I am ecstatic at the thought of the Rapture - that prophesied event where Tom DeLay, George Bush, Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell and friends are zapped up to Jesus.
I was pondering this the other evening at the Limbo Lounge while watching the big screen as Beelzebub's Brutes prepare to scrimmage with the Angelic Avengers in the Armageddon Bowl.
All of those good preachers on the cheerleading squad - Falwell, Pat Robertson and, not to be left behind or out, Tim LeHaye - are congratulating themselves on their imminent Rapture and chanting: "One, two, three, four/ Rip billions of sinners to pieces/ That's what we're waiting for."
Unfortunately, the Bible never mentions anything called the Rapture.
Undeterred by a "no comment" from The Man, Rapture-ites weave their fantasy with a hodgepodge of biblical passages, the main one being I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Paul opines that first the dead believers, then the living, will "meet the Lord in the air." I hate to bring bad tidings, but Paul was merely deep-sixing a common 1st century belief that only those alive at the time of the Second Coming would go to heaven.
The vast majority of Christians who believe in the Rapture probably have no idea that it is a modern heresy. The Rapture was invented in 1830 when a Scottish lass, Margaret MacDonald, had a feverish vision. Seeing potent juju in such a concept, ambitious religionists quickly embraced it.
The Rapture is the stuff of Elmer Gantry prophets, which is to say America's religious, Republican right. The reasons for its appeal include the doctrine's abandonment of social responsibilities - why protect the environment since God is about ready to wreck His creation?
Aristotle once mused: "A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects … do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."
If you take the strange patchwork fabric we call religion in America - a belief that the select (right-wing Republicans) are saved and Raptured while liberals, gays, Unitarians, Arabs, French and just about everybody else is damned - a tyrant can get positively rapturous at the political windfall such devilish thinking bestows.
-By John F. Sugg