Fundamentalist hair: Lady Godiva gets religion

November 30, 2009

All over Tennessee you can spot ultra-religious women who believe that they should not cut their hair. This stems, so to speak, from First Corinthians 11:15, which says: “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

This stately dame is the most extreme example of fundamentalist hair I have ever seen. Here’s one more photo.

Hidden Biblical Secrets in Gatlinburg

November 8, 2009

Hepburn as Mary

Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code can’t hold a bayberry candle to the symbology now present in Gatlinburg.

Christus Gardens, the longtime Biblical wax museum in this tasteful town, closed down, but has risen from the grave in the form of Christ in the Smokies Museum & Gardens, which offers the public a look at the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus in 11 scenes containing over 100 wax figures and open daily. The Museum and Garden, however, has a delightful secret: many of the figures now appearing in scenes from the life of Christ were once waxen versions of movie and television stars in the Hollywood Wax Museum.

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Burmese pythons headed for Tennessee?

April 18, 2009

I don’t like snakes, but I love snake stories. While reading the April 20, 2009 edition of The New Yorker, however, I learned one potential Tennessee snake story that absolutely gives me the chills: Burmese pythons, which can grow to 20 feet or longer, have established themselves in South Florida, and could, over time, make their way to Tennessee.

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Christus Gardens gives up the ghost

January 7, 2008

Christus Gardens, a 47 year old religious wax museum in Gatlinburg, is closing on January 13, 2008. According to this article on, there are several reasons for the closure: the 71-year-old owner has no family who wants to run it, and the 8.5 acres are worth millions to developers. The buyers will probably advertise condos with signs saying, “If you lived here, you could stare at the Space Needle all the time!”


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Boy street preacher in Gatlinburg

October 18, 2007

The latest attraction in Gatlinburg tops anything conjured up by the Ripley’s Believe It or Not schlockmeisters. The Mountain Press brings the glad tidings of a seven year old boy preacher who stands on the streets of that exalted hamlet and informs people that they are going straight to hell if they don’t repent.

Some of us think that spending time in Gatlinburg and going to hell are redundant, but that’s beside the point.

Samuel Boutwell appears to be the latest version of Marjoe, the (in)famous boy preacher turned adult evangelical charlatan whose 1972 documentary won an Oscar. Young Brother Boutwell, so far, seems limited to several clips on YouTube. Samuel is from Brookhaven, Mississippi, has allegedly preached in New York at Ground Zero, and is home schooled–no surprise there.

Lord, Lord, you cannot make this stuff up.

Walking in Chattanooga–Siskin religious art

October 11, 2007

Just across the street from the Chattanooga Convention Center is the Siskin Children’s Institute, a place dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with special needs and their families. You can hear the children playing and see some of them in wheelchairs.

Inside the building, however, is one of the biggest collections of religious art in Tennessee and a remarkable story behind it.


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Bluesboro gets religion; gospel music sells

September 7, 2007

According to this article in the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, the Bluesboro Rhythm & Blues Co. has gotten religion–at least on Sundays. Their Sunday gospel brunch has now become a staple on Sunday afternoons at the club.

The man behind the music is Janard Cross, youth pastor and choir director at Freedom of Worship Outreach Church. The first brunch was in July, and Bluesboro plans to have one at least once per month. The cost is $10 for food and the concert, $5 dollars for children 10 and younger. The menu includes Cajun catfish, fried chicken and other brunch items — from pastries, egg, sausage, grits, fruit and bacon to potatoes.


Above is the menu for the heathen concerts. The brunches are held at 2:00 P.M. Only heathens would think “brunch” takes place in the middle of the afternoon–and only heathens would spell “dessert” with one “s.”

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