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Ruins

A Theme Park, a Scandal, and the Faded Ruins of a Televangelism Empire by Emily Johnson.

If you happen to find yourself on I-77 just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, consider a detour to the crumbling ruins of what used to be the third-most-visited theme park in the United States. Heritage USA was founded in the late 1970s by Pentecostal superstars Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker as part of their ministry, PTL (Praise the Lord, or People that Love). Conceived and built during the rise of the modern religious right, Heritage USA combined the Bakkers’ growing televangelism empire with theme-park hedonism, offering an immersive experience in the sights, sounds, and practices of American conservative evangelicalism.

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