Was Jesus Camp a Crappy Movie?

Mary didn’t like Jesus Camp. In a posting titled, “How To Make a Crappy Documentary,” (LINK FIXED!) she lists the following as one of the ways to do just that:

Call your documentary “Jesus Camp,” but focus very little on the inner workings of an actual Evangelical Christian summer camp. Really just make your movie about how you think Evangelical Christians are f*cked up and how scared you are that they actually have the right to vote in America and lobby and campaign. Oh, but don’t film actual Evangelical Christians doing any of this. Film Pentecostal Christians speaking in tongues and twitching and then lead your audience to believe you’re filming Evangelical Christians…

She goes on with this analysis:

Jesus Camp was useless. I learned a little about how these kids live. Very little. The whole project was a couple of aghast, shocked — shocked! — East coast girls with cameras who had already made up their minds about what they set out to do: show the liberals out there some “Christian Right” porn.

No risks were taken. No change occurred. No transformations took place. The film itself was barely watchable because the filmmakers made no effort to delve more deeply into any of their subjects’ lives and therefore made it impossible for me to care that much about anyone in the film.

She makes some valid points.

Though when I watched it, I never got the impression that this camp was representative of all Evangelical camps. I’m sure there are people reading this who can shed more light on what Christian Bible Camps are actually like…

(It would be interesting to see a movie about a “regular” camp… I’m sure a lot goes on that would still scare atheist viewers.)

I think just the fact that the camp depicted in the movie exists in the first place is noteworthy. How could anyone send their children to that place?

It’s the same reason Fred Phelps‘ Westboro Baptist Church frightens me. It’s not that his church is representative of other Christian churches — obviously it’s not. But it’s there. And that alone draws me to documentaries about Phelps’ clan. There doesn’t have to be a revelation or learning experience. The exposure alone lets you know that religious beliefs can be taken to a horrible extreme (outside the realm of actual terrorism).

Jesus Camp exposes one world of Christian extremists. It focuses on one person, Becky Fischer, the lady that runs the camp. Could the filmmakers have interviewed kids’ parents more than they did? Could they have focused on the kids’ lives outside of camp? Absolutely. But you can’t do everything and the camp was a good central location for the confluence of ideas that shape the characters’ lives.

Was it unfair? Hardly. It was accurate. Fischer even said as much in interviews.

Still, I haven’t heard much criticism of the movie from people sympathetic to the non-religious side and Mary provides an alternative perspective on the film that you don’t see very often.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    (It would be interesting to see a movie about a “regular” camp… I’m sure a lot goes on that would still scare atheist viewers.)

    Check out Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory by Randall Balmer, either the book or the video (PBS series). It’s an excellent look into the evangelical subculture in America, although a little dated by now. I would not say atheists would find that the average Christian camp scary.

    I haven’t watched Jesus Camp. From what I’ve heard, I’m sure it’s not representative of any average or normal evangelical group. I just can’t bring myself to watch it, though. I’m sure I would find it too disturbing.

    BTW, Pentecostals are evangelical, but not all evangelicals are Pentecostal.

  • I like tea

    I love the movie Jesus Camp, but I suppose that’s because, unlike Mary, I understand that it’s not trying to paint all evangelical Christians with the same brush.

    I went to a few Christian camps as a kid; they were nothing like the camp in the movie. We didn’t speak in tongues, we didn’t writhe on the ground or any such crazy thing. It was basically a boring camp with a lot of boring sermons and Bible study groups. Even so, don’t you find the whole concept of taking kids to a camp and saying, “Hey kids, have some fun, swim in the lake a little, and by the way, if you don’t believe exactly the right thing, you’ll burn in Hell forever; enjoy your stay,” just a little disturbing, even without the tongues? I do.

  • Rob

    I attended many youth camps in my middle and high school years. My church was Southern Baptist- Evangelicals. None of the camps I attended were as extreme as what the documentary showed, but I saw many parallels.

    I do think that a lot of those camps bordered on emotional abuse. We had “cool” preachers calling kids up on the stage and then pretending to be the kids friends and parents who were stuck in Hell. “Why, Johnny? Why didn’t you TELL me?”. Each week of camp featured at least one super-emotional night where everyone cried, got things right in the group or with God, rededicated themselves, or something along those lines. Many times, the most obnoxious kid in the group would announce he had been called to be a preacher.

    I got a kick out of the part in Jesus Camp where the leaders walked around blessing the chairs and praying to keep Satan out of the electrical equipment. That part is very real and fairly common. Apparently, that ol’ devil loves screwing with the sound equipment.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    (It would be interesting to see a movie about a “regular” camp… I’m sure a lot goes on that would still scare atheist viewers.)

