Jesus Camp Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

Jesus Camp is a disturbing look into the American Evangelical Christian movement and its drive to indoctrinate talented young children into the cause of "truthiness.” Or maybe it’s not - perhaps its subjects look at Ewing and Grady’s balanced, non-judgmental documentary and feel that their point of view is being fairly and accurately represented. That’s the good and the bad of Jesus Camp, a film that simply presents its subjects as they are: speaking in tongues, training their children to be soldiers of Christ (particularly at confrontational locations like abortion clinics) and encouraging their children to preach, to believe that they are prophets and that they can hear the voice of god. Impressionable, gifted and charismatic, to see these bright, eager kids basically give the adults in their lives exactly what will win their approval is truly frightening: "mom and dad clearly want me to connect with god, so I’ll tell them I hear god’s voice, I’ll tell them I know god’s will and they will love me and pay attention to me.” It’s a mental subtext that is so clear it’s practically subtitled - at least it is to me. But in a commentary and indeed throughout the presentation of the film, Ewing and Grady demonstrate genuine affection for both the kids and adults, even as they witness home schooling that teaches creationism and denounces science as godless hokum. Filmed during the height of the George W. Bush support/mania, the fact that the parents believe is disturbing; the fact that these smart children are being raised as the generation destined to take over the world in the name of born-again Christians is downright terrifying. Plus: deleted scenes. (Mongrel Media)