The Holy Land Experience
Going through the metal detectors… just like Jesus used to to do
Photographer Daniel Cronin traveled far from his secular home of Portland, Oregon to the ancient and sacred land of Orlando, Florida to visit The Holy Land Experience, a Biblical theme park owned and operated by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (the station now run by that half-assed, pink haired Tammy Faye knock-off, Jan Crouch). It’s is about as chintzy as you’d expect—lots of suspiciously Nordic-looking Jesi, a disorienting sense of anachronism with costumed employees running the snack stands and metal detectors, the gory crucifixion reenactment, a slightly Rococo color palette—the works, really.
As with all televangelist ventures, The Holy Land Experience (which is legally a non-profit) has been mired in controversy. Founded by Marvin Rosenthal (who was born Jewish before his conversion, if you hadn’t guessed), the park attracted the ire of the Jewish Defense League who protested its opening believing it to be a ploy to convert Jews to Christianity. Of course it wouldn’t be Christian edutainment without some alleged misappropriation of funds—the HLE manages to avoid paying property taxes (amounting to $300,000 a year) by reclassifying itself as a “museum,” as opposed to, you know, a theme park. Also, HLE Director and CEO Jan Crouch has been accused (by her own granddaughter, no less) of ripping off both the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the park. For two years during The Holy Land Experience’s construction, her two pampered pooches (both Maltese, a toy breed) got their own luxury hotel room adjoining her own.
You know… just like Jesus’s pups!