    Well, I worked at a Boy Scout camp for five years in my teens. There was the once a week non-denominational service of generally non-specific religioning. Petty tasteful.
    Other than that? Not much. If you’re shocked by the hijinks of teenaged boys in the woods, who have been encouraged to play with fire, rifles, archery equipment, go climbing and canoeing, etc., I must wonder if you were ever a teenage boy. There was a great deal of general hooliganism and trouble-making.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I’m sure there are people reading this who can shed more light on what Christian Bible Camps are actually like…

    I grew up going to Bible Camp, and when I was 11 my parents moved to camp to be full time staff. So from 11-17 I lived on camp, worked at camp, all that. In all I lived and worked at four different Christian camps from three different evangelical denominations (Mennonite, Baptist, and United Brethren). Beyond that, I’ve known people from at least half a dozen other camps around the Midwest. And I can say that none of the camps I lived at and none of the ones I’ve ever heard of are anything like the camp portrayed in Jesus Camp. We didn’t speak in tongues. We didn’t have the kids get up and pretend to be preachers. We didn’t pray to cutouts of President Bush. We didn’t have 9-year olds in tears during the worship services (unless they were homesick). The kids played games, did outdoor activities, and once a day they had “chapel” which was goofy kids praise songs (usually with hand motions) and a kid appropriate sermon (usually some kind of exciting Bible story whose point was that they should be kind to each other, or respect their parents, or “invite Jesus into their hearts”). The high school camps were a little more emotionally intense (at least on the last night “testimony time” around the campfire when everyone would either end up sobbing by the end of it, or making out in the woods with their camp bf/gf), but of course that’s just the name of the game when you’re dealing with teenagers.

  • grazatt

    just who is Mary? Does she have a website?

  • http://simra.net/blog Rob

    I did several years of Bible camp in my early teens. I learned to windsurf, backcountry canoe, and smoke and snog with girls in the woods after lights out. Those were good times. :-) I vaguely recall that there were sermons and a lot of singing too. Did I mention snogging with girls?

  • ProudSinner

    I went to bible camp for a few years as a young teen, and it was quite fun. Nothing shocking or scarring unless someone fell of of the zip line or the pillow fight bar. We had crafts and canoing, riflery and archery, swimming and capture the flag. We had chapel every day, and cabin devotionals before going to bed, where they did a really good job of peer pressuring you to rededicate your life to Jesus.

    I remember one chapel lesson being about how the dinosaur fossils that have been found were created at The Flood. Unfortunately, I bought it. Fortunately, that was the worst thing that was taught there.

  • Mriana

    I never saw it because the previews alone frightened and appalled me. In some respects I felt like I did when I was a child and angry because of it.

    I never went to Bible Camp, thank goodness, but my great uncle was just as awful if not worse than that woman on the show. I’m glad it was not a frequent event that we attended his church. I hated that part about spending part of the summer with my grandparents though, because it was just as bad.

    I went to a Lutheran camp one time for a week. I don’t remember much of it, except I didn’t have much fun while I was there. I was born out of my mind, but mother wanted me to have the experience. I truly don’t remember anything about it though. I will admit it wasn’t as bad as going to my grandparents or my great uncle’s church, other than that, I don’t remember anything but boredom.

  • http://steingrueblwe.blogspot.com Heather

    I haven’t seen Jesus Camp, but imagine it would be pretty easy to make a scary movie about any camp. (I say this having been a camp counselor at 3 different residential camps and a day camp in my time. Seriously, people, check out those camps for accreditations and staff training before you send your kids!) The only camp experience I had as a kid was at a Lutheran camp up in the mountains. I don’t know when else I would have got out backpacking, and their program was great. The religious realm was pretty much “Wow, can you, like, totally believe that, like, God made all these cool mountains and stuff?” and they left my science education intact.

  • http://del.icio.us/jcchurch James

    During my teenage years, I went to a Church of Christ camp in Northwest Tennessee. A lot of singing and a lot of Bible lessons. Church of Christ youth are typically baptized in their early teens, but it must be done of the child’s freewill decision. My little brother was baptized at camp. Typically a child decides to be baptized after being scared enough by hell-fire-and-brimstone stories. When enough kids get scared, we have a marathon baptism session in the camp swimming pool. Everyone goes home a little less paranoid.

    My church camp experience wasn’t as bad as what was portrayed in “Bible Camp”. It had a lot of the same theology about divorce and abortion (but we don’t speak in tongues). I never had to act like I was in guerrilla warfare against Satan. I never had to worship a cardboard cutout of the president.

  • grazatt

    I never had to worship a cardboard cutout of the president. I think they were praying for the President, not to him

  • http://www.thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com C.E. Moore

    I watched this film at my Christian college with a large group of people (about 30 of us packed into a common area). It was interesting to see the different responses. Having grown up in pentecostal circles most of my life, I understood much of what was going on. It was a language unto itself, even if I no longer agreed with it. However, those in the room who had NOT been raised in pentecostalism–in fact, they had been raised in traditions that might be considered the polar opposite–were absolutely abhorred by what they saw. My mother watched it this past Christmas season and she loved it. It really does have a polarizing affect. What is further, Mary, the camp director featured in the film, thought the film portrayed her rather accurately. However, the negative publicity from the film caused her camp location to no longer allow the camp to meet there. But, if you REALLY want to be freaked out, I suggest the new documentary “Hard as Nails.” The guy in THAT documentary makes the people in Jesus Camp look like atheists (no offense). He is a TOTAL freak.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    I think they were praying for the President, not to him.

