Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Those wacky Romans!

Mrs. Mosley and I have returned from a three day weekend in Orlando. It was a small trip to celebrate my upcoming birthday and consisted mostly of shopping at the outlet malls. That's right: We skipped the theme parks altogether. Of course, we can go to Orlando and not feel compelled to do the major attractions since it's less than three hours away. Besides, we spent all our money at the aforementioned outlet malls.

One thing that caught my eye were billboard ads for The Holy Land Experience, a biblical theme park that acts as an alternative to Disney. I have little doubt that this was created, in part, as a response to Disney's favorable policies towards homosexuals. At the time "Holy Land" opened in 2001, Disney was still under boycott by the Southern Baptists and the Catholic League (this ineffective shunning of old Mickey was officially ended by the Baptists back in June).

Anyway. The billboards. The ad is dominated by the picture of a kid with a sort of shocked/ amazed/ happy expression as a Roman guard peers over the boy's right shoulder while using his finger to tap his left. The tone is lighthearted and meant to communicate good times to the kids and parents who see it.

Now, the last time I checked, Romans were the bad guys in the Bible. If they were truly recreating the Israel of 2000 years ago, then the Romans as viewed by Christians would not be happy-go-lucky guys. Obviously, since they're competing with Disney, the people at "Holy Land" are trying to communicate an attractive and fun image with this ad, but they can't have their Manna and eat it too. Either it's an educational view of a very miserable time to live in, or it's a fun wonderland for kids to run and play. You aint getting both, folks.

Can you imagine some of these poor kids who, having already watched The Passion of the Christ, go to this park and have to keep from shouting in terror when they see the men who flailed the very skin off their savior's back? What's next? Are they going to create a Jewish theme park that recreates the Warsaw Ghettos, complete with Nazi goons who play peek-a-boo with five year olds?

The ads are misguided, as I think the theme park as a whole is. Yet even though the idea for this theme park doesn't float my boat, if other people gain a good time from plopping down $30 to see ancient Israel, then far be it for me to besmirch them. I just hope, for their sakes, it doesn't end up like Heritage USA.

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