Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits."

So, I know I’m like the last person in the world to see Jesus Camp, but I avoided watching it for a while because I figured it would make me pretty angry.

Mostly it made me sad. I don’t mean that in a superior way. But the kids in the movie, and I mean even little children, are being told by their parents, and by the people in that camp, that the world is sinful, and it is up to them to save it. What’s the big deal about that, you say? Well, the big deal is that the kids believe them. They believe that how hard they pray, and how well they obey the rules that are laid out before them, means life or death for the people of this country and of this world. And that’s not only bullshit, it’s wrong. And if you ask me, it’s criminal.

Those kids believe that they are at war with people who do not believe, and that if they are having some harmless kid-type fun, say, or telling scary stories, or doing anything that is not about praising god, then they are squandering their lives and there will be, literally, hell to pay.

In short, the kids are fucked up. And the parents and the ministers and the teachers in the movie think that’s fine, as long as they are fucked up in the name of god. That’s not hyperbole. At the end of the film Becky Fischer, the woman who is the head of camp, basically admits to a radio host that yes, they are using children to further their cause, but it’s okay, because their cause is righteous.

The other thing that struck me about the movie, and watching how intensely those kids believe, and how convincingly they hurl themselves about and cry and speak in tongues is, I now have absolutely no problem believing that a small group of children managed to bring about the deaths of twenty-four people in the village of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, and ruin the lives of hundreds more. I’m sure those kids believed that every time they pointed a finger, they were doing the Lord’s work. I used to read about the Salem witch trials and think “How the fuck could that happen?” Now I know.


JR's Thumbprints said...

What's wrong with brainwashing a few children; it's better than letting them run wild don't you think? Then again, once they reach adulthood, their perception and tolerance of other people may be at an all time low.

dad said...

When I grew up, parents physically hurt their children when imposing discipline. It was called spanking. Most enlightened parents now realize that spanking is not only not necessary adn ineffective, but it is child abusive and teaches children the wrong thing.

I won't see this movie because I know it will not feel good after watching it. It is watching child abuse in action. This form of child abuse is much more damaging than physical abuse.

In fact all religious indocrination of children is abuse. If we let children experience the joy of helping others, of making a better world, and helping them to develop their own minds, they will likely grow up to be caring, moral adults.

The rabid followers of religion will continue to plague the world with their intolerance until we start to name indoctrination as abuse. It is not brain washing, it is brain soiling.

Jess said...

When I watched the Beatles anthology, and then read a bit more about it, I could really see how a bunch of kids could turn bloodthirsty. It's pretty scary what went down. Very Salem witch trials.

There's nothing more scary & fanatical than teenage girls. And religious nuts.

I haven't seen "Jesus Camp" either. I have no desire to.

michael said...

And people say we don't understand how and why the Middle East operates the way it does...

Anon. Blogger said...

Oh there you go again, Vikki. More inspiration for a post! Baptism.... don't get me started!

I'm so, so with you on this. Haven't seen the movie, but sure have seen the results in my life.

Jesus is turning in his grave. OOPS!! sorry, I forgot, he isn't in a grave...

vikkitikkitavi said...

JR'sTP: Once you're an adult, there's no fixing anyone, I think. But children have no business having a low tolerance for anything.

Dad: I agree, while these people are free to teach their children any crazy ole' shit they want, we should stop excusing it, just like we should not excuse the abuses heaped upon women in the name of Islam.

Jess: I'm thinking you're talking about the whole "bigger than Jesus" thing, which always struck me as an excuse for a lot of DJs to get a lot of free publicity.

Michael: The woman who runs the camp ADMITS that she uses the muslim terrorist indoctrination camps as a model!!!! I'm telling you, some kind of showdown is coming. If only us innocent bystanders could find a safe place to hide until they finish killing each other.

AB: Yes, I remember those kids from when I was young. Can you imagine, a parent telling a child not to play with another child because of their religious beliefs? It happened to me.

Dale said...

I felt similarly watching the movie. I've got a part time religious zealot for a mother and a sister who's a nun but the biggest slacker nun I've ever known. They're all nuts! And of course, it's incredibly sad.