By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"When religious conservatives fly in or out of Love Field with their kids, how will they explain to the children why they're blacking out the windows of the 737?" asks Waybourn, laughing at the thought of the Johnson cathedral in a major Dallas flight path. "When their kids ask them, 'What's that building?' are they going to say, 'A famous architect built it, but I can't tell you what goes on inside'?"
The Philip Johnson cathedral also feels like an ironic twist, a reversal of fortune in the culture war. Piazza says he won't be comfortable breaking ground until he's raised at least $16 million of the $20 million cost; total construction time is estimated to be 24 months, and Piazza thinks he can comfortably raise $4 million in that period. As he flies around the country passing the collection plate in cities like New York and West Palm Beach and San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he claims one particular demographic drops its coins in with a certain amount of glee.
"There's a certain group who're not gay and not religious that donate simply because they have a perverse sense of humor. They get the joke that the world's largest lesbian and gay congregation is building what may become one of the most photographed churches in the country in the buckle of the Bible Belt."
Piazza smiles broadly as he says this. He gets the joke too.