5.26.11 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotLike most of the country, I was watching the news to see if one of two predicted scenarios played out the weekend of May 21.

The first was that the Second Coming of Christ would occur at 6 p.m. on that Saturday as predicted by whacko evangelist Harold Camping, and we, unfortunately, would be left behind in a less-crowded but somehow more evil world. Or two, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary would happen on May 21 and we would go about our regularly scheduled plans which probably include celebrating Gay Days the first weekend of June.

We all know and few were surprised that the second scenario is the one that unfolded. Camping has since said he was by a few months (and factored in some emergency prayers), adding that Rapture Redux is coming Oct. 21 this year.

The complicated and confusing mathematical code Camping found in the Bible was apparently incorrect this time around or he forgot to carry the one or something. But he was sure the end was here and like many right-wing religious leaders, he blamed us.

I was raised in a religious family. My parents taught me right from wrong, good from bad and warned me about the Rapture and the dangers of living through Armageddon on a Godless Earth. What great childhood memories!

Being a child of the 1980s meant that hearing the horrors of the events unfolding after the Rapture weren’t enough. No, I had to go to church on weekend evenings for special screenings of the Thief in the Night series of films to scare the living daylights out of me.

I remember being no more than eight or 10 years old while watching the characters in the movie face the guillotine because of their refusal to accept the Mark of the Beast. I light-heartedly told my church friends that I knew I’d be okay since I was a good Christian boy. I would even pray for the Rapture to come before that next big math test on Friday. I figured if God was good, as I was taught, he’d spare me the agony of those pesky fractions.

But secretly I was scared to death that one day my entire family and all those I loved would disappear and I’d be left all alone because I was different. Those films had such an impact on me that I swore I saw the villains outside the windows of my school bus.

Sure, movies had scared me before. Halloween creeped me out and I was sure that Michael Myers was lurking in my closet some nights. But this was different. This was real fear. There was no It’s-just-a-Hollywood-story voice in my head telling me it would be okay.

I recall being home alone as a preteen thinking that my parents weren’t coming back because God was upset with my crush on the boy sitting next to me in class. I thought I deserved to be left to my own devices.

After viewing Thief and its three sequels, I really wanted to be scared straight!

On the morning of May 22, you could see newscasters struggling to contain their smiles as they reported there were no vacated piles of clothes or empty shoes left on sidewalks and no vehicular tragedies occurred because a driver suddenly disappeared from behind the wheel. Those reports also meant there was no post-Rapture looting party as promised by a disturbingly popular Facebook group.

Following that Saturday, I spoke with several friends and acquaintances in the religious community both gay and straight and not one of them was surprised by the delay of the spiritual event. Most quoted a Bible verse explaining that no one will know when the end will come for humanity on Earth.

Camping and his predictions will no-doubt make it into every year-end wrap-up come December and then disappear from our thoughts. But in the end the elderly Californian received plenty of mainstream air-time to blame the LGBT community for the end of days and in the meantime, made an insane amount of money.

Predictably, we’ll be blamed for future catastrophic events just as we’ve been blamed for past ones. And that’s a prediction guaranteed to come true.

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