Nothing for Money
End of the World, Mayan Edition jokes were all the rage at every new year’s party, and they’ll continue to be popular throughout 2012. If you don’t find them funny or are already starting to feel Death Clock fatigue, you’re going to hate the rest of this year. As we get closer to December 21, the jokes will get worse, the news will devote actual coverage to this, and teenage boys will try to convince girlfriends to let them into their panties because time’s running out. Sometimes it’ll even work. In fact, we have a recent precedent for how everyone reacts when a group says the world’s going to end thanks to Harold Camping’s Family Radio Worldwide's bullshit proclamation that we were all going to die on May 21 of last year.
After I interviewed Tom Evans, one of the Family Radio heads a month before that prediction came and went like a fart bubble in a bath tub, everyone I spoke to had the same reaction: They’re fucking crazy. But harmless crazy, so let’s all laugh at them and move on with our lives. And they were crazy, yes. And the correct reaction was, of course, to chuckle at their expense. But harmless, they were decidedly not.
If you were paying close enough attention to the news in the days after the Supposed Last Day you would have seen a lot of stories of people who lost their money by donating it to this “prophet.” Some lady lost her $300,000 inheritance because her cah-razy aunt gave it to Camping & Co. Some other dude dropped his $140,000 life savings to help out the campaign. People quit jobs and sold homes. And sure, some of that money went to erecting billboards and purchasing RVs to travel the country and warn people of their impending doom, but Camping couldn’t have possibly used all that money, right? So, the question is, just how much was he left with after The Rapture failed to materialize?
Reports vary. Some say the church earned a cool $56 mil from the failed prediction. Others go with $72 million. One goes as high as $120 million. No one’s quite sure. What everyone is sure of, however, is that Camping is sitting on a shit-ton of money.
But that’s just a bunch of stupid people getting rid of their stupid money, right? Serves them right, supporting a half-crazed nutball like that! In fact, I’m going to draw a line right here in this large bin of sand, so us brain-havers can step on one side of it. But hold up there, anyone who pays a tithing or drops a quarter in the collection plate, you stay on that side with Camping’s flock. They may actually be the sanest (donation-wise, at least) of the lot of you.
While their specific take isn’t clear because, wisely, the Catholic Church makes it not very easy to obtain this information, the church’s net gain, their profit, in the year 2000 was $8 million. Adjust for inflation, and realize they rake in this type of dough every year, and soon enough you're not talking millions anymore, but billions with a motherfucking b.
Onto to the roundup!
- Ben Stein claims, kind of hilariously, that he was fired because he believes there’s no such thing as global warming, because “God, not man, controls the weather.”
- Rick Santorum’s campaign, truly, is the gift that continues to give. Or frothily leak out, whatever your preferred expression is. One of his staffers wrote an email last year that basically said God does not want a woman president.
- A creepy organization of 150 evangelical leaders in Texas who, in turn, represent thousands of their congregants? They love Santorum more because he believes in idiotic things like that.
- And Santorum’s super anti-choice wife? Apparently she used to live with/date an abortionist for a while back in her 20s. Maybe her passion is less about following God’s Word and more getting back at an ex?
- Fox News went apeshit because President Obama—who, the article points out, “rarely attends church”—took a mass as the Zion Baptist Church, which once sort of supported the whole Occupy movement.
- A suicide bomber in Iraq disguised as a policeman pulled that old Trojan Horse technique, blowing himself up, along with 53 others, near a Shiite temple.
- The Pope condemns the current trends of limiting religious freedom. Translation: "Religious folk need to be free to hate and be bigoted. Let's not let basic human civil rights get in the way!"
- A remote-controlled bomb was detonated near a Shia Muslim procession in Pakistan, killing 18.
- In that whole Israel/Palestine mess, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a law that keeps Palestinians who marry Israelis from getting citizenship, in order to make sure that Israel remains, forever and ever, a Jewish-majority state.
- Science proved that it’s actually much, much easier (from a brain-usage standpoint, at least) to be religious than not.
- Good news: A mother in North Carolina is challenging a Bible giveaway at her son’s public school because of the whole “keeping religion out of the classroom” thing. Bad news: The whole story’s probably just going to turn into one of those “Weird News from the Countryside” bits, since the mother in question practices Witchcraft.
- And finally: Dan Savage brought my attention to this website that offers practicing Roman Catholics the opportunity to purchase cilices, or spiked metal belts that you can wear around your thighs, allowing you to adequately pay for your terrible, disgusting sins by enduring pain in the privacy of your own pants.
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