I’ve decided to write notes describing each of the tracks on Loving Every Other Minute of It. I’ll publish one of these pieces per month until I touch on all ten tracks. Start at the beginning of the series here.

It there’s a song on Loving Every Other Minute of It to be confused about, it’s “Jesus Camp.”

The main thing to understand about this song is that it was spawned by a documentary of the same name that came out in 2006. The documentary chronicles the indoctrination of kids at a certain U.S. Bible camp into a weird strain of militant Christianity that has nothing to do with Christ.

In case it needs clarifying, I didn’t grow up religious, and I don’t follow a faith. Having said that, I take some comfort from the story of Christ, I find the Bible compelling and beautiful on the whole, and the idea that anyone would use either to hurt people I find, at minimum, unfortunate. That’s probably more than you wanted to know about my beliefs, but there they are.

When I saw this documentary, it scared me, and I did what I often do when I’m scared of something: I made fun of it.

I quickly found a chorus:

Now I’m ready to fight. Now I’m ready to smite.
Line up them liberals, and swing with all your might.
Just a couple of weeks ago I kind of lost my way,
And then I went to Jesus Camp, and now I feel okay.

If you’ve followed my music life to this point, you’ve noticed I like goofy songs. The process for writing such a song is usually a kind of inner competition to see if I can finish it. I start many, if only in my head, and a select few make it across the finish line. This is one. “Johnny Marr” is another. As I work with Bret and Kevin on the followup to Loving Every Other Minute of It, I so far have only one goofy song. What’s up with that? Time for another.

With a chorus like the one above, it seemed necessary to find similarly joke-y verses, and the characters in the documentary provided plenty of fodder:

Say hello to Ethel. She’ll take you by the throat.
Fill you with some crazy dogma and teach you how to vote.
But you don’t vote. You’re a kid. You can never start too soon.
If they had their way in Jesus Camp they’d start you in the womb.

I kept going, kept adding verses, and eventually wound up with four — which I think was a record for me at the time. It was an easy melody to write to, and I stuck to the trusty “Punk Rock Girl” approach to keep the words coming. The last verse sums up my feelings on the subject:

Well, this song should be over, but it keeps going on
For parents who need anger class, and kids who are their pawns.
So do me one last favor before I end this song.
Don’t send your kids to Jesus Camp ’cause they get Jesus wrong.

And in the documentary, they do.

If you’d like to support my future music ventures, pick up “Jesus Camp” and nine others at bandcamp as a digital download or at my website as a CD or on limited-edition vinyl.

Laying down the law,

Art

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Art Edwards is a co-founder of the Refreshments. His latest solo album, Loving Every Other Minute of It, came out in November 2020.

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