Last night I watched the documentary “Jesus Camp” about a summer camp for evangelical Christian youth. And let me tell you something, fervor is funny and frightening at the same time. When I wasn’t convulsing in laughter (who knows, maybe the Holy Ghost was in me!), I was slack-jawed in abject horror. Some of the things these children are being taught should constitute child abuse in my book.
One of the salient facts that I gleaned from this was that 75% of the children who are home-schooled are evangelical. (The other 25% are probably helping guard the pot crop--can you say "Sanjaya?") Shocking, I know. Nothing like “sheltering” your children from learning about the world. And then there’s the scene where the mom is teaching out of a creation textbook and spouting off things like “Science proves nothing. That’s a fact.” Or, “Creationism is the perfect answer to all questions.” Wonder where she got HER PhD?
Mostly though, it was an hour and a half of writhing on the floor, frenzied emotion, speaking in tongues and REALLY bad haircuts. Now, I know Jesus’ hippie tresses weren’t exactly the highest point in hair history, but Dear God, some of these cuts were sinful! The cute little blond boy with the Moe Howard meets Dorothy Hamill bowl cut? You can’t tell me Satan didn’t have a hand on those scissors.
Some of the “pastors” would suddenly begin speaking in tongues, a language which was surprisingly consistent, considering the supposed spontaneity. It all pretty much sounded like the “holla, holla, holla” guy from Chappelle’s Show. And by the way, aren’t these the same people who are all about “English Only?” Helloooooo! You’re speaking in “tongues.” That ain’t exactly English, but you’re saying it’s the word of the Holy Spirit. Doesn’t that seem like just a bit of a contradiction?
What am I saying? These folks LIVE in contradiction. Doesn’t seem to phase them at all. They call it “faith.” I call it “dumb motherfucker” or “stupid cracker” depending on my mood.
The best part was the Rev. Ted Haggard. I’d never seen him preach before. I’d only seen him lie and cower and beg for more meth—I mean, forgiveness—on the telly.
S.L.I.M.Y. Slimy motherfucker. And my gaydar was whooping like a drag queen at a wig sale. Of course, Christians always set off my gaydar. Something about not breaking eye contact. And hiring male prostitutes for sex.
But Teddy boy was super creepy. And kinda hot. Yeah, I know it’s sick. Sue me.
The best though was the GIGANTIC lesbian preacher who was the “star” of the show. She spent inordinate amounts of time getting her spiky-dykey haircut JUST right. And the rest of the time smothering her flock with dogma and flannel.
By the end, though, I realized that the people in the film and I agreed on one big thing. These children need to be saved. I just don’t think we define that word in quite the same way.