Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
The Fyre Fest of Christian Films | with Maggie Mae Fish

The Fyre Fest of Christian Films | with Maggie Mae Fish

Last time, I talked about Fire Proof, starring
Kirk Cameron. “Okay Lord, no more addictions.” –which
is a 2008 movie that teaches its audience how to hide their money-driven, materialistic
motives behind the excuse of “I’ve got to save this terrible marriage!” I’m In Love With a Church Girl, released
in 2013, starring Fyre Fest poster boy Ja Rule… “The music was horrible, the service was
gloomy.” –doesn’t even bother hiding its motives. It’s all about money, how great money is,
and how you can use Evangelical Christianity to deflect attention away from your crimes,
so that you get to keep all the money you made from doing crimes, all with the cooperation
of law enforcement. Really family friendly stuff. Before we begin, I want to give a quick shoutout
to my friend Zora Bikangaga for recommending this gem. The plot is fairly simple. Miles is a wealthy career criminal, and the
cops are closing in on him. “This is good, right? Yeah, reall good.” He meets Vanessa, an Evangelical Christian
girl played by former Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon, “I don’t wanna be like Cinderella.”
–and she takes him to church. Not the Hozier kind. In the end, all of Miles’s criminal associates
go to prison, but he escapes prosecution because he converts to Evangelical Christianity. But most importantly, he gets to keep his
massive fortune that he earned from his former criminal lifestyle. “Steaks on me, baby!” Like I mentioned with Fire Proof, I think
there’s a temptation to think, “Oh, this movie is just incompetently written and produced”
But just like Fire Proof, this is a parable. And it’s trying to teach it’s audience
specific morals and life lessons. That lesson just happens to be: rich evangelicals
should be immune from prosecution, and literally everyone else, including the cops, should
conspire with rich Evanglicals to keep them from being prosecuted. From the start, the character Miles is aware
that what he’s doing is eventually going to get him in trouble. The film opens with a credit sequence, over
a montage of prison footage, accompanied by voiceover about how Miles has gone through
really rough times. “Maybe that’s why I had to go through
all of this. Maybe that’s why things had to happen the
way they did. Someone once told me that God sometimes needs
to use extreme measures to deal with extreme circumstances. Guess I was one of those extreme circumstances. The movie is even based on the true story
of Galley Molina, who was indicted for drug trafficking in 1996. Molina wrote the screenplay while in prison,
inspired by his own experiences, and he appears in a cameo as a rich pastor who drives a Ferrari. “Last time I read the bible it said nothing
about style being a sin.” So, even though it foreshadows that Miles
should go to prison. Even though Molina went to prison in real
life, Miles does not, in fact, go to prison. All of his associates do, but he escapes punishment
and gets to keep his precious piles of money. “Can’t tell you how much I miss y’all. Can’t imainge how hard it is in there.” While the movie may be called “I’m in
love with a church girl,” it has very little to do with love, or church, or the titular
girl. Instead, from the very first dialogue scene,
it is… again… about money. Talking about money. “Let’s get this money.” “I’m in it to win it.” Showing us piles of money. “There’s always large amounts of cash
around. You know that! You see it! Look!” Even the cops talks in terms of money. Whether it’s complaining about how expensive
a criminal case is becoming. “These are the time and expense sheets for
the Montego case. And you guys spent way more time and money
than I ever authorized.” Or this weird back and forth where the cops
just marvel at how rich Miles is. “This guy lives in a house that’s worth
more than all of our houses put together… One of his dozen cars is worth more than all
of our cars combined…He wears what we make in a year on his wrist.” There’s even an entire scene at Vanessa’s
job, where she sells products covered in Christian branding. “I love the spot. What kind of store is this?” “Thank you we are a faith based product
store.” “Guess there’s a pretty big market for
this church stuff, huh.” “That’s right” Miles immediately mentions
the “pretty big market” for these products. Immediately makes it about money. Commodify your faith! It’s less like a scene from a movie, and
more like a promotional video encouraging you to open up your own faith based product
franchise. “We have t shirts and books and CDs that
are christ-like themed.” But, more specifically than just “money,”
the movie is concerned with money that’s been made from doin crimes, and it shows how
important it is to create a narrative of plausible deniability in the eyes of the law. Miles warns his associates: “Yall really
need to tighten up yall money game stop playin around, start thinking about your future.” He also mentions that he’s really careful
and discreet with his criminal behavior: “I spend half my time just looking at all the
angles, covering all my tracks. So I want got no problems with the IRS or
nobody else.” Odd that Ja Rule wasn’t this cautious when
he got involved with the Fyre Festival. “The music was horrible, the service was
