God & Country (2024)


God & Country Review

The religious language in this last sentence is not unintentional. Produced by Rob Reiner and directed by Dan Partland (who also made a documentary about former President Trump diagnosing him with narcissistic personality disorder and declaring him mentally unfit for office), “God & Country” examines the ascent of Christian Nationalist beliefs in America (led by evangelical Christians but also encompassing other denominations, including politically conservative Catholics) and the impact on legislation and electoral politics of a national network of churches that are sympathetic to those views and ideally situated to get out the vote. The film is itself evangelical (with a small “e”) in sensibility: The end times are nigh, and we do so at our peril cover our eyes and ears.

As one expert notes, an American minority can take over local, regional or national government because U.S. citizens have a well-earned reputation for not voting when it counts. That’s the menace; you can see it at work in the banning of books at local libraries as a response to people who attend school board meetings who not only have zero children in the district but are often from out of state. According to the film, America’s reactionary wing is louder than it is numerous; it actually represents about a third of registered voters (far fewer than the mythical “half” cited by showbiz types who complain that such-and-such entertainer’s liberal political views are alienating to “half the country”). But these people vote more regularly, percentage-wise, than left-leaning voters under 30, who don’t turn out on Election Day in numbers significant enough for the establishment to care what they think although they do talk quite a bit online.

It becomes more of a history lesson the best parts of the film when it counters false talking points about this being “a Christian nation” by pointing out that: our government was not founded upon The Ten Commandments, George Washington didn’t pray in the snow at Valley Forge, prayer was instituted in schools during 1950s anticommunist panic, the Bible says nothing about abortion, “In God We Trust” wasn’t added to currency until 1864 and evangelical Christianity rose as a modern political force largely as a backlash against government-mandated desegregation of schools during the ’60s and ’70s.

The Other Side, sort of, works in films like this but just opposite. The cuts are so fast and quick it’s breathtaking. Maybe I’m just missing the kind of documentaries that would’ve taken a camera into one of these churches for a few minutes and let the parishioners and clergy talk to each other and us about themselves, their culture, their beliefs, where they came from along with the threat to democracy they represent. Or maybe I just want something more in line with what was once the mid-twentieth-century American documentary dominant mode mostly concerned with documenting; therefore likely to have wondrous or mysterious bits scattered throughout splashes of color making black-and-white readings impossible.

There are different media that could be used differently in this movie’s project. I agree with its politics almost entirely, but still would have rather watched some queasy right-wing action movie by someone like Mel Gibson or S. Craig Zahler politically / morally disgusting but slippery or a social-realist drama by someone like Spike Lee or Ken Loach (whose values align with my own) because then at least there’d be some art involved.

Watch God & Country For Free On Gomovies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top