Watched Jesus Camp this morning in class, as an exercise in looking for some of the sociological effects of religion, like legitimation and authority, as well as the operation of authenticity claims.
The movie raised controversy when it came out about 10 years ago, but from my perspective, it is something like a Rorschach test – what a person sees the filmmaker doing has something to do with the way a person responds to what’s on film. I’ve seen the move a number of times, and it continues to seem to me that the filmmaker presents the evangelical Christians who are her subjects in a really matter-of-fact way – that is, I never get the impression she is working at making them seem ridiculous or casting a particularly “negative light” on them. She takes her subjects as seriously as they take themselves. The folks she follows tell her what they think, and show her what they do; they have the ideas they have, and do the things they do, without apology. As one of the children says “You think I’m weird, I don’t care what you think.”
It’s been a couple of years since I last saw this movie. This time, couldn’t help realizing … I suppose this is a movie about some of the “most white Christians” who voted Republican in the last Presidential election.