gloomy.” But that’s beside the point. Miles never learns any moral lessons in the
movie. He doesn’t confront the fact that his past
criminal actions were wrong. He never faces any legal or material consequences
for his actions. He’s never encouraged or expected to make
amends for his crimes. No one ever suggests that he should pay back
the huge piles of money he earned through theft or drug trafficking or whatever. And I want to add a quick note here. I am not arguing in favor of the criminal
justice system, which is horribly flawed, and discriminates based on race, class, gender,
and pretty much any other way you can imagine. Just locking people up isn’t the answer. The problem with these movies is that htey
only reinforce our already broken criminal justice system. Making it more unfair for the average person,
while making it even easier for rich Christian buttholes to cheat. The closest thing Miles experiences to any
kind of punishment, is when his mother suddenly dies, and then when his girlfriend Vanessa
gets in a car crash off screen, “Vanessa’s been in a car accident.” So he’s afraid she’ll die. These events are portrayed as really painful…
for Miles. “God you gotta know this is rough on me.” Notice how all of the physical suffering actually
happens to women, and this is pretty typical for Evangelical Christian movies. “Listen we spend half our days waiting on
the Lord and the other half waiting on our wives. Don’t tell her I said that.” I literally hate my wife and all women on
earth! Female characters in these movies aren’t
really given agency and they’re never given any motivation beyond “it’s your job to
help reform the male lead,” or “it’s your job to carry his seed.” This movie gives us an idea of what Molina
sees as a just and fair system. Where the person at the top–whether it’s
a pastor, or a gang leader, or president of the united states of america–should never
be questioned or suspected of any wrongdoing as long as they’re outwardly christian. Instead, everyone beneath them suffers for
the sake of the crown. “As for me, what can I say, I guess god
has a sense of humor, right?” “Gee boss, life outside prison sounds swell!” Miles does the crime, and everyone around
him does the time. “PS you guys are gonna be uncles soon, so
straighten up. I dont want my kid around no knuckle heads,
ya dig?” Ja Rule does the Fyre Fest crime, and the
people of the Bahamas do the time. “The music was horrible. The service was gloomy.” But I’m In Love With a Church Girl isn’t
just a parable for criminals, about how to hide their crimes behind a veil of Evangelical
Christianity. It’s also a parable for law enforcement
officers, to teach them to look the other way if a criminal happens to be a Christian. And the movie is not subtle about that lesson. Okay… it’s time to discuss Stephen Baldwin,
which is a phrase I know no one wants to hear, but trust me, we’ll get through this together. Stephen Baldwin plays a DEA officer who starts
off the movie hell bent on catching Miles. “This guy is the biggest drug trafficker
in all of Northern California, which is why we want to catch this guy.” Even as his chief criticizes his lack of progress. “You’re working around the clock, now
around the clock costs this office a lot of money.” “So what now, we’re gonna put a price
tag on justice?” “I want a full progress and status report
on my desk by the morning. Then ill decide whether or not to shut it
down.” Stephen, wake up stephen! You can take a nap later! Baldwin himself emphasizes how money-obsessed
Miles is. “This entire crew is considered armed and
dangerous. And they do not like anyone coming between
them and their money.” But after Miles’s mother dies, Baldwin and
knockoff Jason Schwartzman here, stake out the funeral, and Baldwin suddenly defends
Miles, making excuses for him, saying that “I just don’t see the point in keeping an
eye on him while he’s here.” So what changed? Well, by this point, Miles has started going
to church. He’s started going through the motions of
being a Christian. Jason Schwartzman brings up the argument that
Miles may just be faking it “You dont’ get where a guy like that is and just flip
it off. This guy’s smarter than the average crook. This could all be a smoke screen.” and Baldwin’s
retort is… to come out as a Christian”You believe in God, Brian?” “You go to church?” “Yes sir, every week, wife and kids, bible
study, whole nine yards.” That’s it. That’s his entire justification for giving
up on the investigation. I’m a Christian, so I now give the known
criminal–whom I’ve been hunting for years–the benefit of the doubt. Later, in this interrogation scene, where
the IRS has concrete evidence against Miles, Baldwin is there to play devil’s advocate. “Make me believe you, Miles. I really want to believe you;”) And it’s
Baldwin who now, for no clear reason, pronounces Miles’s innocence “I think he’s clean
chief” and specifically ties that innocence to his church attendance “Might be that
choir boy after all. We should probably just let him go.” I wish I could say that I’m editing this
scene Project Veritas-style, to mislead you and make connections that aren’t really
there. But no, I promise, it’s that blatant. The message to cops is: if a suspect displays
the most basic outward appearance of being a Christian, you should shut down your entire
