You may have seen billboards like the one above on Highway 71 near the airport. You may have read the various Tweets, or the numerous stories in print and on-air. The May 21 meme is ostensibly the product of Harold Camping, the 89-year-old founder of Family Radio, who says he calculated the exact date of the Rapture to be this Saturday. His organization and its supporters paid to install Judgment Day billboards across the country.
A caravan of three recreational vehicles drove through Austin in February to deliver the warning and hand out fliers at the University of Texas and outside a Longhorns basketball game, according to a travel log entry on the Family Radio website.
At least one local promoter is using the threat of Armageddon to encourage folks to attend one last show at the Mohawk. The AV Club Austin even posted some Judgment Day entertainment for people left behind after the Rapture.
There is no shortage of Christian priests and pastors who dismiss Camping’s prophecy. Robert Jeffress, a pastor at the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, wrote on CNN.com that he believes the May 21st Doomsday movement harms Christianity.
In discussing His return to Earth, Jesus told His disciples, “... of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36).
If God has not even revealed to his own son the date the world will end, I doubt he has revealed it to Harold Camping.
While it is hard to get an exact count on the number of Judgment Day signs in Austin, the ABC affiliate in Dallas, WFAA, reported that more than sixteen were installed throughout that Metroplex.