A man responsible for intellectually retarding hundreds of thousands — if not tens of millions — of people from all around the world is getting ready to die. Unfortunately he’s not checking out fast enough and is busily legacizing himself in the form of a “museum” and “library” that was designed by an amusement-park firm.
Billy Graham, 88, suffers from fluid on the brain, prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and is largely confined to his home in Montreat.
Interesting how urgently he clings to life. Why would he be so afraid to die if he really believed that he’d be going to “meet Jesus” or such similar twaddle? But the MSNBC article isn’t about Graham’s ailments so much as it is about the
amusement park museum that money god built.
The 40,000-square-foot complex was built on the grounds of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and among its designers was the ITEC Entertainment Co., of Orlando, Fla., which has done work for Disney and other theme parks.
In a related story, Universal Orlando is getting ready to open a Harry Potter-themed amusement park. It should be large and spectacular, and every bit as much rooted in fact, history and reality as, say, a Biblically-themed attraction. A crucial difference, of course, is that there’s much more history of Harry than there ever was of Jesus Christ, and he’s certainly more appealing to kids than the doe-eyed sheep-fondler pimped by many Christian denominations.
But I have digressed.
Graham’s spectacle beautifully highlights the bizarre mixture of the numinous and the debased that lies at the center of all American Christian fundamentalism. While some religions manage to maintain a certain level of humility and others seem to retain dignity or even majesty, Graham’s first major revival was held in a large canvas tent — the 1949 equivalent of a prefab metal building. You simply can’t get more White Trash than that.
Now the White Trash has money, which means that instead of cheap, gaudy plastic pink flamingoes on the lawn, they have expensive, gaudy neon pink flamingoes. Or, better still, an animatronic talking cow.
To the right [in the lobby] is a cow shed, where a display that has drawn the most curiosity stands. An animatronic black-and-white cow named Bessie says in a southern drawl that Graham has been “preaching the pure milk of God’s word for 60 years.”
I’m sure that Bessie is correct about Graham having produced a steady stream of bovine product, but I’m equally certain milk is not the substance he’s been spewing for six decades.
I suppose it could have been less classy — for instance, there’s no animatronic exhibit of Jesus Christ being served breakfast-in-tomb on Sunday morning by the “Reverend”.
Of course, the exhibits may not be finished yet.
Other displays are more real-world in their orientation.
A replica of the Berlin Wall is meant to underscore how remarkable it was that Graham won permission from communist governments to evangelize behind the Iron Curtain.
I have a shrewd idea why he was “allowed” to tour communist lands: It was so the parties in power could expose their citizenry to the insane, asinine stupidity that came from his mouth, to reinforce the caricature of the US as being a decadent land of Bible-worshipping, backwards intellectual ninnies. In other words, Graham was to communism what Castro has been to capitalism: A boogeyman.
Graham, lamentably, has already prepared the world for his death by bequeathing to us one of his begotten sons, Frank Graham, who is already wrapping himself up to fill Daddy’s clodhoppers. Lamenting in the MSNBC piece about the perils of “creeping liberalism”, he had this to say:
Every generation, liberalism comes into the church. Men and women take their eyes off the cross,” he said. “My father didn’t offer multiple roads to God. He offered one road.”*
Ah, fundamentalism: Where the goal is to get yourself cross-eyed.
One of the major aspects of being a fundamentalist twat is the monoculture. Ecumenicalism is the agent of Satan; diversity is not tolerated. Falwell remained a famously outspoken bigot until even he was forced to recognize, in the 1970s, that it just wasn’t cool any more to be a segregationist.
Of course, there are many different types of monoculturalist fundamentalism; witness that Falwell’s funeral was picketed by Fred Phelps of “God Hates Fags” fame. The internecine assasinations indulged in by right-wing godtards is quite a spectacle — until, of course, one of them makes it into the White House, and then it’s suddenly not so funny any more.
Rest in peace — and may it be very, very soon, Billy.
* And now, alas, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell is stuck in my head.
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