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Harold Camping/Associated Press photo by Jose Sanchez

On the job

Religion | A somewhat humbled Harold Camping continues to look at the Bible as a code to crack

Issue: "Border bandits," Dec. 3, 2011

The Harold Camping saga appears, for better or worse, to have at least one more chapter. The "documentarian" who revealed that Harold Camping was retiring from Family Radio may not have represented himself-or Camping-honestly. Shortly after The Christian Post reported in a "Harold Camping Exclusive" that Camping was retiring, Camping's daughter disputed the claim. Camping has stepped back from some responsibilities, said Susan Espinoza, but remains the general manager for Family Radio. Brandon Tauszik, she claimed, had concealed his journalistic intentions in order to penetrate the inner circle of Camping's fellowship and family.

Camping also posted an audio message on the Family Radio website in which he apologizes for questioning the salvation of those who did not believe in his doomsday prophecy. Seeking to understand why the expected judgment day failed to materialize, Camping says that he has been "checking my own notes more carefully than ever" and he finds that "there is other language in the Bible that we still have to look at very carefully." While the 90-year-old radio preacher does not seem to have abandoned the notion that esoteric biblical codes can reveal the dates of critical events in God's salvific plan, he does sound a humbler note. The story of his failed predictions "seems embarrassing for Family Radio," but God was the storyteller and He could have changed the plot at any time. "God is still on the throne," and "we must not feel for a moment that we have been abandoned."

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Strategic appointment

Photo by Andrew Councill/MCT/Newscom

The Obama White House has courted centrist Christians on issues like adoption and fatherhood in recent years, and on Oct. 12 President Obama explained to the National Association of Evangelicals' executive committee how the faith community can support his jobs plan. Now the president and the Democratic National Committee have appointed Derrick Harkins, a board member of the NAE, to direct religious outreach for the 2012 election.

The appointment provoked opposition within progressive circles, as Harkins, like many African-American pastors, does not support same-sex marriage or unfettered access to abortion. Gwen Ashby of Believe Out Loud characterized the appointment as a disappointment and a "missed opportunity."

Defending his appointment, Harkins said that the Democrats allow for diversity of opinion on gay marriage and abortion. The left's outrage at the appointment may suggest otherwise. Still, according to Luke Moon from the Institute for Religion and Democracy, the appointment of the evangelical Harkins to head Obama's religious outreach "fits nicely into the left's strategy to fracture the traditionally conservative evangelical vote."- Tim Dalrymple

Higher plan?

Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The unemployment crisis has grown so severe that God has revealed which policies will restore job growth. So, at least, President Obama implied when he chided the House of Representatives for taking time to affirm "In God We Trust" as the national motto. "I trust in God," said the president in a Nov. 2 speech, "but God wants to see us help ourselves, by putting people back to work." (See Quotables, Nov. 19.)

At a press conference later that day, a reporter asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about the statement. Carney replied: "I believe the phrase from the Bible is, 'The Lord helps those who help themselves.'" Yet this, as WORLD readers know, is not a biblical phrase at all. The White House later issued a correction: "This common phrase does not appear in the Bible."

When CNN investigated the phenomenon of "phantom scriptures" five months ago, Rabbi Rami Shapiro explained: "Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book." Instead, "They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in."

Just so. - Tim Dalrymple


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