Friday, July 15, 2005

Holy, Wholly, Silly

Amy and I have decided how to avoid paying taxes--we're going to turn our home into The Holy Land Experience Western Campus. For in case you missed it, here's some news from this week in the world of Christotainment according to the BBC, since the U.S. media would hate to point out any religious weirdness and get accused of being godless liberals:

The Holy Land Experience, a bible-based theme park that is more about Moses than Mickey Mouse, has won its four-year fight to avoid paying taxes.

Set up in 1991, the $16m park tries to take visitors 3,000 years [sic--it seems that the BBC can't do math] back in time, creating an authentic Holy Land full of sand, centurions and the Bible's biggest names.


Despite its emphasis on entertainment, the Holy Land Experience has argued that it should be classed along with churches and museums and be exempt from property taxes.

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 "evangelising and worshipping".

The Holy Land Experience was facing a demand for unpaid property taxes dating from 2001 that almost totalled $1m, a sum its lawyers argued would have forced the park to close down.

OK, we live in California, so just saving our property taxes isn't that big a deal, thanks to Prop 13 (sorry schools, and one more reason for us not to have children). And you have to wonder if this ruling is simply an attempt by Judge MacKinnon to get into the empty Supreme Court seat sweepstake.

In the meantime, there's still the possibility of an appeal (but can you appeal to a higher power in a case involving the Holy Land?):

Orange County 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."

It is a business, mister, the business of a little thrill ride they like to call salvation that runs on the capital of your mortal soul.

Sorry, I think I was speaking in tongues for a minute there, but the snark has returned unto me, and it sayeth, You'd think they could just run a big bingo hall at the park and cover their expenses, but I guess they're Christian and not Catholic.

Be sure to check out The Holy Land Experience website, if you get a chance (and if you can't make room for the Lord, that's your loss--more room for the rest of us in heaven, which is probably hewn out of plastic rock and located in Orlando, Florida). After all, as the site's endless opening slide show proclaims, "It's been 2000 years since the world has experienced anything like this," as long as you ignore every Biblical movie, every half-assed passion play with or without a reall ass in the production, and Jesus Christ Superstar and Life of Brian, both hilarious in their own ways. Still, you have to admire any place that puts on an All Singing! All Dancing! All Crucifying! Via Dolorosa Passion. Or has the chutzpah to let the kids scale the Wailing Wall. Or thinks seeing Qaboo the Camel up-close is a selling point. Or boasts about a model of Jersualem AD 66 as "in the time of Christ" (uh, the non-crucified, AARP card-carrying Christ, maybe). Or that has turned out the moneychangers in the Temple, and replaced them with a movie theater (at least it's not a multiplex). Or offers the fascinating presentation "A Day in the Life of a Monk" that's sponsored by USA Network and features an obssessive compulsive in a tonsure. (OK, I made that one up.)

Here's hoping that they have some truly aged and probably downright mystical wine from that 1st Century wine press. Although since the place is in Florida, it would probably be muscadet, which is rumored to be what the Roman guard gave to the dying Jesus on that sponge on the end of his spear. Just one more bit of oppressive Roman cruelty.


Blogger oldwhitelady said...

I think that's a GREAT plan. Maybe, I'll join you fine folks. I need to think up a name for my Christian themed park, though.

5:44 PM  

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