Preacher's doomsday forecast fizzles out ... again
End-of-world prophecy goes nowhere, five months after previous failure
LAMEDA, Calif. ? Once again, the world failed to end, despite a high-profile prediction from a radio preacher in California.
Harold Camping, the 90-year-old leader of Family Radio International, stirred a global frenzy when he predicted that the Rapture would take 200 million Christians to heaven on May 21. When the Rapture didn't occur, Camping said he got his Bible-based calculations wrong and revised his prophecy to set the world's end on Friday, Oct. 21.
But as the day wore on around the world, there was no sign that doomsday had dawned. In New Zealand, Friday morphed into an Apocalypse-less Saturday, and the biggest news was the buildup to Sunday's Rugby World Cup final game between France and the home team.
Millions of dollars had been spent by Family Radio and its followers to get the world out about May's date with doomsday. Some quit their jobs, or donated retirement savings or college funds for the more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs that were plastered with Judgment Day messages.
This time around, Camping took a lower profile ? perhaps because he was chastened by the mockery he suffered in May, or perhaps because of his health.
Camping suffered a mild stroke in June. His daily radio program, "Open Forum," is no longer aired on the Family Radio syndication network, which includes more than 60 U.S. radio stations.
Contacted by telephone on Thursday, Family spokesman Tom Evans declined to comment on Camping or his prophecies ? except to say that he had "retired" as a radio host but remained chairman of the board of Family Stations Inc.
'Nothing to report'
Camping himself had little to say when he answered the door of his home in Alameda, wearing a bathrobe and leaning on a walker. "We're not having a conversation," he told a Reuters reporter, shaking his head with a chuckle. "There's nothing to report here."
1. "James and the Giant Peach," by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl's story of a boy who leaves home to travel on a giant fruit with several insects was banned because it contains magical elements and references to drugs and alcohol.
2. The "Where's Waldo?" series by Martin Hanford
Martin Hanford's children's book series, which invites readers to hunt for Waldo ? the man in a red-and white-striped shirt ? wherever he may go, met with controversy in schools when readers objected to some of the characters in depicted in crowds, including a topless woman on a beach.
3. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," by Mark Twain
That other Twain novel about Huck Finn has faced a raftload of controversy ever since the day it was first published. But "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" was also banned when librarians said they found Mr. Sawyer to be a "questionable" protagonist in terms of his moral character.
4. "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble," by William Steig
William Steig's children's story about a donkey who gets into mishaps because of a magic pebble he found may seem pretty harmless. But it faced trouble because the book's illustrations of animals in clothes include images of pigs dressed as policemen.
5. "Harriet the Spy," by Louise Fitzhugh
Louise Fitzhugh's well-loved tale of a girl who spies on her friends and has to face the consequences was banned because it set a bad example for children, supposedly encouraging them to spy, lie, and swear.
6. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," by L. Frank Baum
Frank L. Baum's classic story about a girl and her friends traveling through the mystical land of Oz came under fire for its perceived socialist values, but it was also banned because it described witches as good ? as in Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.
7. The dictionary
The dictionary as banned book ? really? Yes. The dictionary has been banned from libraries because it includes sexual definitions.
8. "Grimm's Fairy Tales," by Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm and Wilhelm Karl Grimm
At first glance, banning fairy tales may seem absurd. But on closer inspection, parental concern is less surprising. In these versions of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" Snow White almost gets killed by a corset and Cinderella's stepsisters cut off parts of their own feet.
9. "A Light in the Attic," by Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein's book of poems ? considered a classic by many readers ? has been banned because in the eyes of other readers it promotes violence and disrespect.
10. "A Wrinkle in Time," by Madeline L'Engle
Madeline L'Engle's Newbery Medal-winning story of Meg and Charles Murry, a sister and brother who go to find their father with their friend Calvin, was banned because some parents thought the story's face-off between good and evil reflected badly on religion.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
It started with Jesus himself in the Gospel of Mark, which most scholars identify as the earliest written canonical account of the life of Christ. In Mark 13, Jesus informed his disciples that the last days were at hand. He listed signs of the End of the Age: wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, and other calamities.
?I tell you the truth,? he predicted, ?this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.?
The disciples must have gotten weird looks in their eyes. Maybe they started swapping gossip about warfare. Maybe they told tales of stars falling from the sky or distant famines, because Jesus dropped one more caution on them before moving along to the next topic. Be alert, he said, because no one knows about that day or hour. Not the angels. Not even Jesus himself. Only the Father.
In other words, fellas, prepare for it, but quit trying to put it on a calendar.