    While technically I know it’s the case… i’m not sure it was perfectly clear to all the kids in attendence.

    I saw the movie. If Mary doesn’t like the movie she should make her own movie about a camp she likes.

    The camp in Jesus Camp exists, and because it exists it’s valid to make an honest film about it. End of story.

    Notice who gets the brunt of Mary’s ire. It AIN’T the Pentacostalists! It ain’t the people brainwashing the children in the film. It’ ain’t Becky Fischer. It’s the filmmakers who DARED to show a version of her religion that Mary doesn’t like.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    I’m waiting for someone to do a film on BattleCry.

  • Aimee

    When I watched it, it gave me chills. If that can not be called brainwashing, I don’t know what can. Those kids were freaky, the adults were freaky. My husband used to attend church camps and he was not shocked at all by what he saw. He said it was pretty much like he remembered it. I’m so glad I was raised in a houshold where god was never even mentioned.

  • Andrew

    it seems common place for Christians to approach any criticism of Christianity by grandstanding. Either you didn’t show enough of the story, or you didn’t give equal criticism to Islam. They can’t defend what happens in the movie Jesus Camp, nor can they legitimize criticizing religion by agreeing. The movie isn’t about Evangelical Christian camps, bible camps, or camps in general. It’s about Evangelical Christian camp in particular. What’s disturbing is the fact that the critic is so idealogical in her defence of Christianity, that she considers the mere criticism inappropriate. This is what deeply disturbs me about dogmatic Christians, and anyone who is dogmatic about any ideology. They’ll happily pretend wrongs don’t exist as long as “a greater good” is in sight.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    As an alternative to negative portrayals of religion, I’d also recommend the tv series “One Punk Under God” about Jay Bakker, the son of Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker, who started his own church for alternative subculture folks in Atlanta called Revolution.

  • QrazyQat

    So Mary thinks that it was a crappy movie because even though it accurately presented a summer camp, it didn’t present the summer camp she wished it had? I also didn’t see it suggesting that this was every Christian summer camp, just one type. Was Supersize Me a crappy movie because Spurlock ate at McDonald’s and not Applebee’s or The Olive Garden? Does Mary also think that Supersize Me suggested all restaurants were McDonald’s?
    That’s one foolish complaint.

  • grazatt

    Like I said earlier, who is this Mary person anyway?

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    I am a huge fan of the horror genre, but Jesus Camp was more terrifying than anything else I’ve ever seen. I had nightmares for days after that one.

  • http://www.meritboundalley.net Joe M

    Wasn’t this movie supposed to be about one specific camp that subsequently closed?

  • QrazyQat

    I would not say atheists would find that the average Christian camp scary.

    Speaking only for myself, I find the idea of indoctrinating little kids with ideas that make them cry about going to hell for their imagined misdeeds pretty darned scary.

  • http://www.mindonfire.com John Remy

    grazatt, I think Hemant’s link is broken. I was curious for the full context, too, so I googled and found her blog post.

    I’m still not sure where Mary’s coming from, but I think she missed the point. When I heard that both the secularists were horrified and that many Pentecostals (including the subjects of the film) thought that the film portrayed them fairly, I thought–these are darn good documentarians.

    The negative reaction to the film from many Evangelicals is a window into the unease between many Evangelicals and Pentecostals that we rarely see. Atheists aren’t the only ones who get nervous when they see people speaking in tongues.

    One more thing–Mary wants to sweep Pentecostalism into the corner like it’s some kind of fringe movement. It is not. Global Pentecostalism is *the* big Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century. It may rival Catholicism in the next few decades. We’re only going to see more of this stuff, not less. Evangelical Americans have come into an awareness of their political might, but I don’t think the Pentecostals have quite gotten there yet.

  • Milena

    I found it scary, but more than that I found it angering. The way they lied to these kids when they showed them the plastic “foetus” that was basically a mini-baby and not a foetus at all, the way they used them to pursue their anti-choice agenda, despite the fact that most of the kids were too young to really understand all the factors that go into a woman’s choice to abort. Although the worst scene by far was the one where Fischer tells the kids that they’re hypocrites and they have to stop it, because they’re going to hell. And obviously I realise that Jesus Camp isn’t a portrayal of an average Bible Camp, but that doesn’t mean that the story shouldn’t be told. I don’t think that at any point in the movie, the camp was presented as anything more than a portrayal of itself and the teachings of the people who run it.

  • Mriana

    However, those in the room who had NOT been raised in pentecostalism–in fact, they had been raised in traditions that might be considered the polar opposite–were absolutely abhorred by what they saw.

    Personally, I think what they are doing is abuse and some people who were raised that way left comments about this movie (YouTube or something) said it brought back bad memories. Not all though. IMO, it is one of the worst froms of brainwashing and I’m just glad I didn’t have to deal with it every day or every single week. Just on various occassions. In all honesty, I’m thankful when I left home I chose the Episcopal Church because I learned not all churches are that way. Even though I don’t attend and am now a non-theist, I am greatful to have learned that not all churches are that way.

