Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Divine Documentaries, Petty Thievery, and Priestly Puns

My Academic Writing professor is a petty thief.

The class started with us talking to our professor, Joshua (whose last name I'll just say is Pederson) about the movie we were going to watch, the crazy Christian documentary Jesus Camp, when Lena burst through the door with a half-eaten apple and an apology for coming in late.

"There was a long line at the coffee shop, and this guy at the front of the line was having problems with his credit for like 10 minutes, and I almost left, but I was there drinking my coffee, and I figured I should probably pay for the coffee," she said.

"Oh. Yeah, I stole mine the other day," Joshua said, shocking the whole class. "What? I was going to be late for class!"

After this, he decided to introduce the documentary Jesus Camp, mentioning that they do go to the mega church in Colorado Springs to see Ted Haggerty before "the sex scandal brought him to his knees...That was the worst word choice ever, sorry." He blushed furiously, sat down, and then started up the movie.

The movie starts off talking about politics being entwined with religion. It then launches into a battle-themed God dance and kids dancing in tounges, with Becky Fischer talking about how a little girl was totally aware and was "hooking up with the Holy Spirit." Ooh la la. She goes on to proclaim that she needs to teach these students to combat the evil forces in the world, like the children being trained "to blow themselves up for the cause of Islam."

"We need to stand up and take back the land," she says.

Then kids start popping up saying when they got saved, and how they're not shy when they're "with the Holy Spirit." It then follows rat-tailed Levi to his home schooling saying that Global Warming isn't true because the temperature has only gone up .6 degrees, and how creationism is the only way. Science isn't proven.

75% of all home-schooled kids in the US are evangelical Christians. And "there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love Jesus, and those who don't."

Rachael prays to the Lord for a strike, gives a slut at the bowling alley a pamphlet, and says that she wants to be a nail cosmetologist so she can tell people about the Lord and being saved while she's giving them a candy apple red manicure. She doesn't care about being called weird, because "they're not judging me in the end."

Another little blond loves Christian heavy metal, and doesn't like how Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears sing about boys and girls, because "she doesn't believe in that." That one might be on to something, but still funny. She then goes downstairs with her brothers and sisters to pledge allegiance to the Christian nation and the Bible rather than the American flag.

Her mother feels that her daughter is "on loan from God," and that she needs to be trained in character. Which makes sense. But if she's on loan, do her parents need to pay interest? Does she build up good credit with the Lord?

The kids all pack up their leotards and prophecy dance stuff and flashlights and bibles for "Kids on Fire" camp in South Dakota, so they can be educated. They go to dance to God techno that proclaims that "JC is in da house!" and that they're "kickin' it for Christ!" This leads into a speech about how the Devil tempts children with sin, starting from when they're little and sin seems inconsequential.

Then she starts talking about Harry Potter is sinful, and how "YOU DON'T MAKE HEROES OUT OF WARLOCKS!" Lena promptly screams and runs out of the room.

She starts calling kids hypocrites when they say one thing at Church and another at school. She then proceeds to re-baptize and cleanse them with a bottle of Nestle water, because Aquafina is the water of the devil. The kids cry and they are told to go pray and repent.

A little kid starts talking about how he feels guilty about not believing the Bible because he can't see or hear God. He then proceeds to channel God on stage.

There's a lightning storm and the kids start making ghost stories and animal stories and weird belly ripples by flash light. The chaperone puts them back to bed and tells them to stop telling ghost stories because they don't honor God.

The head of the camp sets about to editing her font on the PowerPoint to Chiller, saying "DEATH." She busts out the fig-leaved Barbie and Ken "Adam and Eve" dolls, and shows how faith will blow life into people, like the balloon she starts blowing up. There's something with a Jell-o mold of a brain and a sticky hand that will stick to the ideas of God. And then like every other Pizza Hut sticky hand, they'll come into contact with the dirty floor and won't stick to anything.

The kids at the lunch table talk about how Harry Potter is prohibited for witch craft, which upsets Lena. One kid gleefully says "I watch it at my dad's!"

Rachael loves "being in the presence of God." She talks about dead churches that have a few songs and a sermon (like mine!), and how God wants to go to churches where people seize and jump up and down and praise his name.

Little Levi is assigned to preach, and starts writing up what he's going to yell at his peers about how this generation is going to bring Jesus back. Which is awesome, but very very scary. God writes the sermon through his arm, and how the Holy Spirit will be coming out of him when he preaches. Kids need to get up off the couch, and not to let Satan get them off. Or something. I could've misquoted that.

They go off to go hammer on ghosts. They go hammer on cups labeled "government" and "break the power of the devil in this nation in the name of Jesus." The kids yell Jesus and cry and cheer on their camp mates as they smash more pottery.

The camp leader tells them it's not about speed, it's about strength. There are more tears, and the kids are told to pray it out. They raise their hands and speak in tongues and cry and are cheered on while doing so. They're advocated to make war with prophecies. I don't think that Jesus would advocate war. Call me crazy and unbelieving and Catholic. But I don't think that's what he was going for.

Pan to Levi throwing stones. He feels like encountering non-Christians "makes his soul feel yucky." He compares it to wanting junky candy and the meat of the Holy Spirit.

"I don't want the candy, I want the meat," he says. "I wouldn't be different from other kids if they did their calling. America is supposed to be God's nation. And then things just started twisting around. And now a lot of people in America aren't following God," he says disapprovingly.

George W. Bush's cardboard cut-out is blessed in tongues by the little kids. "MR. PRESIDENT! ONE NATION UNDER GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!" Screaming and cheering ensues. The collective town of Ithaca puts its head in its hands.

A speaker comes, usually talking to older people, and tells them that God knew them before they were born. "You weren't just a piece of protoplasm. Whatever that is." He tells Levi that God planned out his life, and how he wouldn't sell out in his teens. He'd stay with God. Levi thinks it's "pretty cool."

We take a pause, and then skip to the scene in Colorado Springs with Ted Haggerty. He says the Bible condemns homosexuality. He says that hookers are wrong (weeks before he was caught with one), and that in the home there should be a few core beliefs, and if so, freedom from Satan is guaranteed. They first pray for George W. Bush, who Haggerty advises every Monday morning.

Ted Haggerty explains that Levi will know what to talk about when he's 30, and then says that "kids are everything." He then condemns natural selection and public schools by saying that God loves everyone. He then starts talking about how evangelicals have the power to wrap up elections with their votes.

Thus proving that I am, in fact, going to Hell.

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