investigation and let him get away with it. Miles’s interrogation is brief and low-tension. “If yall gonna charge and arrest me with
something, I suggest yall do it so i can go on with my day.” He provides no real defense, no justification
for any of the suspicious transactions he’s been involved in, nothing. After timid questioning, the cops release
Miles. And this affiliation between former criminals-turned-Christian
and police isn’t fictional. A retired San Jose police sergeant works security
for Molina in real life, and like so many other Christian Evangelical films, “I’m
in love with a church girl” received free support from local authorities. The IRS in Oakland lent the production official
jackets, and the San Jose police department lent them patrol cars. Giving these Evangelical movies free civic
and federal support is pretty unethical and shows a blatant disregard for the separation
between church and state. But the fact that the message of “I’m
in love with a church girl” is literally “Cops should let Christians get away with
crimes” makes this example extra gross. The sad thing is, examples of Christian Evangelicals
engaging in criminal behavior–especially money laundering and embezzlement–is not
just an exception. It’s actually a pretty common occurrence. This connection is even alluded to in “I’m
in love with a church girl,” in a scene where Ja Rule dumps a wad of cash into the
collection plate, and Vanessa pokes fun at him. “How much are you giving?” “That much. Not enough?” “Babe, that’s plenty. Let me explain this whole offering thing later.” This scene is pretty vague and weird, but
what I want to point out is how she mocks him for being *too* charitable. As if giving is bad. Because in this Evangelical world, it’s
not about giving money, it’s about making money and taking money. This movie sneers at the concept of actual
charity. Moments before that, when Miles and Vanessa
enter the church, they’re greeted by an usher, and Miles asks if he should tip. “Am I supposed to tip this guy? “He’s a greeter. It’s his way of serving the Lord.” So within this scene, we’re taught that
there are those who are expected to give their labor and money willingly, like the dopey
usher guy. And there are the chosen few, like Vanessa,
Miles, and the Pastor, who are not expected to give, but rather, they’re free to take
whatever they want without consequence. If you saw my video about Christian makeup
YouTuber Jaclyn Hill, you’re already at least a bit familiar with the way that religious
non-profits are able to hide money from public scrutiny, and facilitate money laundering. David B Barrett, who collected data on churches,
“noticed a significant increase in embezzlement fraud during the 1980’s.” Barrett’s colleague Todd M Johnson, from
the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, conducted a study called “Status of Global
Mission 2013” and found: “[T]here is a line item for ‘Ecclesiastical Crime,’
which is projected to be $37 billion worldwide, or nearly 6% of the total $594 billion given
to churches… In contrast, the total spent on mission work
to introduce Christianity to more people throughout the world is $32 billion.” So these Evangelicals manage to stole more
money than they spent… ON EVANGELIZING. Johnson explains the ease with which religious
nonprofits can get away with fraud: “[A]s much as 95% of fraud within churches goes
undetected or unreported.” This is compared to corporate fraud, where
66% of fraud goes unreported. Johnson elaborates: “[P]art of it is a reluctance
to see the bad side of a nice pastor, a secretary or a board member of the church.” And Johnson relates a quote from one victim
of embezzlement, who defended the perpetrator by saying: “I know he stole my money but
I still think he’s a wonderful person.” And just a reminder: churches, church-affiliated
groups, or religious groups of any kind are exempt from reporting any kind of financial
information to the IRS. That means they can take in as much money
as they want, from whatever sources they want, and there’s no paper trail. So if you are, say, a money grubbing drug
dealer with a criminal past, then the best place to launder your money is: through a
church. And any law enforcement officer would know
this. Which is why, in the world of I’m In Love
With A Church Girl, the cops turn a blind eye to Christian crime. It’s identity politics in its most blatant
form. “I am a Christian, therefore I cannot be
guilty. In fact, I am a Christian, therefore I am
the hero.” And that melding of church and state is exactly
what politicians like Mike Pence are trying to achieve in real life. For example, here’s a list of cases the
Trump Department of Justice has supported: “Christian students’ efforts to force Maine
to pay tuition for attendance at a private religious school; a Christian student who
complained that a Georgia college was too restrictive on where he could evangelize on
college property; and a Christian student group challenging the University of Iowa’s
discipline for alleged discrimination against a gay student.” This list runs the whole gamut of Christian
legal abuses, from using taxpayer dollars to further enrich already wealthy Christian
institutions; to forcing people on public property to listen to Christian evangelizing;
to making it okay for Christians to discriminate against LGBT people because “it’s my faith.” And of course, if you were thinking the Trump