    IF I had actually been raised that way, I can’t say how I would have turned out- a rabid non-believer or rabid believer, I don’t know. Just from observation of others, it could have been either one. Who knows.

  • Rebekah

    I went to two Christian summer camps over my life, each one more than once (the family made me, although I can’t say I hated it at all).

    Neither had tongues or forced people to believe in something. I don’t remember an anti-abortion or anti-gay agenda. They were both just full of singing, games, a ton of hiking, talent shows, and new friends from all over.

    Aren’t most summer camps dying out anyways?

  • http://www.thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com C.E. Moore

    I do have a question, though. Scripture tells us to impress upon the hearts of our children precepts and laws and beliefs found therein. This is called “indoctrination,” which basically means “to put doctrine into.” That, of course is not the technical definition, but the word has taken on a very negative connotation in our “free thinking” society. This raises a couple of questions. What makes free thinking better than indoctrination and what authority does one appeal to in order to make this claim irrefutable? Is it truly free thinking if one way is stauchly right and another staunchly wrong? (In essense, are “free thinkers” indoctrinated in their belief that indoctrinating children couldn’t be anything more than brainwashing? Because that seems to be the only belief I’m reading here.) If a Christian does NOT indoctrinate their children when their beliefs dictate to them to do so, would atheists then not have another feather in their cap, essentially able to call Christians hypocrites for not living up to their credos?

    Now, bear in mind, “Jesus Camp” is pretty freaky and “Hard as Nails” is even freakier. Not defending what went on there, even though I understand the “Huckabese” being spoken. But, I think the approach taken here raises questions on both sides of the fence that can lead to good dialogue rather than throwing stones.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    The link to Mary’s site has been fixed! She’s an awesome actress in Chicago.

  • AJ

    C.E. Moore,

    What makes free thinking better than indoctrination and what authority does one appeal to in order to make this claim irrefutable?

    Appeals to authority are not irrefutable unless one accepts authority. Free thinkers reject appeals to authority. They advocate appeals to logic and science as superior.

    Is it truly free thinking if one way is stauchly right and another staunchly wrong?In essense, are “free thinkers” indoctrinated in their belief that indoctrinating children couldn’t be anything more than brainwashing?

    Indoctrination commonly implies a practice that’s the same as or similar to what is commonly known as indoctrination. Coming to conclusions doesn’t mean someone has been indoctrinated, it’s not against free thought, and doesn’t imply dogma.

  • http://www.thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com C.E. Moore

    AJ,

    There must be some appeal to authority, whether divine or temporal. If you cannot appeal to authority, you have no basis for any conclusion you come to. What may seem rational or reasonable to you may not seem reasonable to another. If, as you say, you are using logic, there must be some dictate you can appeal in order to say that the indoctrination of children is wrong. Otherwise, you cannot even say it is dangerous. All you can say is that it does not strike your personal fancy. You can no more speak out against indoctrination than you could speak out against someone’s eyes being blue. While one is choice and another is clearly genetic (for now) you can say you like the idea of freethinking better than indoctrination, but you cannot, in fact, say that it IS better in any difinitive way. You can only say it is different.

    To say there is no authority to appeal to is illogical.

  • AJ

    C.E. Moore,

    If, as you say, you are using logic, there must be some dictate you can appeal in order to say that the indoctrination of children is wrong. Otherwise, you cannot even say it is dangerous. All you can say is that it does not strike your personal fancy.

    That’s true. However, it’s not an appeal to authority.

    To say there is no authority to appeal to is illogical.

    In terms of logic, appealing to an authority is considered illogical. The validity of a claim does not follow from the source.

  • http://www.thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com C.E. Moore

    AJ,

    That is simply not the case. Rules of logic do not appeal back to themselves, because people use logic different ways and determine the veracity of a conclusion differently. Also, this would be the same circular reasoning atheists deride Christians for when they use Scripture as an authority unto itself. If there is no authority there is no means be which we can state that anything is right or wrong, correct or incorrect. Every truth claim is thus rendered powerless. To stop the Nazi regime from gasing the Jews, there were both divine and temporal authorities appealed to. Without them, it would be illogical to make the claim, “Hitler was wrong.” It is illogical to claim “Christians were wrong for the Crusades and the Inquisition.” It’s tantamount to saying, “Hey, I REALLY don’t know WHY I think Hitler shouldn’t be doing this, but there are more of us than them and so might makes right and…” What are you appealing to? The socially agreed upon value of life? Apparently, according to the Nazis it wasn’t agreed upon. And don’t go saying I’m comparing atheists to Nazis or that everyone KNEW the Nazis were wrong. Because the Nazis had ALLIES and atheists certainly aren’t Nazis (though, among their ranks I bet they counted both Christians AND atheists who agreed and disagreed with their vision of world domination). The point is, if you take your no authority line of “reasoning” to its logical extreme, you saw off the branch upon which you sit. This is a simple logical exercise and it part and parcel to every logic and ethics course you will ever take.

  • grazatt

    The link to Mary’s site has been fixed! She’s an awesome actress in Chicago.

