Ever since last week's WSJ essay on Iran and the Apocalypse, I can't read enough on the topic -- I'm riveted. It's not because I want the End of the World to go down...quite the opposite. I'm trying to understand why anyone -- regardless of their religious beliefs -- would want to vaporize the world, float up into the sky and watch sinners/infidels burn in hell. I've yet to be successful. Even salvation does not sound nearly as much fun as what I've got going on in the coming weeks and months: Caroline's first day of preschool, dinner plans at Toro, tickets to Keane, Baby Bags' arrival, the weddings of Brownguy and T-Bag (not to each other). These zealots need to HOLD. THEIR. HORSES. Or get out more often. Make some plans. Live a little.
So, over a glass of Cavit, I put together this little Apocalypse round-up. It is conversation fodder best enjoyed over cocktails -- some of it's frightening, some is straight up hilarious -- all of it's unimaginable.
Ahmadinejad Gives me the Willies
I watched the Mike Wallace 60 Minutes interview with Ahmadinejad twice last night and I can't get over how much the dictator looks like Patrick Dempsey rocking a Zeke beard.
But that's irrelevant. I was disappointed that the interview never got into this guy's wild-eyed desire to bring about the end of the world by fueling the chaos in the Middle East. Wallace questioned Ahmadinejad's nuclear intentions and challenged comments he'd made about ridding the world of Israel and the U.S. but he never once questioned Ahmadinejad's Apocalyptic agenda -- an agenda the Iranian president has made no secret of. Last year, he personally supervised construction of a massive mosque and prayer halls to accommodate the throngs of Shi’ite muslims who he expects will flock to Iran for the return of the Hidden Imam a.k.a the Islamic Messiah "within the next two years." Then again, Ahmadinejad seemed more likely to bust into the African Anteater Ritual than give straight answers. While the interview on its face was unrevealing, the dictator's beady eyes told the real story. The man scares me -- so much so, I had an unsettling dream after watching him. I was driving to Panera and spotted him walking down the middle of Route 53, right along the double yellow line. As he got closer to my car, I could see he was looking right at me and I wasn't able to turn my head or my eyes away. I woke up with my heart beating out of my chest. While the dream seemed silly in the light of day, I still plan to sleep with the light on tonight.
”You’ve Got a Better Chance of Seeing Jesus"
It's not only Shi'ite Muslims and Iranians who are courting disaster. Seems the Evangelical Christians in this country are wicked pumped about the possibility of Armageddon via nuclear annihilation too. While they look much goofier than the Muslim extremists, they are infused with the same brand of zeal that compels terrorists to whip up bomb juice in a bottle of saline solution.
Ordinarily, this wouldn't be such a big deal. However, the religious leaders -- powerful lobbyists for the Christian right -- are bringing the Armageddon agenda to the White House, politicizing "end times" like gay marriage and stem cells. They believe prophecy should play a role in foreign policy decisions and have the means and will to make it happen.
For instance, John Hagee, an influential pastor of one of those stadium-sized mega-churches in Texas, specifically believes that Israel must strike Iran's nuclear facilities in order to move things along. He is using his best-selling book, “Jerusalem Countdown,” his internationally broadcast TV talk show, and viral marketing offered by a network of mega churches to mobilize popular support for a war with Iran. Holy ass.
I don’t care if your Messiah is Jesus, the Hidden Imam or the Hamburglar. When Apocalypse-courting zealots have the ear of U.S. policymakers, it may very well be time to reset the Doomsday Clock.
The Rapture Index is a popular evangelical Christian Web site that bills itself as "a Dow Jones industrial average of end-time activity. The site monitors "prophetic activity" by calculating a global rise in natural disasters, war and inflation. An index below 85 signifies a week of "slow prophetic activity." Anything above 145 signals the Apocalypse is near.
The Rapture Index this week: 160. Hit the deck.