After the not-rapture

The post from two days ago with a short story about an alternative scenario for the rapture was, as it was labeled, fiction. It arose from an idle conversation about the then-predicted rapture, and nothing more should be read into it.

That said, on this bright sunny Sunday morning, May 22, 2011, I am forced to wonder: how many more times can you be completely wrong before no one believes you?

Many people liken this to a weather prediction, and after all, when the weatherman isn’t right, do we stop believing everything he tells us? No, of course not. But I would submit that’s because his success rate isn’t -zero-. If it were, they’d probably replace him with someone better. But so far, apocalypse predictors are batting .000 and that fact simply makes the amazement that much more powerful when I hear people making excuses for why they’re going to just keep on believing.

For those believers, I implore: wake up. Your belief that there is going to be this catastrophic event that will result in you being completely vindicated in your faith while everyone else will suffer… is a fantasy brought on by your refusal to fully engage in this life. Please start doing that. It will not be easy, I know, and I feel for you.

For the rest of us, the watchword here is compassion. Be mindful of the fact that these people have just suffered a blow to their faith, and that hurts. They will probably be irrational, and will cling to the belief, but some will suffer crisis, and that can be very dangerous. Do not ridicule these people. It is not our way.

First Amendment not for Pagans?

This morning, a blog post over at The Wild Hunt tells us of news in a long-fought legal battle attempting to get the state of California to remove its “five faiths” requirement on who is allowed to apply to be a prison chaplain. Apparently, the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation restricts such positions to those of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Native American faiths. Patrick McCollum has been fighting to get this restriction removed, and has argued that as a Wiccan clergyman he has the standing to file said case. The case is coming up before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and we wish him luck in that case.

Of greater concern, however, is an argument being used in trying to deny him that standing. A conservative activist group called (appropriately enough) Wallbuilders had the National Legal Foundation file a brief on their behalf that claims we Pagans have no First Amendment rights. The Wild Hunt quotes the brief:

“The true historic meaning of “religion” excludes paganism and witchcraft, and thus, does not compel a conclusion that McCollum has state taxpayer standing … paganism and witchcraft were never intended to receive the protections of the Religion Clauses.Thus, in the present case there can be no violation of those clauses … Should this Court conclude that McCollum has taxpayer standing … this Court should at least acknowledge that its conclusion is compelled by Supreme Court precedent, not by history or the intent of the Framers.”

For more details, see the blog post in its entirety.