Everyone loves Judgment Day

I’ve been busy with school budgets this week and haven’t had a chance to review the big John Jay report on the causes of the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse crisis.

But I’ll get to it.

Still, it seems the main thing everyone is talking about is Harold Camping and his Judgment Day prediction for Saturday. His people placed a full-page ad in the Journal News and other newspapers today warning of a worldwide earthquake that will begin Saturday and begging people to “cry out to God for mercy.”

The newspaper ad asks readers to buy multiple copies of the paper and send them to “leaders, relatives and friends.” So thank you for that, Mr. Camping.

I can’t believe how much attention this is getting. But Camping has somehow come up with the money to do quite an impressive marketing campaign. Who are his donors? One can only wonder.

My colleague Khurram Saeed has a fine story today about people traveling around Rockland County to warn of the Big Event to hit on Saturday.

Well, we’ll see what happens Saturday.

And we’ll see what Camping says Sunday if he’s still here.

( Photo by Peter Carr / The Journal News )

Judgment Day? 5 days and counting…

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that an evangelist named Harold Camping was predicting — no, stating — that Judgment Day will be May 21, 2011.

At a time, I didn’t know if anyone would really notice Camping’s big news, as he is somewhat of a fringe TV preacher.

But everyone loves a good End-of-the-World guarantee, so Camping is getting quite a lot of media attention. Plus, his Family Radio Network has billboards up all over the country — I saw one the other day on the Garden State Parkway — warning of the Big Day.

Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer, also has a small army of followers driving around the country and letting people know not to bother planning anything for Memorial Day.

One volunteer told NPR: “I no longer think about 401(k)s and retirement. I’m not stressed about losing my job, which a lot of other people are in this economy. I’m just a lot less stressed, and in a way I’m more carefree.”

The UK Independent’s most popular on-line story at the moment is: “US preacher warns end of the world is nigh”

Camping, who is based in Oakland, is not predicting an immediate global apocalypse. He is saying, based on his reading of the Bible, that Jesus will return on May 21 and that saved Christians — he says about 2 percent of the world’s population — will be raptured to heaven. Everyone else will face God’s judgment. The world will be destroyed 153 days later, he says.

You can read all about it at WeCanKnow.com. The website was, until recently, taking orders for We Can Know materials. But they’ve stopped: “With our Lord’s Return such a short time away, we are no longer offering free printed materials since there is not enough time remaining for us to effectively produce and distribute them.”

Makes sense, I guess.

Most media accounts point out that Camping previously predicted that most of us would be goners on Sept. 6, 1994. When that didn’t happen, he chalked it up to a mathematical error.

Well, May 21 is Saturday. Come Sunday, if Camping is wrong, I’m sure he’ll get quite a few interview requests.

I get the feeling that a lot of people are gearing up to make fun of him, which would be kind of sad.

AP Photo