Tuesday, July 19, 2005

See The Singing Christ Nailed To The Cross, Plus Free Balloons For The Kids!

Only in America could we have a national debate about burning the flag and desecrating one of our country's sacred secular symbols, while at the same time declaring that a Bible themed fun park is really a church and shouldn't be taxed.

Desecrate our most cherished national symbol? You're in deep do do mister. Have a musical version of the crucifixion of Christ? that's American ingenuity!

OK in all fairness we have to say the musical crucifixion is pretty well done. The period costumes reduce the movement of the chorus dancers a little, but Pilate has a wonderful voice.

"It is our sincere hope that you will see God and his word exalted, that you will be encouraged in your search for unique T shirts and the ultimate meaning of life," the Holy Land experience says on its web site. "And make sure to visit our gift shop where we're having a special on Peter and Paul bobble heads."

Despite its emphasis on entertainment, the Holy Land Experience argued that it should be classed along with churches and museums and be exempt from property taxes. "We got no roller coasters, or bumper cars," said the Reverend Clyde T. Dickers, park manager. "OK there is the Red Sea water slide, but that's something we did just to attract the kids."

After a long legal battle, Judge Cynthia MacKinnon agreed. In her ruling, the judge said that it had not been proved that the Holy Land Experience was using its profits for anything other than "improvements to Reverend Dickers' 'Christ On The Slopes' conference center in Aspen."

State Property Appraiser Bill Donegan is deciding whether to appeal the judge's decision, saying that the park is different to other churches. "None of those that I know charge $30 admission," he observed. "It's a business."

"We're not a business," Reverend Dickers said. "Commercializing religion would be a sin. And speaking of sin, it would be one not to take advantage of our family all day ticket."

The Holy Land Experience is partially funded by Zion's Hope Inc., a not-for-profit religious organization that cites its goal as converting Jews to Christianity. "Zion's Hope seeks to proclaim to the Jewish people their need for personal salvation through Jesus," the group's web site said.

"And if we can separate those tightwad hebes from a few of their greenbacks in the process, more for the glory of Jesus Christ," said Delbert Shaw, park entertainment coordinator.

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