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.

No, it’s not Ken Ham and his ridicu­lous cre­ation “museum” — it’s 88-​​year-​​old Billy Graham, a man who’s done his utmost to spread god­dish delu­sions for six decades.

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.

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* And now, alas, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell is stuck in my head.

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