NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- After a series of rallies marred by torrential rain and the H1N1 flu virus, Ayatollah Mugsy made a triumphant appearance in Nashville on Sunday as part of his Traveling Islamic Revival Roadshow and Circus.
The religious leader, a pug, barked a nine-hour speech from the steps of the city's full-size Parthenon replica, as rabid followers hung on his every word.
With cotton candy vendors and fire eaters roaming the grounds, the controversial cleric called on the U.S. Congress to pass the so-called "Rawhide Stimulus" bill that has been languishing on Capitol Hill since January. Ayatollah Mugsy also renewed his call for canines to secede from the United States and form a nation he dubbed Pugistan. The secessionist talk drew some of the biggest applause of the night, and Fox News commentator Glen Beck led the crowd in a chant of "Secede from the USA now!" Beck later dubbed the ayatollah "a great American patriot."
Following the ayatollah's marathon speech and his ritualized counting of the offering plate funds and shaming of the nongivers, Mugsy turned the stage over to his brother Wendell. The younger pug was joined by Cowboy Troy and Dolly Parton as he howled a series of country music tunes, ending with a raucous version of "Stand by Your Teddy Bear."