So Judgment Day had come and gone, it seems, much like any other day... in fact, much like the several other days in the past which Family Radio's Harold Camping has claimed the world will end. We laugh off Camping and his crazy theories, and we jeer at his followers - but I think we need to take a different approach.
Camping is, as incredible as his theories may sound, a charismatic leader, and he was able to convince hundreds if not thousands of people that his prediction was true and correct. We've seen this kind of behavior before, and not only in a religious context. What about those people who were swindled of their life savings by real estate scams? What about Enron? Here were normal, perhaps slightly gullible (who isn't once in a while?) people being taken advantage of by someone with more power. What did we do in those cases? Pursued the culprit, the mastermind, both judicially and financially. Why not do the same to Harold Camping?
Camping is worth over $70 million, none of which he gave away in these "last days." But his followers did: some quit their jobs, some sold their homes and some even metered out the last of their savings to last them through - you guessed it - yesterday. They've been had, pure and simple. And they should pursue legal and civil action against the man whose fault it is.
If you are going to be responsible for the lives of people who trust your message, you should remain responsible for those people after your message has failed to bring change. We hold financial and corporate scam artists accountable - we should hold religious scam artists accountable, too.
5 days ago