DOJ would protect all religions as aggressively as it protects Christianity, I’d expect
to find you behind a desk with a sign that says “DEBATE ME!” According to USA Today: “While the Trump
Justice Department has bent over backwards to protect the “religious liberty” of
countless Christian organizations, its efforts have been less charitable to non-Christians. When a Native American tribe raised religious
objections to a South Dakota pipeline that would infringe on sacred lands, DOJ offered
no support.” I’m shocked! OH, AND, I know it seems like it’s been
six thousand years since 2015, but anyone else remember this? “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total
and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives
can figure out what is going on.” Yes, when conservatives and Evangelicals talk
about “religious freedom” what they mean is “Christians should have the freedom to
take away other people’s freedoms.” It’s my faith! After all we’ve talked about with “I’m
in love with a church girl,” you might be asking yourself: if this is a “Christian”
film, how can these Christian filmmakers take the teachings of Christ, who was anti-materialist,
anti-authority, and anti-cop, and twist things so far around, they’re able to use those
same teachings to justify materialism, authoritarianism, and crooked cops? It’s pretty standard rhetoric from these
prosperity gospel folks. For example, a reporter from Inside Edition
confronted Prosperity Gospel preacher Kenneth Copeland about the fact that he’s been criticized
for owning private jets which seems to contradict Jesus’s teachings. When she asked him about Jesus saying “It’s
more difficult for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to pass through
the eye of a needle,” he came back at her with this: “But he said All things are possible
with God.” Apparently, God is so powerful, that God can
even contradict God’s own message. Every passage in the Bible, according to this
way of thinking, means both what it says, and also the opposite of what it says, depending
on what serves his interests in the moment. There must be some way of getting to the heart
of what Jesus actually meant. So let’s dive into some history! In his book, Jesus of Nazareth, Paul Verhoeven–yes,
director of Robocop, Starship Troopers, and most importantly, SHOWGIRLS?? Yes. That Paul Verhoeven. In his book Jesus of Nazareth, which is a
look at the historical Jesus, Verhoeven describes how society was organized in Jesus’s time:
“In Judea, the province in which Jerusalem is located, the law was laid down by a high
court known as the Sanhedrin, which fell under the jurisdiction of the Roman prefect. There was no distinction between religion
and politics in Jewish thought, so the Sanhedrin functioned simultaneously as a parliament,
a theological arbiter, and a court of justice… The day-to-day control of the Jewish nation
thus lay in the hands of a priestly aristocracy. Since the office of the high priest had remained
within the same three families for generations, power was evidently concentrated in the hands
of an elite.” Three families ruling politics for my entire
life? I wonder what that woudl look… like. So when Jesus says things like “blessed
are the poor,” or when he smashes up the money-changers’ tables at the temple, “MY
TEMPLE SHOULD BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER!” These are all very specific messages–or even
threats–to the corrupt rich men who held power in that society. And one last quick note, as much credit as
we give Jesus as a reformer, he was one of many many radical Jewish prophets in his time. Jesus lived in a specific historical context,
where religion and politics were one and the same. And he was like, “Hey, what you rich guys
in power are doing, is bad!” That is how Christianity started: as a social
justice movement. Then, over the next thousand and some odd
years, the Catholic Church rose to power in Europe, and created a society where religion
and politics were one and the same. So along came Martin Luther, with his 95 theses,
like “Hey, what you rich guys in power are doing, is bad!” That’s how the Protestant Reformation started:
as a social justice movement. And now, some Evangelical Protestants are
actively trying to create a society where religion and politics are one and the same. Instead of breaking bread and saying “This
is my body, eat it in remembrance of me,” Jesus would probably say, “In remembrance
of me, eat the rich.” If a company is running their business while
committing crimes, I want them to be prosecuted. And if a church is running their business
while committing crimes, I have faith that Jesus would want them to be prosecuted. This was executive produced by God? I guess I’m wrong. Well f— me I guess. Next time, I’ll tackle an unfiltered Kirk
Cameron movie. “I love the music, I love the carols and
the hymns. I love the kids.” Saving Christmas produced by Liberty University,
college by day, self-dealing real estate scheme by night. Thanks for watching! Big thanks to all my patrons, who help make
it possible for me to make these videos. ESPECIALLY GOD!!! WE’RE BUSINESS PARTNERS!!!! Head over to patreon dot com slash maggie
mae fish if you want to support. And check out Zora on his podcast Dopetown
3000. Plus you can see him in The Wedding year,
available on Amazon and iTunes. Like, subscribe, hit the bell thingy and until
next time, save martha.

