I’m sorry to say that this will probably be my last column, due to circumstances beyond my control. Apparently, the world is ending.
In fact, by the time you read this, the apocalypse should be well under way. As I write, we are mere hours away from the rapture, the time when Jesus returns to earth and summons his most loyal followers — only about 3 percent of the world’s population — to a happy rendezvous in the sky. The rest of us — I’m a Washingtonian, a journalist and a Jew, so I’m sure to be “left behind”— will have five months of wailing, gnashing of teeth and climbing over corpses until the last of us dies on Oct. 21 in the Battle of Armageddon.
As you likely have heard, this is based on painstaking mathematical calculations done by religious broadcaster Harold Camping of Family Radio and advertised on billboards across America and in more emails than I can count. According to Camping, God has decided to have a rolling apocalypse, holding it at 6 p.m. May 21 in each time zone, taking daylight saving time into account as he calls his followers to their celestial destiny with “great joy and wonder.”
If you are reading this, then, bad news: You, too, have been left behind (unless you somehow downloaded it to your iPad in the Kingdom of Heaven). So before we go on with our doomsday, let us pause to consider what brought us to this time of tribulation.
Camping points to traditional signs: the creation of the State of Israel, and the spread of “gay pride.” But if we think about it, the signs of the End of Days were all around us. We just didn’t know it because our air-traffic controllers had fallen asleep. Consider:
The Banishment of the Newt: A high-priest of the Republican Party is disowned by his peers, doused with glitter and forced to endure the disclosure of his six-figure debt to Tiffany & Co.
The Temptation of the Huck: Mike Huckabee, once a Baptist minister and the preferred presidential candidate of religious conservatives, is tempted by dark forces to forgo a run for the White House and instead jams with Ted Nugent on Fox News.
False Prophet: Donald Trump, whose bushy orange hair burns but is not consumed, abandons his efforts to prove that President Barack Obama is the Kenyan-born anti-Christ in favor of a renewed contract as a reality TV star.
Second Coming of the Fornicator: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s marriage is terminated by his wife, Maria Shriver, because of his secret love-teenager. Meanwhile, commentators speculate that all of Europe will be destabilized because the head of the International Monetary Fund is sent to Rikers Island on charges of attempted rape.
Strange Phenomena in the Sky: Air Force One has an aborted landing in Connecticut. The first lady’s plane has a close call with a military cargo jet at Andrews Air Force Base. Moments after Air Force Two lands in Chicago, two jets at O’Hare nearly collide.
Secret Anti-Fox Plot Revealed: The Secret Service joins the not-so-secret medium of Twitter and promptly divulges details of its conspiracy against Fox News. A tweet from the official Secret Service account discloses: “Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can’t. Deal. With. The. Blathering.”
Collapse of Economic Laws: Congressional Republicans proclaim it might be a good thing if the United States defaults on its national debt. The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, determines that the budget-cutting deal reached in April actually increased discretionary spending.
Disruption in the Holy Land: Glenn Beck takes a break from his fights with the Anti-Defamation League to travel to Israel.
Sins of the Flesh: Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who represents a large number of Apostolic Christians, takes off everything but his gym shorts and sneakers to pose for a glossy magazine. An ethics report on excommunicated Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., reveals that he chose the National Prayer Breakfast as a place to tell his mistress that he wanted to marry her.
In retrospect, so many signs were not a coincidence. All that was missing was for the Messiah to reveal Himself. Or, as it turned out, Herself. This, too, was right before our eyes.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” Rep. Michele Bachmann told Fox News, announcing plans to accelerate her announcement of a presidential run. “People are saying, ‘Michele jump in, we want you to run.’”
Bachmann for president? You can keep your apocalypse, Mr. Camping. This is rapture.
Dana Milbank is a columnist for The Washington Post. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.