As long as I'm in a bad mood anyway, let me explain - briefly - why I think it would be salubrious if America's fundamentalist Christians were stripped naked, slathered with extra-fancy-grade itching powder, and sent on a one-way trip to the Horsehead Nebula.
I make a point of slogging through Rapture Ready News every day, because they collect stories from all over the place and some of 'em are interesting. But of course, all the stories are presented as "evidence" that the Rapture is nigh.
And thus, inevitably, you come across stories like this one:
More than half a billion people, nearly double previous estimates, were affected by the deadliest form of malaria in 2002, scientists say. Most were in sub-Saharan Africa but nearly 25 percent occurred in southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.Now, disease is a fact of life. And treatment options for malaria are less than ideal. But prevention of malaria is possible, given a modest amount of money and time and education. In fact, Eritrea recently reduced its malaria cases:
[T]he key reason for the decline was the government's distribution of bed nets. Insecticide-treated nets have been shown to cut malaria transmission by up to 90 percent.90 percent? It's a miracle! Praise Jesus!
Of course, helping poorer countries to reduce their malaria caseload is of no interest to the folks at Rapture Ready. To them, every disaster is a good disaster - a fun little puzzle to be interpreted, like the Junior Jumble. Through their bizarre rose-colored glasses, tragedies that are nothing more than the perfectly logical consequence of human stupidity and avarice and callousness and selfishness become nothing less than God's glad tidings for His faithful lambs.
Not that these dear lambs aren't forced to walk along the Via Dolorosa from time to time. For instance:
Despite a series of interruptions, which I blame on the devil, we’ve managed to keep the wheel of progress in motion.And Saint Anthony thought he had problems.
Though Rapture Ready is focused firmly on the splendors of its home on high, it recognizes that certain worldly obligations can't be ignored. Spreading demonstrable lies about Social Security, for instance:
This past week, Washington D.C. was buzzing about the poor state of Social Security. A decade before the trust fund is projected to begin collapsing from an overabundance of retirees, Congress suddenly realized the money pot is full of nothing but IOUs.Isn't this altogether charming stuff? A blind eye and a deaf ear is turned to human suffering, except insofar as it brings these good people closer to their shuddering theophanic climax. But as tantalizingly close as the Rapture is, they still think it's best to help Bush destroy Social Security, just in case. And if they have to resort to lies to do it? Well, Christians aren't perfect...just forgiven.
I firmly believe there is a spiritual trust fund that glorified believers will someday draw upon for their eternal rewards. Unlike Social Security, this trust fund is solely funded by the deeds of the individual.
Bring on the Rapture, I say. It's time to take out the trash.