Jesus Camp (PG-13)

Documentary 85 September 15, 2006
By Rob Nelson
God is in the details no matter what you believe, but this red state-baiting doc is content to introduce its appalled exposé of evangelical Christian youth culture with shots of a fast food- and flag-lined highway and the words "Missouri, USA." Welcome to hell, kids. Art-house horror has rarely been scarier than it is in the hands of filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, for whom a drive-thru car wash illustrates the evils of American cleansing. Missouri -- yikes! -- is also the home of Pentecostal minister Becky Fischer, a super-size general in the army of the Lord who commands young attendees of her Kids on Fire camp to worship a cardboard Dubya, clutch tiny fetus dolls, and sing along to spiritual hip-hop ("kickin' it for Christ," y'all). The doc these kids would make with flea-market camcorders couldn't possibly be as ugly as this absurdly hypocritical critique of the far right's role in escalating the culture war. The classier indoctrination to which Gap-shopping urban Democrats subject their kids might look damn spooky, too, but it probably wouldn't sell.
Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady Mike Papantonio Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady Magnolia Pictures

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