100 comments on “The Fyre Fest of Christian Films | with Maggie Mae Fish

  1. "In rememberence of me, eat the rich."
    That right there is just confirmation that I did the right thing by subbing to this channel. Perfection.

  2. Funny how he destroys the screen and not the computer. Guess he’s just going to go get a new screen and flap later.

  3. All this is the point. The evangelical position is you can literally be hitler and you're still forgiven the moment you GIVE YASELF UNTO JESUS

  4. The "Greed is good" mantra have realy take effect in the US. That scumbag Ayn Rand realy messed up the country with her twisted excuse for philosophy. And hiding it behind a religion? That is typical cult behavior.

  5. I have been waiting for someone to talk about this film and confirm that it wasn't just a fever dream I had in which my auntie makes me watch this incredibly ridiculous movie! Thank you!

  6. Oh, it's not just movies, these freaks are serious.–UhyNqGdZEyMzEaPBdLSGA/

  7. What the FUCK is Tom Sizemore doing in a fucking "Christian" "Movie"?
    I understand why the Chinese knockoff of Alec Baldwin he believes in fairy tales.

  8. I like how when he's giving the money into the collection, it's like the movies saying "Hey guys Ja is realllllyyyy generous, so whatever happens afterwards with how he spends it is totally ok because deep down he'd give it all away." There's an interesting sort of egotism that connects all these awful Christian movies.

  9. I always admire your in-depth analysis, snarky sarcasm and flawless editing combined with cited references and real life examples. I love you when your a weapon pointed at those I criticize also, like awful Christian movies and general religious hypocrisy itself. But less so when you point that hot fire at movies I cherish. I admit, I was defensive over your earlier critique of Fight Club and gave you unfair criticism over it (which in calm retrospect was a fair analysis on your part and I shouldn't took it so personal), and I'm sorry. I loved your earlier Mad work and am always impressed with the level of detail you put into each video. Just… Please stay away from the Matrix.. 😛

  10. The government loans material to filmmakers all the time. It would be a first amendment issue if they decided to discriminate between films/producers on the basis of religion.

  11. interesting how Ben Shapiro recently freaked out because one the democratic candidates talked about removing churches' tax exempt status. Yeah… I think conservatives know where there bread is buttered. We really should look into that.

  12. once in a while the youtube algorithm shows me the best youtube has to offer instead of the absolute worst, this was one of those times. subscribed

  13. "While the movie is called 'I'm in Love with a Church Girl', it has very little to do with love, or church, or the titular girl." 😂😂😂

  14. its the "prosperity gospel" Its what some evangelical groups teach. The makers of this are obviously a part of it. What shocks me is Martin Kove /Masen being in this.. weird.

