If you ever wonder where the Rapture went, since it didn’t visit this world, it hid in a motel with Harold Camping and his wife, probably with thoughts turning to the millions swindled from deluded followers and plans for more. Even an 89-year-old false prophet has gotta live, after all.
Many of us pictured in our heads Harold Camping on a beach somewhere enjoying a Mojito, or laughing it up in a country with no extradition agreement with the U.S., or doing what it turned out he was really doing, hiding in a motel. He says he was embarrassed. A charitable person might grant him that; most of us would probably say he was hiding like any self-respecting swindler would when his scam is discovered.
Camping apologized on Monday night. My bad! That one’s on me! He said he felt terrible. Did he have a bad weekend? We would assume so if he believed his own lies. Or was this all planned in advance? A sane person would know his Rapture scheme was BS from the get-go and that he’d have to have an exit plan in place to cover the inevitable Monday blues, more, at any rate, than a five dollar cup of coffee could cover.
Now it turns out it was just a “spiritual” judgment day, not the curtain call. I don’t think “My bad!” begins to cover it, do you?
We will perhaps never know if Camping really believed his own nonsense. We think he’s crazy and deluded; Pat Robertson’s CBN (Robertson of course is also crazy and deluded), calls Camping a “fringe preacher” and Tim LaHaye, who qualifies as an expert on the Rapture because alone among many fundamentalists he can apparently read, has, CBN tells us, called Camping’s prediction “not only bizarre but 100 percent wrong!”
He cited the Bible verse Matthew 24:36, “but about that day or hour no one knows” except God.
Bingo! You’re in the front row, Tim LaHaye!
I know fundamentalists Christians who think Camping is “out there” on the account of Matthew 24:36 alone. They’ll believe any crazy old thing as long as it’s in print (or somebody tells them it’s in print) but it’s hard to get past Matthew 24:36 if you’re at all literate. This just goes to show there are degrees of “out there.”
Well okay, so there are a few other fundamentalists who can read. Maybe it’s that LaHaye novelized the rapture that makes him an expert. Let’s face it: it doesn’t take much to be an expert in these circles. It’s not what you know but what you believe. Look at David Barton. Look at Michele Bachmann. Look at Christine O’Donnell who actually believed she was one of us!
Let’s face it. None of this is a terrible hard-ship to Camping personally. He’s been collecting millions of dollars for years. Some of his followers on the other hand…when you leave your wife and children, your house and your family, your job and your career, behind just to follow a “fringe preacher” like Camping, you’re going to be more than a little blue on Monday.
Jeff Hopkins, one of those deluded followers, said, “I was doing what I’ve been instructed to do through the Bible, but now I’ve been stymied. It’s like getting slapped in the face.”
“I can’t tell you what I feel right now. I don’t understand it and I don’t know. I don’t understand what happened,” said Robert Fitzpatrick.
I can explain it to you, guys: Camping is a false prophet. According to your own religion, he needs to be hauled out of his motel room and stoned to death for it. He should have been stoned for it back in 1994, the first time he was wrong about the Rapture. I’m sorry, but a mathematical error would not have satisfied the Jewish priestly authorities back in the day. And now he quips (I’m paraphrasing here), “Ooops, I did it again?”
That may work for Britney Spears (she was wearing a Catholic schoolgirl outfit, after all (and I don’t think any of us want Camping to go there) but that’s not going to cut it for a false prophet. Biblical rules of prophecy are far more stringent and unforgiving than those of pop music.
And apparently he hasn’t learned a damn thing because he made the same damn mistake again; now saying his calculations were off and the end will come on October 21, my daughter’s birthday as it happens. Maybe we can double up the celebrations?
CBN reports that “Camping said there’s no point in continuing to warn people of God’s judgment and that his radio network will just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21.”
Well thank the god of your choice for small blessings.
Either way, Camping won’t be hurting while he waits – something which can’t be said of his followers. OneNewsNow reports that “In 2009, the nonprofit Family Radio reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.”
Meanwhile, rest, relax. Talk among yourselves. We’ll meet up again on October 22 to talk about the latest excuse. Maybe Camping can blame the Mayans. After all, their calendar ended in 2012, a full year after Camping’s predicted date – on December 21 to be precise. Or maybe we can blame Mel Gibson. He’s the one who made Apocalyptico, after all. Whoever we end up blaming (and it is important to blame somebody, according to fundamentalist doctrine) there is still plenty of time to make money off the end of the world and that’s an opportunity no fundamentalist, including Pat Robertson and Tim LaHaye can turn down. So don’t panic.
And you followers of Camping? Remember, if you’d stoned him the first time he wouldn’t have been able to sucker you a second. On second thought, maybe you should dress him up like Britney, set him on a mule backwards and send him out of town. Well talk again – October 22. Be here.