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Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady (2006)

Intense and oddly beautiful documentary about a camp for evangelical kids. The filmmakers seem at pains not to seem to have an agenda, but it’s clear they do. The agenda isn’t anti-Christian or anti-fundamentalism, though; the agenda is to question whether fervor is interchangable with certainty, particularly among young children. You see these kids speaking in tongues and weeping with emotion as they profess their faith in Christ, and it suddenly strikes you that with the proper encouragement, they could be made to feel just as passionately about Justin Timberlake or Santa Claus. I find the childrens’ intensity and vulnerability heartbreakingly beautiful, but the adults channeling that intensity into anti-abortion chants and impressing upon that vulnerability an adamant intolerance for diversity are sinister as hell.

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