  15. "The Righteous Gemstones" sans irony!

    It's cool that HBO has so much counter-cultural programming, but what's THEIR game? It's not like they're a mom and pop international pay per view streaming service…

  16. I'm not sure where you're coming from with this whole "Christians love serving the Lord" crap. I know a lot of Christians, and not a single one cares to serve me. Believe me, I've done my research.

  17. me: nothing good to do on sunday
    youtube: we recommend you watch this chick who looks like taylor swift cosplaying as the mom from malcom in the middle analysing shitty christian movies
    me: noice!

  18. There doesn't actually seem to be a big market for this church stuff. All of the religious chotchke stores in my area are closed down now.

  19. In the New Testament Jesus said that it would be easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. Jesus also told a man what he must do to follow him; simple but tough to do because he had a lot of material wealth to give up .

  20. The message of this movie you’re showing sounds so absurdly transparent and gross I have no choice but to see this whole-ass actual movie myself to believe it. So congrats; I’m going to give the people who made this movie $3.99 and you are to blame.

    …if there weren’t multiple rips of this film on youtube, I’m not giving any of these idiots any of my money.

  21. When you think about it the movie paints a pretty accurate view of the ideology that many evangelicals follow in spite of what they say.

  22. omg Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas is my favorite Christmas move (ever since "A Christmas Story" became a normie thing).

  23. I literally become furious with rage when I think about how churches don't pay taxes. Anyone who thinks there's a "war on Christianity" needs a swift boot in the ass.

  24. Since no one else is doing this, I guess it falls to me:

    “I want a church girl who go to Church, AND READ HER BIBLE!”

  25. Since no one else is doing this, I guess it falls to me:

    “I want a church girl who go to Church, AND READ HER BIBLE!”

  26. no where in the bible does it say style is a sin….exept like every couple pages where it warns against vanity

  27. What you never want to hear your significant other say… "We need to talk."

    What you never want to hear ANYONE say… "We need to talk about Stephen Baldwin."

  28. Going into this video without knowing anything about the movie I have to say: That short description at the start actually sounded like the plot of a really sweet crime drama.

  29. Maggie has a VHS in the background of Critters 2. <3

    Edit Also just noticed Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. And they say perfect women don't exist. LOL

  30. in this case, there's also a weird white savior narrative at play, even though the writer of this movie is himself a person of color, since this movie was clearly made for smug white audiences. aren't white evangelicals so great for leading those ~drug dealers~ (read: poc) on a path toward redemption? in real life, the people who watch these kinds of movies couldn't give a fuck about the issues facing people like ja rule's character. ugh.

  31. Joining the cult is more important than being a decent person, taking personal responsibility or any imaginable form of morality.

  32. Big fan, long time viewer, first time commenter, I’ll tweet at you too: please do a video about men in relationships trying to control their partners sexuality and appearance ((@Kanye West RN))

  33. I remember watching a stephen baldwin movie that was just as bad as this one, it was called "The Genius Club". I didn't know it was a Christian themed movie before I watched it. I'd love to see a review of that one.

  34. The Bible: It's harder for a rich man to enter Heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
    This movie: lol nah

  35. 6:59 he hates all the women in the world huh so he must be gay, a gay priest yeah that makes sense it's believable

  36. As a former churchie, I can personally attest to to the sheer amount of FUCKING RAGE the big cheezy crust feels towards those lying, backstabbing, heartless COWARDLY MOTHERFUCKERS.

  37. So I do have a serious question if anyone feels like explaining it to me. This is the second time that I've heard Maggie reference Jesus being anti-materialism and anti-authority. I come from a religious background and thus read the Bible multiple times in my youth (Although no longer subscribe to it), so I know exactly what she means with the anti-materialism part, but I don't remember as much anti-authority in his teaching. Indeed, from what I remember he seemed relatively passive and non-confrontational toward the Roman Empire specifically ("Render unto Caesar" – yadda yadda) and power structures in general. So I'm just genuinely curious about where the perception – real or otherwise – that he was anti-authority came from.

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