You *know* it's the bible belt when...

I recently had occasion to be driving on I-40 from Oklahoma City (which, unlike Kansas City, is actually in the state of the same name) west to Amarillo, TX.

I first saw this mondo cross probably about 45 miles east of Amarillo.  I was able to bring my camera to bear and operate it one handed; this is the best picture (once cropped and shrunk) for getting a feel for the size of the thing.

Gigantic cross next to a church in the middle of nowhere.

This cross is next to a large church, out in the middle of nowhere.

There wasn’t much to speak of around this building; it’s a large church in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve seen crosses like this–exactly like this complete with diamond cross section and pointed tips–in other places.  One further east on I-40 that I remember from a previous trip even has billboards proudly announcing to oncoming traffic that it is the largest cross in the world.

[Update, 2 March 2013.  This is the Groom TX cross.  (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1912) which is just a few inches shorter than the Effingham cross (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10913) which is the one I remember... and that cross is on Interstate 57/70 in Illinois, contrary to my faulty recollection of where I had seen it.  A bigger one is being built in Branson, Missouri.]

It’s not obvious from this picture, but the flat planes of the cross are all made out of corrugated roofing material, similar to metal roofs you see on some modern construction, especially in hail prone areas like mine.   I imagine the builder erects a framework and then simply bolts the sheet metal onto it.

It’s also not obvious from this picture, but there is a lightning rod on the top of the cross.  Apparently someone is worried that god might take aim at what his supposedly his chosen symbol.  So here’s a cropping of a picture I took a couple of seconds later.

Apparently they have to worry that Yahweh might not like their handiwork.

You can also see the roof corrugations, and the fact that the edges all use the same sort of flashing metal roofs use.

OK, so that’s a bit of brobdingnagian Christokitsch for the highway travel.  I then spotted this–then had to backtrack to photograph it because I found it difficult to believe my eyes:

A statement, or did they actually name their business “Jesus Christ Is Lord”?

I had to wonder:  did these folks actually name their travel center “Jesus Christ Is Lord,” or is the different color an indication that they were just making a statement of faith?

19 miles later, on the eastern edge of Amarillo, I had a pretty good indication:

Oh Lordy, they did name it “Jesus Christ Is Lord!” (I like the bit about it not being a swear word.)

So you see here not only the billboard (complete with commandment to take Exit 77 right now) but more text all over the awning above the diesel stations, and even “Jesus Christ Is Lord” on the side of a trailer.

As you drive in to gas up, you are reminded Jesus is in charge. Of course that might not be a good thing to think about when you figure he must have set the gas prices then.

And here there’s preaching just before the BOHICA moment of buying your diesel.  Which come to think of it is much like serving as an altar boy at many Catholic churches.

The panel on the right is illegible by the time I shrink the photo down so it will fit here, but says “The Lord Jesus Christ The Same Yesterday And Today And Forever”

I pulled over at the next exit, went to a different travel center, and (while paying for a snack) asked the cashier if that was truly the name of the place just up the road, and she said yes it was–she seemed mildly disgusted with it in fact; I guess this guy is over the top even for the bible belt.  I then pointed out that clearly this person was not interested in selling to any Jewish truck drivers.  Not that I know any.  I did mention knowing a couple of atheist drivers and she said words to the effect that she did have some Jewish customers and even a couple of agnostics… “…WHATEVER”–in an impatient, verging on angry, tone of voice.  This anger being from someone who is not off the deep end like the owner of the JCIL Travel Center; one must wonder how he’d react to someone walking through his door and proudly announcing their atheism.

The “Jesus Christ Is Lord Travel Center.”  Folks, I simply cannot make stuff like this up!

[Crossposted from LetReasonReign .  Please check it out for other anti-religious rants, sciencey-type stuff and the occasional bit of intentional humor.]

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Comment by SteveInCO on March 2, 2013 at 5:07pm

Just added the following between the first and second photographs"

[Update, 2 March 2013.  This is the Groom TX cross.  (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1912) which is just a few inches shorter than the Effingham cross (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10913) which is the one I remember... and that cross is on Interstate 57/70 in Illinois, contrary to my faulty recollection of where I had seen it.  A bigger one is being built in Branson, Missouri.]

Comment by Jamie Gannon on February 18, 2013 at 5:20pm
With living in Tennessee all my life, this doesn't surprise me one bit unfortunately
Comment by SteveInCO on February 16, 2013 at 1:09pm

No I did not know that... I am trying to picture the taste combo and failing... though you will occasionally encounter bleu cheese burgers here.

The bun looks a bit different too from the American Mickey Dee's

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on February 16, 2013 at 12:20pm

Thanks for the interesting story. I must admit that the Heavenly Burger Cafe sounds good, particularly as I am feeling hungry now. Did you know McDonalds in France have a new burger called the McCamembert burger ?

The McCamembert burger from McDonald's.

Comment by Idaho Spud on February 16, 2013 at 10:38am

First time I've heard brobdingnagian used except in reference to Raj's big-ass desk.  Fun word.  

Comment by SteveInCO on February 16, 2013 at 8:53am

I will never know about (say) the burgers, since I don't plan to give the place a cent of my money, BUT it actually costs them money to use their restrooms...

Comment by Sentient Biped on February 15, 2013 at 11:30pm

that Jesus Christ is Lord travel center is hilarious!  I wonder if they have Jesus Christ is Lord restrooms?  Maybe with crosses over the urinals?  And little devil targets to aim the pee?

One the road from St. Louis to the town where my parents lived near Hannibal MO, there was a series of Burma-Shave type signs promoting Jesus.  I forget what they said - should have brought a camera.

Comment by Loren Miller on February 13, 2013 at 9:44pm

I'll quit saying it when it quits being true.  Problem is, my suspicion is that it'll be a while, a rather LONG while... [sigh]

Comment by SteveInCO on February 13, 2013 at 9:41pm

Don't you find it tiresome having to say that so often?  :-)

Comment by Loren Miller on February 13, 2013 at 9:33pm

Maybe Touchdown Jesus should have had a lightning rod to protect HIM!

I'll say it again: You can't fix stupid!

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