Atheists, agnostics, and other non-theists are scoffing at the impending May 21 rapture date, claimed by “prophet” Harold Camping, and instead planning to gather Saturday for a summit on how to spread secularism in America.
The Secular Coalition for America – made up of 10 non-theist groups including the American Atheists, American Humanist Association, and Secular Student Alliance – said more than 100 non-theistic activists will gather on Capitol Hill for its first-ever Biennial Strategic Summit.
Beginning on Thursday and ending on May 21, the summit will bring together “America’s growing secular movement” to form strategies to advance public policies that promote the separation of church and state and other secular values.
“Faith-based groups for 2,000 years have been preparing for the end times, while reality-based groups such as the Secular Coalition and our allies have been hard at work to improve present times and plan for our nation’s future,” said Herb Silverman, president and founder of the Secular Coalition for America.
Camping, founder of the Family Radio network, claims that May 21 is the date when true believers will be raptured and on October 21 God will destroy the world. The 89-year-old had previously predicted that the world would end in 1994, but later said he miscalculated and now he is sure of the date.
His followers have helped put up more than 1,200 billboards nationwide warning about May 21. But Christians, overwhelmingly, are not taking the claim seriously.
In a show of strength against the “Christian fundamentalist,” Secular Coalition for America members will gather on the predicted rapture date to figure out how to reduce the influence of religion on public policy.
Sean Faircloth, executive director of the coalition, claims that the secular movement is returning America to the secular government envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
But Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, argues that the Secular Coalition misunderstands the meaning of separation of church and state to mean that there is no place for religion in the public square.
“We’re not looking to censor the atheists. They’re free to meet, to talk, to lobby. But we don’t find the opposite is true. We find that often times the goal of aggressive atheists is to censor Christians,” said Wright, according to Roll Call.
While atheists and evangelical Christians have plenty to argue about, both of them, for the most part, would agree that life will go on after May 21.