There are certain places in these United States that, if God suddenly yelled "psyche" and decided to throw an unexpected apocalypse, could stand in pretty well for an Earth-bound hell. You've got your Los Angeles and your New Jersey. You've got Graceland. Those are kind of no-brainers. Maybe Dollywood. Definitely Gary, Indiana. But after seeing what I saw today, I think those all pale in comparison to a little place in Carthage, Missouri called -- wait for it -- The Precious Moments Park and Chapel. It looks like this:
Yeah, exactly. That's a picture of the chapel, where people can get married and begin their servitude to the dark side of...well...taste. Here's what the Precious Moments website has to say about it:
Inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome, Precious Moments artist and creator, Samuel J. Butcher, designed and constructed the Precious Moments Chapel as his way of sharing the joy of his faith with the world, and it has become his crowning work.
Yes, the similarities are striking:
You know, the Precious Moments one is actually better because A) fewer confusing colors; B) no nudity to make our eyes burn with naughtiness; C) they're three dimensional, perfect for mantels and curio cabinets and D) Michelangelo never made nothing for my curio cabinet, the big dead loser.
The Precious Moments Park and Chapel was featured several years ago on Cash Peters' Bad Taste Tour on the Savvy Traveler website. He interviewed the Park's PR person about the chapel. The exchange is as follows:
Lynn: "Well, it's not necessarily a church."
Cash: "It looks like one."
Lynn: "Correct. But there's not a cross, although Jesus is portrayed in one of the murals."
Cash: "As a Precious Moment?"
Lynn: "No. He is a real person."
Cash: "You know what you need here?"
Cash: "A Jurassic Park ride. The dinosaurs could have droopy eyes."
Cash: "Just a thought. It's a money-spinner."
Lynn: "This is not a theme park."
Of course, if there were dinosaurs at the apocalypse, Darwin would be proven right. How awkward would that be! Either way, I'm sure there'd be a figurine to commemorate it.