Monday, September 25, 2006

Jesus Camp

Despite a good seven hours of sleep I still feel as creeped out and edgy as I did last night. I saw the scariest movie I have ever seen and I think it might take some time to get over this one. The Calgary International Film Festival is on right now and so of course there are lots of great movies playing with lots of neat, funky, and mostly liberal vegetarian people watching them. I had been wanting to see Jesus Camp since I first heard about it and I wasn't disappointed. I can't even begin to explain how frightening this movie is. It's all about the far (far, far, far) right evangelical movement in the U.S. and how they are quite literally training soldiers to lay down their lives for Jesus...except that these soldiers are under the age of ten. The movie profiles several children who have been indoctrinated into the fundamentalist Christian right. The main preacher in the film is quite proud and willing to use the term "indoctrinate" and has no issues whatsoever with how she or her ministry is portrayed in the film. Abortion, Satan, Harry Potter being put to death, speaking in tongues, convulsions, rebirths, repentance, screaming, attacks on global warning, evolution and democracy were all featured and culminated in a prayer session over a cardboard cut out of the celestially appointed George W. Bush. These kids were like little robots and were vocally and proudly calling themselves soldiers of God who would lay down their lives for Christ. What stunned me was how anyone could miss the parallels between this and fundamentalist Islam but, as the preacher herself said when asked about the similarity, "Yah, but excuse me, WE have the truth."

It's easy to dismiss these radicals as just that - a fringe group. Mostly uneducated and of low socio-economic status they are not the most intellectually impressive group. But they are large and they are growing. 75% of the children home-schooled in America are evangelicals. They are being taught that evolution is wrong, that global warming doesn't exist and that their country is under attack from the left. The "us versus them" mentality has reached new heights when the world is described as having "two types of people - those who love Jesus and those who don't."

I hope everyone gets a chance to see this movie. I think we need to be aware of what is out there and the influence this group has. One of their greatest preachers meets with the President and his advisors every Monday. As a voting block they outnumber all others. They are passionate, ignorant and determined. They have nothing to lose because they truly believe the world will end soon and they will be here for the rapture. And most importantly, they are self professed soldiers for all the things they believe in and anything that stands against them is a product of the Devil. They want America back.

I left the theatre feeling sad for the children because they are being subjected to what, in my mind anyway, amounts to psychological abuse. Children of six, seven, eight years old, bawling hysterically because they believe the Devil is tempting them and that their family is under siege. Falling to their knees begging for grace for all the sins they have committed and praying to be washed in Jesus' blood. Not being allowed to have any fun because everything they do must be for the glory of God. I also left feeling afraid. Afraid because I know how much influence these people have in America and how much influence America has on the world stage. Mostly I was afraid because if this continues, I don't see any possibility for peaceful coexistence either within America or on this planet. I left feeling a bit hopeless and unsure of what, if anything, I can do to stop it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Big Time...

Brian is back into the swing of things at school and was recently given his first case for the year:

So, this guy picks up a prostitute (for a philosophical discussion he maintains) and asks her to come back to his place. She refuses, saying that it isn't safe. He refuses to pay her and she insists on $40 for her time. Instead, he steals her purse and drives away. She goes to her pimp and she hunts down the John in his trailer court. Pimp beats the shit out of him (allegedly of course) and throws something through the trailer window. John sues pimp (that's right...apparently he's horny, deep and stupid). In comes the lawyer...

My husband is a pimp defender.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bad Bad Blogger...

Vacation to the Okanagan wasn't all I had hoped it would be. Of course I loved spending time with Bri (which after all, was the point of the trip) but I made the fatal mistake of trying to recapture childhood memories. The waterslides in Penticton aren't really cool...they're scary looking. And Ogo Pogo isn't a giant dragon you can climb all over - he's a plastic toy about 4 feet tall. We had planned on stopping by Flinstone Park because really, who didn't love that as a child? It doesn't exist anymore. I kept telling Brian that all I wanted to do was jump in the lake as soon as we arrived. So, after coughing up $40 for a campsite (which doubled our trip budget on the spot) we ran into the water. As we stood there in the chest-deep lake we looked at each other and I realized, with painful clarity that the water was wet and cold and that I am nearly 30.

We stayed in Kelowna for a few days and actually has a pretty good time. We went on a great tour of the Mission Hill vineyards and winery and played mini-golf. We headed to Osoyoos for three days but ended up bailing a few hours after we arrived. The campsite we were booked into was essentially a squatter's camp and Osoyoos (my apologies to anyone who is from there) is weird. It was creepy and like much of the Okanagan had a disproportionate number of trailer parks. The entire region looked to me as though a lot of people had moved there with a dream and then run out of money before they could put siding on their home or tow the truck to the local garage. And that's where they've stayed...along with their truck.

We headed into the States (Washington, across Idaho and into Montana) which of course was an adventure. I got to listen to my fill of Jesus radio, which for some reason I absolutely love. My favourite quote? "If God is your co-pilot, you better believe that it's time to swap seats!" Pure gold. We ate at a Denny's where I was forced to order from the Senior's Menu because all the stuff from the regular menu came with a bucket of hashbrowns and your weight in pancakes. And if you ordered pancakes? Yup, they came with a side of pancakes.

So, in ten days we managed to cover two provinces, three states, every political and current event worth discussing, a few arguments, some great bumper stickers ("Orgasm Donor")and a few hours of tax-free shopping in the great state of Montana We also learned many lessons for our next trip - mainly that next time we should take our ten day budget and use it over three days.