Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bible Park USA

Nashville is the buckle of the Bible belt. Other places may claim to be, but I think Nashville wins the title hands down. With over 900 churches, it seems there is a church on every street corner. Nashville also has a twice-life-size statue of Billy Graham on a prominent downtown street corner.

The largest protestant denomination in the United States, The Southern Baptist Convention, has its headquarters in Nashville and employs approximately 2500 people and takes up three block of prime downtown real estate. The United Methodist Publishing House is also located in Nashville as well as several smaller religious publishers and Church denomination headquarters.

Nashville is home to Thomas Nelson Publishers, the nations largest publishers of Bibles and religious books. Nashville is the headquarters of Gideon International, the folks who put Bibles in hotel rooms all across America and distribute Bibles throughout the world.

Nashville is also home to the Gospel Music Industry. The 4000-member Gospel Music Association are the people who bring you the all genre gospel/Christian Dove Award show. In addition Nashville is home to many recording studios and music publishing houses, record labels and booking agencies that support Gospel music.

Many of the universities and colleges of which we are so proud are religious affiliated institutions including Trevecca Nazarene University, Lipscomb University (Church of Christ), Aquinas College (Catholic), American Baptist College, and Free Will Baptist Bible College. Belmont University used to be Belmont Baptist College a long time ago and still had a Southern Baptist affiliation until quite recently, but when the university wanted to put some non-Baptist Christians on the board, the Southern Baptist convention and Belmont had a disharmonious parting of the ways.

Despite all of this official religiosity, Nashville is a pretty tolerant laid back city and a great place to live. When it seems the only way we could have a greater religious presence in our fine city was if the Vatican relocated, we are about to get what may be the crowning jewel of our claim to religious fame. Get ready for Bible Park USA! (link)

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