You don't make heroes out of warlocks

I just watched the documentary Jesus Camp. Obviously the subject matter is interesting and provocative enough as it is, but I had even more affinity to it because I happened to catch the filmmakers’ previous film ‘The Boys of Baraka’ at SXSW 2005 and really liked it a lot.

Watching ‘Jesus Camp’ reminded me a lot of Louis Theroux’s old show ‘Weird Weekends’. Like with that show, the personalities being interviewed here are so strong that watching it, you’re inclined to rip your hair out and scream “What the hell are you thinking?” (no pun intended), but the presentation is very objective and unobtrusive, so you feel considerably more sympathetic to the subjects.

There’s a lot to think about whilst watching. It’s not just a hatchet job – “look at these people, what they believe is stupid” etc. – but it’s still alarming for anyone who considers themselves to be politically liberal. Issues: Is it right for adults to indoctrinate young kids, what is this “huge cultural war” that they keep banging on about, what do you mean when you say “I was reborn at five years old… I just wanted more”, how will these kids react to all of this when they go through their teenage rebellion phase, and why does that one kid have a horrible rat-tail?

There’s really not a lot to discuss about it here, you have to see it for yourself. There are a couple of laughs, like the denunciation of Harry Potter (see clip), and of course the appearance of Ted Haggard criticizing gays.

The subject matter is dark and controversial, but I found it really unnerving. More so than that other documentary I saw recently, the focus of which also comes up in ‘Jesus Camp’, as it happens.


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