    Hmph! She seem like a bit of a donkey to me!

  • AJ

    C.E. Moore,

    I think you’re using authority in an uncommon way. You’re not making any sense.

  • Dysentery

    Reading between the lines from a few of C.E. Moore’s posts, I get a sense that he is flogging that old chestnut: “Without God, you cannot have any morals.” He seems right on the edge of saying it but doesn’t quite want to commit…..

  • Spurs Fan

    Perhaps the “authority” is a rather agreed upon “do unto others….”. So, if you’re using this, your authority would be Jesus, er, Confucius.

  • http://randomnessisodd Random Christian

    It was an especially horrifying movie for Christians.

  • Mriana

    Random Christian,

    I can’t find the post that I received in my email that was attributed you in this thread, but I can only assume you may have read through the posts again. I’m rather glad that is appears you were observant.

    I did mention the Lutheran Church and it was in fact ELCA. My only complaint about that camp was that it was boring. When my mother became “born again” when I was 14, she knew I would rebel against an Evangelical Fundamentalist church (such as my great uncle’s Free Methodist Church and he was/is much like the film), so as a compromise she took me to the ELCA. No, I didn’t stay Lutheran after I left home, but I don’t think badly of Lutherans. I just don’t agree with them.

    When my sons were young, we attended the Episcopal Church. They went to an Episcopal Camp and enjoyed it. So much so they wanted to go again. We don’t attend any church now and even though our beliefs have changed, we have nothing against Episcopalians either. It’s just I’m a non-theist/Humanist, my older son says he’s a Buddhist, and my younger son says he’s nothing. We just believe or think that way anymore, but we have nothing against Liberal and Progressive believers. Trust me, in comparison to that seen in the Jesus Camp Lutherans are liberal and I’m not surprised you found it horrifying.

  • JeffN

    It sounds like walking into a good Baptist church would scare some of you. I don’t get it. How can you be freighted by something you don’t believe in; it’s not like the Christians are going to string you up over the rafters for being atheists or something. the most you might have to endure is a sermon on Hell and some one trying to convert you to Christianity or lead you to Christ or something. Before someone asks yes I would attend an Atheist church service if there was one in my area just for the experience. It couldn’t be any more boring then sitting thru mass. :)

  • QrazyQat

    it’s not like the Christians are going to string you up over the rafters for being atheists or something

    Michigan: Eagle Scout Murders 62-year-old For Being Atheist

    Or you could just lose your job, be beaten, etc.

  • Steve M.

    The only qualification for good Art versus bad Art is that Art should never try to tell you what to think.

    The Mona Lisa is the most famous piece of Art in the world. It’s the most famous piece of Art because of the mystery. Is that a smile or isn’t it? What is she thinking!? Oh, it’s awesome, no?

    Well, when certain people, let’s call them secular fundamentalists, feel that they are SO right, and others are SO wrong, they think it’s imperative to tell their audience what to think.

    Da Vinci, as a great artist, without question had a stunningly clear point of view about what was happening behind that face.

    Did he spoon feed it to us?

    No.

    He forced us to question and ponder for ourselves.

    Did Jesus Camp force you to question a thing?

    No.

    It told you everything you needed to think. The movie was secular propaganda, and EVERY bit as dangerous as the propaganda that you fear those kids were exposed to.

    And yes, even “documentaries” are bound by the rules of Art. And Jesus camp failed in every conceivable manner that The Mona Lisa succeeded.

    Just ask yourself which piece of Art will still be discussed in 100 years?

    Case closed. Crappy Art = Crappy Documentary

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    Jeff…

    You are assuming that we haven’t sat through Baptist services.

    I’m not frightened by things I don’t believe in. I’m frightened by the people. But not in that setting. They’re very nice while in church. Then they go and vote for people who think war is preferable to diplomacy, poverty builds character, people who OD on drugs shouldn’t be rescued medically, teenagers shouldn’t learn contraception, AIDS is God’s punishment on gays, brown people should be rounded up in trucks and deported, torture isn’t torture when the good guys do it, the economy is more important than clean air and water, global warming isn’t happening, isn’t caused by humans, can’t be stopped by humans will be beneficial to humans or is under the control of God anyway, oh and Jesus is coming back soon to convert or destroy everyone on earth … shall I go on?

    itâ??s not like the Christians are going to string you up over the rafters for being atheists or something.

    Nah. That would be too good for us.

  • Steve M.

    People who criticize Mary are wrong in every imagineable sense.

    If you think Mary should “shut up,” you are as guilty as the preacher in that movie. You are secular fascists.

    1. Mary is not even a Christian. She dated a buddhist, she studies Kabbhalla, and takes Yoga and chants 4 times a week at Yoga Now on Broadway in Chicago. So, in fact, those who said, “Mary can’t handle the truth” are secular fascists who WISH that Mary had said “Shut up” to the filmmakers due to some Christian solidarity. But since she didn’t, they will just pretend she did and hope nobody can tell the difference. (Secular fascism)

    2. Mary should “put up or shut up.” She does. She performs weekly in the longest running (20 years) Chicago Theatre show in history, Too much light makes the baby go blind,” where she writes and performs her own plays every week. She is a nationally renowned slam poet. She knows that the only way to truly SUCK at writing/performing is to “tell your audience” what to think. To spout off. To use art for masturbatory purposes. The making of the movie and your watching it was “group masturbation.” She has more street cred in terms of “putting up” than these so called filmmakers.

