Religion is a complex, sensitive and touchy issue. I was waiting with bated breath if a documentary like Jesus Camp will actually make it to our shores, and surprisingly, it did, and was uncut to boot. The subject matter, on Evangelical Christianity, is actually quite a powerful movement, given its congregation explosion of late, and in a film that exposes the horrors of brainwashiing and its hypocrisy, you'd wonder if there will soon be folks who will be up in arms against its release.
In any case, any film that exposes hypocrisy, gets my economic vote in a box office ticket. Just to set the record straight, I believe, but not as strong a believer (i.e. I'm not a fanatical idiot), and some couldn't wait to pin labels such as "strayer", "lacking of faith" blah blah blah on me, but I couldn't care less. Fact is, I've seen my fair share of the hypocrisy around on religious grounds, and some of the most absurd reasonings of all time coming from the group of so-called staunch believers.
Someone: Hey, there's a charity drive here and they need donations of old clothes and canned food. But I won't support.
Me: Why not?
Someone: 'cos they're not a Christian group. They're Buddhists. I won't support them.
Yes, it's that absurd.
Jesus Camp is a horror movie. And the horror is real, not made up, doesn't rely on cheap special effects or tried and tested techniques to make your heart jolt. What's horrific is the systematic brainwashing of children, to have them believe something so abstract, by using devices such as toys, and fear. Children are highly impressionable, and watching the little ones put through a regime of highly charismatic thought processes, and perhaps even empowering them, what you get are little monsters. Angelic faces, but with hearts so demented, they are children no more.
And the persons to thank, are the evangelical preachers, who, like perverse adults, find pleasure in indoctrinating young, easy to mould minds, to serve their sick cause. What made it worse, is that these folks find immense pleasure in recording their deeds on tape, and then going home to review them, watching their handiwork all over again. If success at robbing someone makes stealing candy from a toddler count, then these folks surely find this method the easiest, and the one that scores the most points.
It's a pain to watch how these children believe, in raising their arms up high, thinking they can feel the holy ghost possessing them, writhe in imaginary pain on the ground, and cry so much crocodile tears, they think the more the holier art thou. But the one that takes the cake, is speaking in tongues.
There, I just did it myself too. I'm not a believer of it - heck, if the holy spirit wants to speak through you, doesn't it make perfect sense that it'll be a language everyone understands, and not gibberish that even you do not know what you meant? Then someone will say "yeah, you lack faith, you're not strong, blah blah" OK, so now it's the Force yeah?
It's flat out hypocrisy, one that bears warning about the false prophets that permeate society these days. And how cowards like those target the helpless and those who are in their formative years, to fill their brains with cow dung, and more selfishly, in preparation for the future, where their political ambitions include taking over the government, followed by world domination. They idolize George W Bush (can someone recall something about worshipping idols?) and call non-Christians enemy combatants, whom they want to emulate (short of bearing arms, at this point). They revel in their "enemies" ability to make their children handle bomb vests, while secretly hoping that one day they can do that to their own kids too. Religions are always about love and peace toward all fellow mankind (or all god's creation), but here, the preachers twist words and sow the seed for the future - one of their own designs.
Watching how they lambast and so believe their own non-"Dead Church" ways, I think it'll take years for any of those kids shown to be de-programmed from their dangerous thoughts. The "jumping up and down" ways in Church will naturally be appealing, as it goes against the grain of the usual congregational behaviour one would perceive in holy places of worship. And you know, anything that seems rebellious, fun (c'mon, rock songs, free love, etc), and counter-establishment, will always find a place in the heart of a child/teen. And seduction, is always sweet.
You can judge me to be critical and non-approving of the behaviour demonstrated, and frankly I don't care. What I would like to see though, is come Judgement Day and for the unfortunate (likely?) reason I can't pass through the Pearly Gates and have to head southwards, I sure like to see those false prophets there with me for eternity.
The film managed to portray, in its short 90 minutes, the content, but really, left judging it on your own. What I found a little distracting at times during the documentary, is when the camera has difficulty putting itself into focus, resulting in many shots being focusing shots, from blur to clear, making it a bit nauseating.
Should there be a sequel or follow up (say 10-15th Anniversary DVD Edition), it sure would be a blast to see the outcome of these children in their teens, if they have realized their follies, and left their "calling", or worse, fallen prey into deadly Sin that they have been warned time and again. Stay tuned when the end credits roll for a little coda, where the kids clearly demonstrate bigotry and generalization. So young, but already so set in their minds, in the wrong way.