Jesus Camp, the Harbinger


I re-watched the 2006 documentary, Jesus Camp the other day. It predicted Trump; not the who of Donald Trump, but the what of an evangelical-favored president. The fact that he is irreligious has no relevance to them. They indoctrinated their children into being voters for a Trump-like leader and it worked. They got what they asked for, emotionalism, nationalism and speaking/texting-in-tongues nonsense.

By the way, this is not what I meant by negative capability, which respects and honors reason and logic in collaborative harmony. This is intentional random illogic and unreasonable faith in anti-intellectualism with a nod to Evangelical Christian religiosity. The “Kids On Fire” summer campers of the film were old enough to vote in this past election. Like the students from any madrassa, they presumably did what they were taught to do.

I was saddened by this film when I first saw it ’07. But I’d regularly been saddened by the Anita Bryants and Jerry Falwells and Tammy Faye Bakers of the world since the 1970s. My expectation for the Evangelical’s dream candidate was more along the super intelligent con-man type, like the balloonish Ted Cruz. Instead we got the perfect blend of a capitalist oligarch salesman/conman who is the male version of Tammy Faye in terms of hair at least, and he organically speaks in tongues. He is neither the intellect nor the pious spiritualist; that born-again glaze in his eyes, as the Evangelicals perceive it, is just plain crazy to the rest of the world. He is more oligarch than evangelical and the religious crowd is happy with what they have got. This represents the Christian backlash that’s been predicted for years. Oddly, I expected to have more respect for it when it arrived.

Their prayers have been answered. By the time he is done the Christian version of Sharia law will give these wackos authority over an individual’s sexual, gender, and reproductive life. The non-productive capitalist theology/ buffoonery of a Trump and the oppressive dominionist theology of the evangelicals have given the Republican oligarchs two tigers to hold by the tail. Balancing oligarchy with theology was hard enough but Trump presents a wild-card they didn’t expect. The pie has to be gerrymandered so that all three major players get the piece they want.

From the distant devastation of my twice hurricane-struck island I am glad to be here, not there. With my brief internet connections, I feel like I am glimpsing an episode of the 1960s TV show Batman; an episode where all the colorful criminals, the jokers, penguins and cat persons have taken over the city while each of them makes up their own set of nonsensical rules and chaos prevails. Our democracy is now a failed camp farce. Will a bat-costumed billionaire save the day?

The teacher has left this USA classroom alone for far too long. Where is the adult? Or are we just waiting for Godot?

So, what's on your mind?