Sunday, August 7, 2006

Michael Moore
Michael Moore doesn't give in to conservative appeal.

Director Michael Moore was asked to drop the film "Jesus Camp" from the lineup at the Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan by Magnolia Films, which purchased the American distribution rights of the film. This request came because they were "concerned that any association with the director of Fahrenheit 9/11 could damage its prospects in conservative circles."

"The reality of the world we live in today is that if Michael Moore endorses it, tens of millions will automatically reject it," said Magnolia Films president Eamonn Bowles. That is, of course, an understandable marketing ploy, albeit one that, in all likelihood, will backfire because they have brought media attention to the subject that otherwise wouldn't have been there. Instead of the small audience that keeps up with obscure film festivals only knowing about Moore's opinion of the film, now tens of millions of Americans know of it. Magnolia's plan also shows a lack of faith in the ability of its audience to make up its own mind.

The real problem is not with Magnolia Films, however, it is with the religious right depicted in the film itself. The following is an excerpt from indieWIRE about the film:

Scenes of children proselytizing and learning about creationism in addition to a host of conservative principles engendered some unease amongst the generally liberal New York audiences during the Tribeca Film Festival ... A screening in Manhattan's East Village late last week, with even documentary filmmaker Michael Moore in attendance, reportedly became quite a raucous event as audience members reacted loudly to the film.

While generally pleased with how the film turned out, [Jesus Camp Children's pastor Becky Fischer] told indieWIRE that she initially felt a bit uncomfortable with the inclusion of some of the overtly political segments in the film, which culminate in a debate between Fischer and Air America radio commentator Mike Papantonio (whose on-air comments are used to frame the documentary). Papantonio, described as an active Methodist, is a frequent critic of the Evangelical movement.

A particularly inflammatory scene that heightens the political overtones for viewers takes place at a revival meeting lead by Fischer and her associates, in front of well over 100 children. In the scene, Fischer takes a life-size standup photo of President George W. Bush to the stage, and with a large American flag in the background, asks the crowd to raise their hands towards him in prayer.

With the national press this film is receiving, this is a great opportunity for viewers of the film to realize how the religious right is attempting to slowly strip Americans of their rights and morph our democracy into a fascist state (click here for more information). The similarities between the right wing in the United States and Germany's Nazi Party circa pre-World War II is stunning. Just take the following excerpt...

takes a life-size standup photo of President George W. Bush to the stage, and with a large American flag in the background, asks the crowd to raise their hands towards him in prayer.

...and replace "President George W. Bush" with "Adolf Hitler," "a large American flag" with "a large Nazi Party flag," and change "asks the crowd to raise their hands towards him in prayer" to "asks the crowd to give the Hitler Salute," and you have very similar situations.

George W. Bush
Pres. Bush preaching to those that
can't think for themselves.

Fischer defended the actions at the revival meeting, explaining, "When we took out [an] image of Bush, it turned political, but to us, it's not political - it's Biblical," she said. "All you have to do is mention words like abortion, homosexuality and President Bush to [garner] strong feelings from people," said Fischer who maintained that using images of the U.S. President and the flags of the U.S. and Israel were not meant to be overtly political. "We are commanded to pray for our leaders and we're commanded [by the Bible] to pray for Israel. So it was a surprise to me because we don't think of this as political. But from a secular point-of-view, I can see how it's viewed politically."

The United States of America was founded on individual freedoms, especially freedom from an oppressive government. These individual freedoms were not to be discriminated based on religion, so why does the religious right get the final say in what people can and cannot do in the privacy of their own homes and with their bodies? Why shouldn't a woman be allowed to choose to abort her baby? As much as the anti-science crowd wants to deny it, a fetus isn't independent of the womb until the third trimester (seventh month), and therefore it is not killing a living thing. Besides, this country supposedly flourishes on free-market capitalism, and there's a whole lot of money to be made in the abortion industry. These right-wing radicals also seem to be missing the most important point of all: they are supporting the life of something that hasn't even taken the shape of a human being yet over the life of someone who actually is a human being.

Their stance on homosexuality is much of the same me-first mentality. Because they believe in a religion that disapproves of homosexuality, others cannot engage in such relationships, and instead must hide in the proverbial closet. Scientific studies have shown that the more older brothers a male has, the more likely he is to be a homosexual. Should the right-wing ever choose to accept what the scientific community has to offer, they'll probably end up pushing for legislation to regulate how many male children a family can have, similar to how China regulates the amount of children -- especially female -- a family can conceive.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler: the man President Bush
unintentionally models himself after.

Many of the problems are caused simply by party worship. President Bush is to the right wing as Hitler was to the Nazi Party. Every four years, these people can be found voting Republican on every ballot regardless of who the candidates are and what they are preaching. They paid no mind to President Bush's consistent history of avid drug and alcohol use (they are, after all, avid supporters of anti-drug laws) and also ignored the fact that Bush, in the Texas Air National Guard, never attended consistently and was treated favorably due to his father's standing with the Republican Party. They trusted this man unabashedly and blindly by electing him in 2000 and then re-electing him in 2004. Why did they vote for him in 2000? He's a born-again Christian. Why did they vote for him in 2004, after watching him knowingly allow the 9/11 attacks to occur (or, as conspiracy theorists claim, he and his confidantes planned the whole thing), fail to capture the man allegedly responsible for the attacks, change the story from 9/11 to weapons of mass destruction and Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, and wrongfully invade Iraq? He's a born-again Christian.

They are tapping the phones of innocent Americans, regulating what they can and cannot do in the privacy of their own homes, making it nearly unaffordable to travel to and from work due to the price of gas, and soon, they'll be taking away what this country was founded on: freedom. What are the soldiers fighting for in the Middle East if the right wing is trying its hardest to take it away?