Why does the Holy Land Experience keep getting away with pretending to be a church?

By : Michael Wanzie
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Michael Wanzie

Michael Wanzie

It is no secret that about three weeks ago I personally placed the phone call to the Orlando Sentinel informing the publication that Holy Land Experience Theme Park (HLE) had painted a mural on the retaining walls which support the I-4 west-bound exit onto Conroy Road boarding HLE property. The mural consists of an angel and a scroll that is rolled open to reveal a watery-blue backdrop meant to blend in with HLE park theming. I encouraged Sentinel journalists to investigate whether or not HLE theme park sought permission from the City of Orlando and/or the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to create the mural.

I have legitimate concerns when I see a business defacing public property for the purposes of enhancing a private, profit-making enterprise. The powers that be at Trinity Broadcasting Network (the the money-bilking machine that owns the park) can carry on all they want about how their business is not a theme park but rather a church or a museum – thus justifying the tax-free status reprehensibly bestowed upon the theme park by Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee – but let’s be real here; on its web site, HLE lists its $50 entrance fee as a “Gate Price.” One passes through a turnstile to enter an attraction overflowing with gift shops. The park presents a nighttime fountain and light show, and HLE is currently in the process of installing a Putt Putt-style 9-hole mini golf course. HLE recently announced the repurposing of their “Smile of A Child” interactive children’s playground into the (get this) “The Trin-i-Tee Miniature Golf Course” at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo.

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