Friday, October 13, 2006

Holy High Rollers


With the new news about how the POTUS and his staff regularly used the religious right for blatant political purpose, the new documentary called Jesus Camp is particularly poignant.

I saw it last weekend.

Here is a review by James Berardinelli .

"Many movies skirt the question of how the growing influence of Evangelical Christians as a voting block is impacting politics. Jesus Camp, from co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys from Baraka) plunges headfirst into these murky waters. The resulting production is both disturbing and enlightening.

In addition to providing a first-hand view of this landscape, it raises a question that will earn Jesus Camp the label of "controversial": to what extent does the indoctrination undergone by the children depicted in this film cross over the line into child abuse?

25% of Americans describe themselves as Evangelical Christians, but not all those men and women will identify with the subjects of Jesus Camp. Yet, while Ewing and Grady have chosen to investigate the charismatic wing of Protestant Christianity, this is no mere lunatic fringe.

30 million people identify themselves with the groups presented in this documentary (or ones like it). That's about 10% of the American population. Their political power and influence is growing, in part because they are less apathetic than most U.S. citizens when it comes to activism.

This block of voters represented one of the major reasons George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004.

Jesus Camp is not a "hatchet job." The filmmakers did not go in with an anti-Christian agenda and use selective editing to prove their point.

They are observers. Jesus Camp does not represent an attack on the Evangelical community."


The bulk of the movie follows Levi, Rachel, Tori, and others as they go to the "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. (What a name!) There, day and night, they are taught to be better soldiers in the army of God.

They are encouraged to repudiate sin, hate abortion, pray for George Bush (a cardboard cutout of the President is provided), and re-dedicate themselves to spreading the word of God.

They have charismatic moments when tears stream from their eyes as they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and some of them speak in tongues." more

Almost 30 years ago, I had a brief time in my life where I worked with a large tongue talking faith healing church that was on the early vanguard of the full gospel wave that has become the political base of the worst leadership in the history of United States.

As a Television Producer, I helped them package their "service" into a show that ultimately went to millions on the satellite. And it was a show. A good one. And the receipts showed it.

At the same time, I helped another Pentecostal Preacher who had a little pitiful "real Pentecostal Church" over on the east side. I helped him eek by, by setting up a child care center and I did his advertising for free so it would succeed.

Through this UPC preacher, I learned the reason that those who participate in the full gospel must live reasonably strict lives. Real Pentecostals don't even watch or own a TV. Real Pentecostals are not of this world, but of God's. Real Pentecostals don't cut their hair (their glory) and they don't wear make up.

And the reason for this piety is deeply spiritual, not just some weird idea that has no basis in meta-spiritual reality.

My east side preacher feared that this new age Pentacostal "light" would result in very bad unintended results. And boy, was he prescient.

Separated, Holy Rollers and High Rollers are modestly managable, much like common fertilizer and truck fuel.

But, when you put them together, they make for a powerful explosive force.

I walked out of the Movie pretty troubled by it all.

Killing in the name of God so you can gain wealth is dangerous business.

Always has been, always will be.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.

You cannot serve God and mammon."

This current bunch sure tries.

"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers"


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art courtesy of "art of the south"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

'...While here [I'm visiting in Atlanta and wrote this to a few friends in Austin awhile ago] 'Stephen Goldfarb turned me on to another Barbara Ehrenreich tome, "Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream." This one is the corporate sequel to "Nickled and Dimed," an expose of the situation of the wage slaves of real work. From pages 140 on, in particular, of "Bait" she describes the neuvo-grift-industry she experienced which plays out here in Atlanta--of "services" for the more "professional" job seekers from the middle class. The vultures that play on those euphamistically "in Transition" have taken a turn to becoming Christian-ated. It is pukeable just reading about it. Earlier she says that Atlanta has no heart--no soul either, iMHO.
The ubiquitous jargon-plagued IT employment category, Information Technology, I presume, coincidentally, was the 30-odd year career of my third cousin, once removed, who on Monday died of a heart attack on UT campus on her way to a meeting in the Tower. She was 55...'
Christ must be rolling over in his supulcure for all the descration of his name being used by all manner of frauds.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the diesel fuel and fertilizer analogy!

3:20 PM  

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