First things first: I hereby solemnly swear that this blog will be devoted to more than just tacky roadside attractions. In the coming months, I will gaze on this country’s most beautiful natural wonders, sample the finest local delicacies, and plumb the depths of our collective soul to ask: Just what is it that makes Americans American?
Before I get to that, however, let’s take a journey together to Carthage, MO, to the Precious Moments Chapel, aka “America’s Sistine Chapel.”
You know Precious Moments:
The Precious Moments Chapel was built 20 years ago by the company’s founder and artist Sam Butcher. To quote from its website, “Sam used his beautiful and innocent Precious Moments messengers to bring well known and loved stories from the Bible to life in dozens of murals.”
The art on one side depicts Old Testament stories like “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” but the great thing is all the figures are Precious Moments babies! On the other side, you’ll see New Testament stories like the parable of the Good Samaritan, with one twist: Everyone’s a Precious Moments baby. The central mural, named “Hallelujah Square,” depicts Heaven itself, interpreted through Butcher’s vision in which everyone in the world — and the afterlife! — is a Precious Moments baby.
The grounds of the chapel are also not to be missed.
And inside the welcome center, there’s even a nod to current events:
Ack. Let’s take a closer look at the plaque at the bottom, shall we?
Ok, so the Precious Moments Chapel isn’t all class. Still, I hope that you had a genuinely good time visiting America’s Sistine Chapel. I know I did. Seriously, I did! It’s deeply weird and deeply personal and you can tell it’s a place that makes people happy. So, kudos to Sam Butcher and his legion of weird moon-eyed babies.