Say what you like about vacuously hip exercises in emptiness like Babel, at least they don't threaten to make society unliveable for free-thinkers. That's the job of extremist fundamentalists of whatever stripe, in America represented by right-wing Christians or the sort portrayed in Jesus Camp, a documentary which looks at a Pentecostalist crusade to fire up children with the right sort of theocratic and political views.
The film was shown on A&E at the end of 2007, I learn, but it's been available on Google Video for months. I got around to it last night, and made it about 20 minutes in before I had to stop. I'm sorry, it's just too disturbing.
It's not that the views held by these people are overly wacky. They're not especially. It's amusing, for instance, to hear American Christians guffaw about the 72 virgins in Heaven thing, all the while wholeheartedly believing the world was made 6000 years ago, or that man and dinosaurs both boarded the Ark. Clearly, nutcase beliefs are not the exclusive province of one religion or the other (do Christians who mock Scientologists even realise how nutty their own space-cadet ideas sound to outsiders?).
What's scary about Jesus Camp is the very real possibility that such people could get close enough to real power to touch the hem of its garment. As I write this, Mike Hucksterbee has won some kind of caucus to put him on the road to the presidency. All right, it may not happen this time. But this is a death-cult which worships a man who was nailed to a tree. If you cut them in half they grow back twice as strong. They will keep fighting. Look at the glint in some of those eyes. This movement is something to fear.