by Willard Spiegelman
Located near, if not exactly on, the buckle of the Bible Belt, Dallas has always boasted more than its fair share of religious organizations and buildings. Highway billboards along the adjacent interstate highways feature pictures of smiling preachers with pressed hair, and names like Reverend Jim and Pastor Joe Bob, urging people to come to Sunday worship.
It's perhaps no surprise, then, that Dallas should also be home to the country's largest gay congregation. What is a surprise is that the Cathedral of Hope—formerly the Metropolitan Community Church, but since 2006 a member of the United Church of Christ—should have, as of November, a handsome chapel designed by Philip Johnson (1906-2005), whose career had a six-decade tie to the Lone Star state.
Architects are not noted for their modesty, but Johnson famously always worked with his clients rather than imposing—think of Frank Lloyd Wright—his demands and his vision upon them. Of the chapel (which went through many iterations, after back-and- forthing with the church officials) he said: it "will be built of simple and common materials, which I understand God is rather fond of." Keep Reading...