    3. “If she can’t handle an honest portrayal of this camp…” Yet another quote from those who WISH Mary wouldn’t have argued with the propaganda. The filmmakers were, in fact, dishonest. THAT WAS HER POINT! In the bonus footage, they explicitly state “We decided not to point out that these people were pentecostal and not just evangelical because it would LESSEN THE EFFECT.” That admit to DISHONESTY. 2. They use propaganda tactics to scare you like, “They are trying to elbow their way into our government.”

    Elbow? What is it exactly about VOTING that means ELBOWING? Congratulations, mass media whores, you have fallen prey to propaganda by the filmmakers. Why is it okay for a Hispanic American to say, “let’s get out the Hispanic vote” or for Jesse Jackson to say, “Let’s get out the Black vote.” Or for N.O.W to say, “let’s get out the female vote.”

    Is this elbowing? Why are you not worried about all the hispanics who are voting that want to open up our borders? Why does that not TERRIFY you, as you’ve been known to say so hyperbolically?

    QUOTE: “Ted Kennedy has stabbed women in the back by endorsing Obama. It is our duty to elect a woman president no matter who it is.”

    N.O.W. Statement last week.

    Where is your OUTRAGE ? Where is the documentary sound bite of this statement that sends shivers down your spine?

    4. Mary says it’s a crappy documentary because she wanted to learn about fundamentalism but was completely unable to do so because the filmmakers were force feeding junk footage that didn’t even scratch the surface as to who these people really are. THE ONLY WAY THAT MARY KNEW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EVANGELICAL AND PENTECOSTAL WAS BY WATCHING THE BONUS FOOTAGE.

    You are secular fascists. You can stick points 1, 2, 3. and 4 in your pipe and smoke ‘em. You so WANTED it to be a blog post by a fundamentalist SO BAD that you ignored the fact that it wasn’t. That is the definition of propaganda. You just lumped Mary into the group because it fed your “cause for justice.” Much like the video footage in 1930′s Germany conveniently placed Jewish people in videos with rats. Congratulations, you secular fascists, you.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Steve M,

    You make me laugh. Keep up the good work. A couple questions. Who do you hate more “secular fundamentalists” or “secular fascists”? What did you do between your two posts? Was it a strong cup of coffee that caused the random capitalized words to appear?

  • Steve M.

    HappyNat:

    Boy, you really got me there.

    It’s funny how you can’t actually refute anything.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Steve,

    I’m sorry I didn’t notice anything to refute. I just saw rants from someone I can only assume to be Mary’s boyfriend/father/brother. Who else would get so emotional about comments on a blog? Let’s see what to refute . . . some gibberish about the Mona Lisa and what is good art. Including the line

    The only qualification for good Art versus bad Art is that Art should never try to tell you what to think.

    Then you tell us exactly what to think. I’m not sure what point you were trying to make or how Jesus Camp and the Mona Lisa compare. BTW, I just think Mona Lisa had gas.

    In your second post you say people have told Mary to “shut up”, I don’t see where anyone said for her to “shut up”. She critiqued a movie and people critiqued her review. Seems fair to me.

    Then you tell us she “dated a buddhist”(who cares?),”she studies Kabbhalla” (and . . . ?), and “takes Yoga” (go on . . .) while all of this is fascinating information I don’t know why we got a bio of Mary I have nothing to refute about any of this, but I don’t see the point and it makes you sounds like a stalker.

    As the bio continues we learn Mary is in a long running play, is a “slam poet” and that she know the “only way to truly SUCK at writing/performing”. Again, nothing for me to refute and I don’t see how any of this adds to anything previously discussed.

    Then you rant about us secular devils saying they are elbowing, I’m sorry “ELBOWING”, into government. I don’t see that comment anywhere so I don’t see what you are going off about “us” not complaining about woman/blacks/Hispanics doing the same thing. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any of “us” who would argue with their right to vote for who they want. We may disagree and criticize them, kinda like someone might criticize a documentary.

    Mary says it’s a crappy documentary because she wanted to learn about fundamentalism

    Then maybe Mary should have gotten a documentary about, oh I don’t know, fundamentalism? The movie is about one summer camp for born again Christians, it is not supposed to be an all encompassing look into fundamental Christians. On a related note I hated Super Size me because they didn’t talk about the Whopper enough.

    You are secular fascists. You can stick points 1, 2, 3. and 4 in your pipe and smoke ‘em

    Now you are just frothing at the mouth about secular fascists and I’m not even sure why you are mad. I didn’t read any comments attacking Mary, maybe I missed them that would warrant your level anger in your rush to her defense. You might want to try flowers if you really want to impress her.

    Honestly I see nothing to refute in the nonsense you spout.

