Teenager Mary Cummings, who has “been born again her whole life,” is about to enter her senior year at American Eagle Christian High School. She and her two best friends, Hilary Faye and Veronica, have formed a girl group called the Christian Jewels. Everything seems perfect—until Mary’s “perfect Christian boyfriend” Dean Withers tells her, as they’re swimming underwater, that he thinks he’s gay.
In her shock, Mary hits her head in the pool and has a vision in which Jesus tells her that she must do everything she can to help Dean. Hoping for a sign, Mary goes to a shooting range with Hilary Faye, who has a “spiritual solution for everything” and tells Mary (not knowing about the situation with Dean) that if all else fails, Jesus could still restore their “spiritual and emotional virginity.” Believing that Jesus will restore her purity, Mary sacrifices her virginity to have sex with Dean in an attempt to restore his heterosexuality. – Wikipedia
It’s maybe my seventh or eighth time watching it. I love it more each time. Religious satire is profoundly funny to me as an ex-Christian. Paul is another favourite of mine.
If you’ve never been immersed in religion, you’re laughing because of the movie’s absurdity. As a former Christian, I’m laughing because it’s absurdity I wrapped my heart in. Hilarious and really fucking sad.
We had just finished the scene where Mary gets confirmation of her pregnancy after a one-time sexual encounter she believed was ordained by Jesus. It’s my favourite scene. She’s standing at the bottom of a towering cross. Emptied of her purpose, she looks up and says, “Shit. Fuck. Goddamn.”
And that’s when the crying started.
We went on to watch Mary take a hard look at her faith from the other side of the cross. We felt everything she felt as she attuned to the intolerance, shame and hate that comes with marrying oneself to a system of belief. We hurt with her as she stood up for herself with fresh courage and became isolated.
I’m not sure what, exactly, rattled free my crusty old hurt. Steve was sitting behind me, laughing at the parts I was laughing at, and suddenly I was choking back tears that turned into silent sobs that made their way into loud, full-body wails.
“The movie is making me really sad,” I said, somewhere between the silent sobs and the full-body wails.
Steve scootched over to comfort me.
“I believed, Steve. I believed with my whole person that god existed and cared and loved me. We gave our whole lives to something that is a big joke. I feel so duped. And I cried out just like Mary’s crying out. I begged for answers and believed they would come and they didn’t.
And we lost so many friends and that’s a really big deal. It’s such a big deal. They were our family. It hurts. I miss feeling like I belong to something.” I unburied my head and looked up at him. “Do you feel like this? Ever? Do you feel sad, too? Do you wonder if leaving was a mistake? Do you worry we really are lost like they believe?”
“Yes, I feel sad. No, I don’t wonder if leaving was a mistake. And I couldn’t understand anything you said after the first sentence, so I’m sorry.”
And suddenly I was laughing snot bubbles.
“Are you watching the movie thinking it’s crazy, Shan?”
“Oh absolutely. Certifiably nuts.”
“Then we’re good. We’re not crazy for leaving. But that doesn’t make it any less hard.”
“Okay. I probably just need to hear that sometimes. It’s so messy in my head. I don’t think anyone understands or realizes how messy.”
It’s extremely messy.
There’s only one reason Christian girls comes down to the Planned Parenthood.
She’s planting a pipe bomb?
Okay, two reasons.