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Jesus Loves Irony

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I finally watched Jesus Camp this weekend. It’s a documentary about a North Dakota-based Pentecostal summer camp for children called Kids on Fire School of Ministry. Yeah, a terrifying name for a camp. But in the context of the cult-like atmosphere where 7-year-olds are instructed on how to properly speak in tongues and convulse for the Lord while praying to a cardboard cutout of President Bush and his glorious holy war, it makes sense. Their little souls are on fire for Jesus.

Especially when one of the main characters – an earnest young fellow my girlfriend and I nicknamed “Rat Tail” for his praise-worthy homeschooler’s ponytail – made a field trip to New Life Church to take in a sermon by undercover sodomite Ted Haggard. Talk about speaking in tongues! Haggard digresses into a denouncement of homosexuality during which he stares directly into the camera and says with prescient clarity, “I know what you did last night,” and “If you send me $1,000, I won’t tell your wife,” to the uproarious delight of his followers.

Haggard denounced the film before its September 2006 release, saying "You can learn as much about the Catholic Church from Nacho Libre as you can learn about evangelicalism from Jesus Camp.” Less than two months later it was revealed that Haggard had been frequenting his own special camp in Denver called Mike Jones’ Super Gay Sex Pectoral Pleasure Palace for several years. In February, Haggard terminated his arrangement with church team of “overseers” assigned to help cure of him of his gayness.

Watch the clip. Did Jesus know what Haggard did last night? And if so, do you think he was speaking through Haggard into the camera for the benefit of future YouTube viewers? He sure works in mysterious ways. – Jared Jacang Maher

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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