As an atheist and a skeptic, I try to limit my magical thinking to occasional moments of vanity and revenge. But lately I’ve found myself wishing that if the Rapture is on the level, it would happen soon . . . I mean real soon.
The Rapture is the name given to a future event in which Jesus descends from heaven and gathers up all Christian fundamentalists [a.k.a. Christian Right] and swooshes them up bodily to heaven, but not before they’ve jettisoned their clothes and jewelry and all forms of prostheses, including pompadour hairpieces and inflatable bouffant support bladders.
Before I get too far into this, I want it understood that I’m not wishing these folks ill. On the contrary, I’m wishing them what they’ve always wanted—an eternity of enjoying the unchallenged moral certitude they were never quite able to fully enjoy here on Earth, but which nonetheless caused the rest of us no end of misery.
The signs for finally seeing the backside of the Christian Right are encouraging. According to raptureready.com, the Rapture Index (omens portending the Rapture) stands at 163, the highest it’s been since September 11, 2001 when it peaked at its all-time high of 182. I don’t know what the numbers mean either. But I’m not making this up.
It appears Jesus is getting his transition team in place, what with the recent raptures—albeit by conventional means—of the Rev. D. James Kennedy, godfather of the American Dominionist [a.k.a. theofascist] movement and hater of our secular constitution, and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and hater of all people he could think of to hate.
I do wish the Lord would get his jesters assembled and move on this. Think what the Rapture will mean to those of us left behind.
Twenty-three percent of the 208 million adults in America identify themselves as either Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians [a.k.a. Rapture-ready]. In the event of the Rapture up to 50 million workers will be leaving their jobs without clocking out. The number of positions vacated will be five times as many needed to wipe out the country’s unemployment, leaving the rest of us in a workers’ paradise. Affirmative action be damned! It’s “trickle up” economics at work here.
Not only will our career paths be enhanced, but we’ll have a chance at longer, healthier lives by taking the untold billons of dollars President Bush is currently funneling into the Christian Right’s faith-based coffers to save “Americans one soul at a time" and reallocating them to stem cell research and universal health care, which will save considerably more of an American than just his or her ethereal soul.
Along with vocational upgrades and improved health, we’ll no longer have to wonder, “is our kids learning?” High school grads having trouble gaining admission to one of our over-crowded universities will have immediate access to the vacant desks—and possibly iPods—left by the tens of thousands of Rapture-ready students attending America’s 102 “Christ-centered” colleges, which will be under new management and begging for warm bodies.
And guys, speaking of warm bodies, the universities will be flush with coeds since far fewer teenage girls will be home taking care of their babies—there were 435,000 teen mothers last year. The hundreds of millions of federal dollars spent annually on abstinence-only sex education [a.k.a. religious dogma] in our public high schools will now fund comprehensive sex education programs that promote safe and effective birth control methods. Let’s face it. It was only the Christian Right who thought hormone-pumped primates would ever stop “doing it.”
By the way, do I even need to mention that with the Rapture-ready blissfully ensconced behind the pearly gates the rest of us will be left in peace to enjoy our bedrooms and our most personal intimate relationships on our own terms?
Unarguably though, the highlight of the Rapture will be finding out which of the “born-again” politicians are left on the ground. Unless someone has been lying to the American people—perish the thought—we stand to lose 48 Senators, 186 Representatives, four Supreme Court justices, seven presidential hopefuls, and one hopeless president.
If it turns out—highly unlikely though it is— that the 2008 presidential frontrunners of both parties are missing on Rapture-plus-one, we’ll enjoy the remaining election season with candidates who’ve always been willing to talk about more substantive issues than their most recent meet and greet with the Lord. The God-talk will be in heaven where it belongs.
Consider this . . . with a smile. If the Democrats with Dennis Kucinich and Al Gore—we can talk him into it—or the Greens with Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader can’t defeat the unraptured and unrepentant Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani on their own merits, we’ll now own the Supreme Court.
There is a downside. We know damn-good-and-well who’ll be sitting at his Oval Office desk with a “fooled you again” smirk on his mug on Rapture-plus-one. But keep in mind, we’ll still have Section 4 of Article II of the Constitution and we’ll have the votes and we’ll have the prison. Keep in mind also, gods mostly help those who help themselves.
Having imagined all the above, my thinking is not so magical as to believe there won’t be a few post-Rapture problems. After all, according to Revelations this will be the time of the Great Tribulation and we’ll still have Satan [a.k.a. your choice] to wrestle with. But with the Christian Right enjoying eternity . . . well . . . who cares where, we’ll have only one Devil in the ring at a time. And he’ll be the one carrying a pitchfork not a Bible.