  • JeffN

    Yes Siamang please continue. I find your ranting amusing. Or at least educational. :)

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    Steve M.

    Please, go on. You are the most awesome and impressive person on the internet.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    Yes Siamang please continue. I find your ranting amusing.

    Oh no. There’s an infinitely more amusing ranter now!

  • JeffN

    I’ll try not to compete. :) Some of what you say holds a ring of truth but being a Christian doesn’t mean I voted for bush am racist against people with brown skin or believe Aids is a punishment from God. I realize there are religious people who do believe that way but I would like to think they are in the minority or at least hope so. I guess what I’m trying to point out is you seemed to be grouping all religious people together to believe and act the same way. not so. The minority gives the rest of us a bad name.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    Sure Jeff.

    Just pointing out that what scares me personally about the movie Jesus Camp, isn’t what they do when they’re in church. I think you know this. I’m not frightened about attending Jesus Camp… if you told me tomorrow I had to attend the camp in the movie I’d say “okay, this should be a trip.” It’s not fear for personal safety, or as you say being strung up right there in the sanctuary. Rather it’s the notion of dread that America is on its way to becoming Iran in the next couple of generations, except with a cross instead of a crescent. It’s the fear that the people who pull the levers of power in this country don’t care much for this life, except in the ability to get into the next one. It’s the fear that this country is being run by people who think that violence in the middle east is a GOOD thing which hastens the coming of Jesus.

    As Sam Harris has written:

    44% of Americans think Jesus Christ will return in the next 50 years. (22% are “certain” that he will, another 22% think he “probably” will.)

    “According to the most common interpretation of biblical prophecy, Jesus will return only after things have gone horribly awry. Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.”

    In other words, it’s not the singing, the praising or even the speaking in tongues that scares me.

  • JeffN

    I agree That’s one of the reasons I don’t like religion; To many atrocities and wars have been done in the name of it. if memory serves that is one of the big reasons pat Robinson did not get elected for president a number of years back when he ran for office. A reporter asked him something along the lines of if God told you to push the red button to launch all the nuclear missiles would you do it and he did not have a response for that one way or another. There went his political career. How ever the future turns out I plan to enjoy the ride and maybe change the things I can along the way. :)

    Siamang said,

    if you told me tomorrow I had to attend the camp in the movie I’d say “okay, this should be a trip.”

    I think I would find the Jesus camp in the movie a trip. So we would be tripping together. :) Pass the tongues man. :)

  • Steve M.

    HN:

    You have no idea how Jesus Camp and the Mona Lisa compare! My point exactly. Thank you for ending the discussion right there and admitting your ignorance. Even secular fascism took a hit when you admitted that one. (Hint: They are both forms of Art)

    A secularist like Mary has a point of view that that movie was crappy. It has the following traits:

    1) An artistic track record to back it up. (HER SHOW)
    2) Proof that the filmmakers were dishonest (Plus the ELBOWING line was on the DVD. You can netflix it if you like)
    3) A BIO that proves she is not “one of them”
    4) Examples of what it means to create art that will endure.

    When a human being’s system of beliefs is shown to them to be paper thin, based on propaganda, and invalid, the psyche has no choice but to shut down and resort to a defense mechanism to protect itself. “Deflection” comes to mind. Words are thrown around like “gibberish” and “nonsense” and statements like “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

    Points 1 thru 4. That’s what I’m talking about. And that’s what you have no response to.

    But you don’t know what Art is, right? It’s too late to learn now.

    Please just walk away from this knowing that people like you are the reason that pop culture exists and thrives. People who don’t know any better can’t expect anything better from our culture. So go ahead and co-mingle with others down at the lowest common denominator level.

    Say hi to Brittany. Ask her is SHE knows whether the Mona Lisa is relevant to our lives, and if an Artist has anything to learn from Leonardo Da Vinci.

    Please tell me you at least have a hunch about what the answer is?

  • Claire

    Wow, Steve, a genuine frothing, with extra fluffy foam! Most impressive!

    Did Jesus Camp force you to question a thing? No.

    I assume you are talking about the place rather than the movie. I’m glad you acknowledge that.

    Case closed. Crappy Art = Crappy Documentary

    No doubt that’s why it was nominated for an Oscar as well as four other film awards for best documentary.

    Mary is not even a Christian. She dated a buddhist, she studies Kabbhalla, and takes Yoga and chants 4 times a week at Yoga Now on Broadway in Chicago.

    Wow, I didn’t know christians weren’t allowed to do those things. Thanks for the insight.

    The making of the movie and your watching it was “group masturbation.”

    I defer to your judgement, I’m sure you know much more about that activity than any of us.

    Mary says it’s a crappy documentary because she wanted to learn about fundamentalism but was completely unable to do so.

    I’m so sorry to hear that. Perhaps Mary hasn’t heard about books? They can be most enlightening. Or perhaps it’s just you who hasn’t.

    She performs weekly in the longest running (20 years) Chicago Theatre show in history, Too much light makes the baby go blind,” where she writes and performs her own plays every week.

