Here’s proof that Harold Camping’s apocalyptic nonsense isn’t just a lark or a joke or fodder for Jay Leno, from the Christian Post:
If you happened to learn about Harold Camping’s May 21 rapture prediction from a placard on a subway car or bus shelter in New York City, the ad was probably funded by Robert Fitzpatrick – a 60-year-old, retired transit worker from Staten Island who invested his entire life savings of $140,000 into the campaign.
“I’m trying to warn people about what’s coming,” Fitzpatrick told the New York Daily News. “People who have an understanding [of end times] have an obligation to warn everyone.”
Fitzpatrick isn’t the only person to empty his bank account to warn others based on Camping’s prediction.
NPR recently reported on another one of Camping’s followers, 27-year-old Adrienne Martinez, as saying, “Knowing the date of the end of the world changes all your future plans.”
So, instead of going to medical school like she planned, she gave up that idea. She and her husband, Joel, quit their jobs and moved from New York City to Orlando, where they rented a home and are currently passing out tracts. Joel says they are spending the last of their savings because they don’t see a need for one more dollar.
“You know, you think about retirement and stuff like that,” he said. “What’s the point of having some money just sitting there?”
“We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left,” Adrienne added.
I don’t know if there’s anything legally actionable in Camping’s biblical fraud, but if I were Mr. Fitzpatrick and the Martinezes (as well as any other followers of the false prophet who did something as foolish as make themselves penniless on a charlatan’s say-so), come Sunday I’d find out where Camping lives, and go knock on his door and demand that he pay restitution for destroying their finances.
Yes, yes, I know–people are responsible for their own acts, and no one forced these people to spend every dime before the big day (you can bet Camping hasn’t). Still, is there no penalty that this clown might pay for his hubris, his deceit, and his heresy beyond public humiliation? (In this world, that is–there’s always the matter of God’s judgement, of course, which I suspect will be, shall we say, less than gentle.) Suggestions are welcome.