As you all know, I (soon-to-be used to) work for a company that runs summer camps. What you might not know is that before I took this job, the closest I’d ever been to any sort of summer camp was Addams Family Values. So the camp industry has always been a very foreign and alien thing to me. A place privileged families send their children to “get rid of them” for a time during the summer. A place where you learned arts and crafts (things I learned year-round being raised by my artist mother). Having worked in the summer-camp business for the past three or four years, little of that opinion has changed.
But now summer camps are getting all kinds of press. Or, at the very least, movies about summer camps are getting all sorts of alternative media press thanks to Jesus Camp, a progressive’s worst nightmare. Boot camp for the conservative religious right to brainwash children. Oh yeah.
I bring all this up for a couple of reasons. I had a brief conversation about Jesus Camp with a friend of mine last night. We debated seeing it at the Parkway but decided that it was too scary. So we decided to see Running with Scissors instead (which was sort of like watching a traffic accident between clown cars). At any rate, we had another brief conversation about the religious right and the diversity of opinion within Evangelical circles.
And then today I got wind of another summer camp movie: Camp Out. Which is apparently about a summer camp for Christian youth to come out and be gay. Here’s a quote from the director interviewed by AlterNet:
I’m speaking as a gay man who’s been in a gay relationship for the past seven years. I know. And that’s the struggle I’ve gone through since I started working. But I don’t want to shy away from Christian language. I want to reclaim it. It’s powerful. Instead of using it as a weapon, I want to use it as something helpful. During our second year of camp, we were going to use Psalm 139, and one of our counselors said, “Well, we can’t use that Psalm.” And we looked at him and said why? And he said, “Well, because Psalm 139 is what the anti-abortion people use.” And I looked at him like, “So?” If we can reclaim this stuff, we can take away the ghosts that keep haunting people.
(In looking back over the set-up of this blog entry, I feel I’m being a bit long-winded and taking my sweet sweet time getting to the point. But, finally, here it is.)
Wow! That’s great freakin’ news if you ask me. I’m a sucker for people reclaiming language, though, particularly religious language. It’s long been a thorn in my side that the religious right got to co-opt and claim exclusive rights over morality merely by virtue of the fact that they’re “religious.” What a load of crap. So I’m happy to see that a group of gay Christians are using the same language that has been used against them to further support the radical notion that (hold on to your hats) Jesus loves everyone and could care less if you’re gay.
Which is about all I have to say about that. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Berkeley, it’s about four o’clock in the afternoon, and I’m waiting for my fiance to come get me and for our weekend to start. On an unrelated note, the the light looks beautiful in here, it’s almost winter, and that nostalgic year-end feeling is almost upon me. On an even more unrelated note, Dana and I are going to temple this weekend. Together. For Bodhi-day (something I’m sure to write about later). Which I’m thrilled about. She’s the first person I’ve felt comfortable taking with me to a Buddhist function in a Very Long Time. Then again, she’s the one.
(It took me a long time to get to this post’s point. And a very short time to get away from it. Have a good weekend, wherever you are.)