    A secularist like Mary has a point of view that that movie was crappy. It has the following traits:
    1) An artistic track record to back it up. (HER SHOW)

    HER show? Really? At their web site she is mentioned as just one more member of a large cast, nothing special. Oh, there’s also a fake obituary. That’s indicative of something, I’m sure.

    4) Examples of what it means to create art that will endure.

    Performing as member of a local ensemble is “art that will endure”? You certainly have a gift for unintentional irony. You should cultivate that.

    When a human being’s system of beliefs is shown to them to be paper thin, based on propaganda, and invalid, the psyche has no choice but to shut down and resort to a defense mechanism to protect itself. “Deflection” comes to mind.

    Thanks you for explaining why you are on this little rampage. I was wondering. Perhaps a soothing cup of tea would help with that conniption fit you are having?

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    Steve M… have you considered Scientology? Tom Cruise could give you some lessons in chilling out.

  • Siamang

    Please just walk away from this knowing that people like you are the reason that pop culture exists and thrives.

    AWESOME!!!! “Art” is just a bunch of pretentious self-absorbed people playing around in paint with mommy and daddy’s money anyway… or if they’re good at sucking the big dicks, corporate money.

    So sorry, seen that crap. Am unimpressed. Would rather live life than see a pretentious play about it. A monkey could paint half the shit in the gugenheim… in fact, I think one DID! That’s art for you… anything to make a buck and put one over on the rubes. Sorry, that emperor’s been naked since Picasso started printing those drawings of doves by the hundreds and cashing in on his name.

    Most “arteests” live off of mommy and daddy until they have to get a real job. I knew a few in school. They sure “sold out to the man” in a hurry once they had to pay off the student loans! No more sculptures
    out of urine and blood and nike shoes protesting “the spreading global threat of the American capitalistic empire”, or giant wax scuptures celebrating the mystical power of the vagina.

    Say hi to Brittany. Ask her is SHE knows whether the Mona Lisa is relevant to our lives, and if an Artist has anything to learn from Leonardo Da Vinci.

    The Mona Lisa? Eh, it’s okay. At least it’s a painting OF something, not like most of the stuff “arteests” make today. That museum is nothing but a tourist trap for Americans. You stand in line for an hour to get in the stupid place… then you have to wander around for about half an hour to get to the room it’s in, and wait in another line to look at it. And it’s the size of a manilla envelope. And they don’t even let you take a picture of it. Oh no… not even with your cell phone — NOT EVEN A FLASH… they want to sell you a picture at the gift shop on the way out.

    That whole museum was full of crap, half of which they could get rid of and nobody would care… except it would make going to the mona lisa faster. Hey, here’s an idea, why not put it at the entrance?! Ohhh nooo… you gotta play the whole game so that people going feel all intelligent. I guess that’s what “art lovers” pay for.. the feeling that they’re smarter than other people because they “get” the “deep stuff”. Here’s a hint… most people aren’t fooled by that stuff.. they can smell a con, and they know that if a painting looks like it could have been painted by a monkey, it might as well have been! But they have a DaVinci code tour since the movie came out, and that looked pretty cool (Mary Magdelene was buried by the Virgin Megastore in the underground mall! That’s ironic.) I guess they know their “audience”. Low culture types like me. I guess they aren’t below pandering to make a euro or two! Hell, they built a Virgin Megastore in an underground mall under the louve! I bet the “arteests” in paris got their noses bent out of shape on that one. “Oooh, but zat is so… so common, so vulgar, so boozh-wa!”

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Steve,

    You amuse me with your rantings from your ivory tower, which in your case I’m sure is a vegan coffee shoppe. I’m sure you sit around smoking clove cigerettes talking about how dumb society is in caring about celebraties and the evil that is pop culture. I was there once, but other than a self feeding feeling of smugness it doesn’t get you anywhere. The “real” world goes on and you can either sit there and spell art “Art” like a pretenious asshole or get involved, enjoy it, and make it a better place.

    BTW, a google search of the term ‘secular fascists’ shows how hollow the term is and what type angry misguided people use the term. Maybe you should get a new catch phrase.

  • Joe Jenkins

    I was raised as a pentecostal and went to at least one pentecostal youth camp and I was never brainwashed. Just because people believe their faith strongly doesn’t mean that they are involved in brainwashing.

    Jesus Camp is pure liberal propaganda. Liberals fear/hate religion and they go out of their way to try to validate their fear and hatred.

    I could just as easily go the to the democratic convention with an agenda to make democrats look crazy and come out with the same paranoia-generating drivel as Jesus Camp.

  • http://www.kogmedia.com patrick

    finally got so see Jesus Camp; i appreciate the fact that the movie’s makers let the people interviewed do all the talking; then again i couldn’t help wondering, “wait, what’s the problem here? these kids seem to have a pretty high quality of life…” over all, there is some truth in this flick, but only so long as it’s taken with a grain (or a bucket) of salt

  • Oogly oogly ooo

    “I was never brainwashed”
    “Liberals fear/hate religion and they go out of their way to try to validate their fear and hatred.”

    Hahahaha!!


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