… well, if you think that, you’re evil, and they have to fight you. Given half a chance, these people mean to rob you and everyone else of that right.

If you want some idea of what I mean, I direct you to the scene in which the woman directing the camp works herself up into a lather in front of the kids on the subject of Harry Potter. “Warlocks are the enemies of God!” she thunders. She goes on to tell them that, in fact, if he’d lived in the Old Testament age, Harry Potter would have been stoned to death (yeah, and? If she’d lived in the time of Nero, she’d have provided a hefty snack for three or four lions in the arena; what’s her point?). But kids aren’t stupid. They can draw an inference just like anyone else, and the one implied here is: if you read and enjoy Harry’s exploits, you’re evil and you deserve to be stoned to death and it’s only the fact that modern society won’t broach that that saves you. Really, just how far are we from the Salem witch trials?

If you love this planet, you should probably see this movie. Arm yourself. They are. The good news is, there are still more of us than them.

At least for now.

1 comment:

Jay said...

You know, any other group of people who got together and talked like that would be labelled "crazy" and put away, but if you work Jesus into it, suddenly it's not only acceptable, it's religious.