jesus campWith the same conflicted sense of repulsion and curiosity reserved for The State of the Union speeches and roller coaster rides I’m looking forward to watching the movie “Jesus Camp” when it comes to our neck of the woods sometime soon (I hope).

As a die-hard, un-repentant, not-soon-to-be-converted atheist (but a firm, yes, al dente believer in Reform Pastafarianism — reform in that I don’t buy the pirate schtick) I find the whole notion of organized religion ludicrous at best, profoundly scary at worst. And the Jesus Campers are truly scary fuckers. Mental child molesters.

The documentary covers a crowd of evengelical Xtians who specifically focus on converting kids to work as ministers and to be the future generation of true believers. They’re quite militant about it, and the way they manage to brainwash the kids into buying their snake oil would make the Branch Davidians blush.

A recent post about the movie by my favoritest blogger, Tbogg, reminded me of a few things that I’ve wanted to research a bit more. The whole notion of baptism, and the myth of original sin. The notion that a newborn child is somehow in need of spiritual improvement strikes me as flat-out ridiculous. and the mindset that presumes that a newborn could somehow be a sinner is just seriously off its rocker. So, I prodded and poked a bit, and it turns out that among real Xtians the discussion rages on about infant baptism vs. later baptism as a true sign of your devotion to your cult. Mennonites and others believe that a real baptism can only take place when an adult (or at least somewhat competent) individual of his or her own free will decides to be baptized, understanding the implications and the symbolic meaning of the act.

And, see, at least in a logical sort of way that makes a lot more sense. I still think the whole farcical aquatic ceremony is hogwash, but at least all the participants are (presumably) volunteers. And as with the Jesus Camp crap I can’t help but scream: leave the kids out of this, will ya? Preach to other adults, who have chosen to come of their own volition. If they want to speak in tongues and declare Jesus their savior, so be it. But kids deserve better, so much better. Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. Decent Republicans. Jesus. They should all remain fun. entertaining myths, not the focus of three weeks of boot camp for boys and girls, complete with rapture prep and idolation of cardboard cut-outs of George Bush.