Friday, October 06, 2006

Jesus Camp

A close friend from the real world writes:

Anyone see Jesus Camp? I picked up a bootleg copy last week (they're selling it on the street here!) and it's quite an interesting film. Some thoughts:

1. From a purely film-making perspective, it was fantastic. Gorgeous shots, nice editing, great use of music, humorous moments.

2. Whoa. These people are just...whoa.

3. Cute kids...

4. ...who there but for the grace of God *aren't* in Hamas camp.

5. However you slice it, these kids are not being taught to kill people. But if they were, then they would. And that is scary.

6. Speaking in tongues (even if put on) is unintentionally hilarious.

7. One preacher guy likes to shokel a lot. I wonder if it comes natural to him or he saw it in Israel or something.

8. A family pledges allegiance to "the Christian flag" and there is also an Israeli flag nearby.

9. In all my years at Orthodox functions, whether for kids or adults, whether kumzitzin or Yom Kippur Neilah, or presentations by Gedolai Yisroel, I have NEVER seen the intensity and religous devotion, or at least the cosmetic appearance of such as here.

10. I get the impression that there is some distortion. For example, one gets the impression that these kids are talking and thinking about Jesus all day. Maybe they are, but maybe not. For example, they show them telling ghost stories at night. Granted, a counselor comes in and asks them if they think telling ghost stories is godly. But I wonder if these kids are "on" part of the time, like when they're having their pep rallies/ prayers and just a lot more normal the rest of the time. One kid talks about having read Harry Potter, because his dad lets but his mom doesn't (child of divorce).

11. Total racial integration (although mostly white). It's obvious that for them its Christians and non-Christians not black or Asian or white or whatever.

12. I get the feeling that its a bit alarmist--but the situation is still alarming nevertheless. It is clear that these people, perhaps 10s of million of them, are not necessarily commited to democracy *if* they ever achieve most of the political power to be had.

13. See it.


Here's what worries me most about these people:

(1) Their love for Israel is conditional. They like Israel because they think it's reshis tzmichas ha-rapture, that the esstablishment of the state and the ingathering of the exiles fulfils the pre-conditions of the rapture. My worry is that sooner or later the Christians will notice the rapture hasn't happened. And then who do you think they will blame?

(2) Unlike most Republicans, the evangelicals aren't Liberals, in the original, capital L, sense. They don't have much use for nicities like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and so on. If they ever acquire the power some of them crave, they will seek to impose their rules on the rest of us, and to inhibit the free exercise of our rules. You might not think that's much of a problem, but what happens when your wife needs a halachicly mutar abortion, and the Christian overlords refuse to allow it? What happens when they seek to ban your gay son from public service, or to otherwise stigmitize him? What happens when they try to impose the worship of Jesus on the millions of Jewish children attending public schools?

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