Fools and Cowards

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 21, 2011

It’s bad enough that Harold Camping and his kind completely botched their laughable prediction of a worldwide apocalypse. It’s even worse that they don’t have the stones to own up to their error:

With no sign of Judgment Day arriving as he had forecast, the 89-year-old California evangelical broadcaster and former civil engineer behind the pronouncement seemed to have gone silent on Saturday.

Family Radio, the Christian stations network headed by Harold Camping which had spread his message of an approaching doomsday, was playing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse.

Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.

In his latest pronouncement, he had said doomsday would begin in Asia, but with midnight local time come and gone in Tokyo and Beijing and those cities already in the early hours of May 22, there was no indication of an apocalypse.

The Oakland, California, headquarters of the network of 66 U.S. stations was shuttered with a sign in the door that read “This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!”

Family Radio officials, with the help of supporters, had posted over 2,000 billboards around the country warning of a May 21 Judgment Day.

The headquarters, which appears to be normally closed on Saturday, was also shuttered on Friday.

Camping, whose deep sonorous voice is frequently heard on his radio network expounding the Bible, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

The shades were drawn and no one answered the door at his house in Alameda, California.

I love this bit:

Sheila Doan, 65, who has lived next door to Camping since 1971, said he is a good neighbor and that she is concerned about Camping and his wife, because of the attention his pronouncement has received.

“I’m concerned for them, that somebody would possibly do something stupid, you just don’t know in this world what’s going to happen,” she said.

“Do something stupid”? Like what? Publicize cockamamie theories about the end of the world?

One of the saddest aspects of this entire sorry episode was explained well on my public radio station by Charlie Dyer, who pointed out that thanks to the stupidity of people like Camping, a whole host of people who might have been able to find some comfort, and sense of purpose as part of a religious community, will likely be turned off from religion.

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