Saturday, May 21, 2011

India: It's 6:30PM in Mumbai (9:30 in Hong Kong and 10:30 in Tokyo) and no signs of the Rapture

PJ: Heavy sigh...Only in America could this have gotten the media traction it received.

The Times of India

Judgment Day: Amid fears the end is nigh, Americans are ready

WASHINGTON: With an aging fundamentalist Christian preacher warning that Saturday is Judgment Day, Americans have been getting ready.

A handful quit their jobs and were traveling around the United States to urge others to repent before it's too late.

Eighty-nine-year-old Harold Camping's prediction is that at 6:00pm local time in each of the world's regions -- starting in New Zealand at 0600 GMT -- the Rapture will happen and good Christians will be beamed up to heaven, making a tight squeeze for repenting.

Gregory LeCorps has been thinking ahead, though. He left his job "in a medical facility" weeks ago to take his wife and five young children on the road and warn others that the Rapture is really nigh, the Journal News in New York wrote.

"We're in the final days," he was quoted by the lower Hudson valley newspaper as saying as he handed out leaflets last week.

LeCorps said he hopes to be on a beach in South Carolina by Saturday, the newspaper said.

Those who do not make it to the Pearly Gates on Saturday will suffer through hell on earth until October 21, when an angry God will pull the plug on the planet once and for all, destroying everyone and everything, Camping says.

LeCorps believes that. Others are somewhat skeptical, especially as Camping made a similar prophecy years ago, saying then that the Rapture would happen in 1994. He wrote an entire book about it, and, of course, 1994 came and went without Rapture.

A group of atheists plans to hold a picnic in their local park Saturday, thinking that it will be emptied of people on Rapture day.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg -- who is Jewish and therefore, according to Camping's prophecy, unlikely to be beamed up to sit alongside Jesus and God in heaven -- said on his weekly radio show on Friday that he would suspend alternate-side parking in New York if the world ends on Saturday.

The much-reviled alternate-side parking rule requires New Yorkers to move their cars from one side of the street to the other to allow street cleaning to be carried out.

"I think alternate-side parking will take on an entirely different meaning" after the Rapture, Bloomberg joked.

Bars were offering Rapture happy hours -- although why pay at all if the world's about to end? -- and around the United States, people were organizing Rapture parties, presumably to wave off those who go to the other side.

On a "rapture" Twitter feed that moved too quickly to keep up, a skeptic said he didn't think God would consider holding the big day "on a Saturday in the middle of cricket season."

Craigslist has tens of thousands of ads from non-believers offering to buy the worldly goods of those who think they're going to heaven on Saturday night, and a group of atheists has sold hundreds of contracts to rescue people's pets after the Rapture.

An idea was gathering steam on Twitter to lay out old clothing and shoes on pavements and lawns on Saturday to give the impression that someone had been beamed up.

And as of noon on Friday, 11,000 people had RSVPed for some post-Rapture looting, with one man saying on Twitter he intends to hit Apple first.

Camping worked out the exact day of the Rapture by starting with the year of the Great Flood, 4990 BC, adding 7,000 years to it because, in the Bible, God "reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years," and then subtracting one because of a glitch when passing from the old to the new testament calendars.

"Because the year 2011 AD is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 BC when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment," Camping's Family Radio website says.

"Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 BC," it says, adding that there are "several additional astounding proofs" that Saturday will be Judgment Day.

To get those astounding proofs, the curious and fearful need only send a stamped self-addressed envelope to Family Radio.

But with the US Postal Service no longer operating in most places on Saturdays -- because of the economy, not the end of the world -- the leaflet with the response won't arrive until after it's all over.

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