An Open Letter to Harold Camping

Dear Harry (can I call you that? I feel like we've grown pretty familiar in the last 17 years you've been predicting the Rapture would occur),

We live in a very scary world. Wars don't seem to have end dates anymore. They drag on for years without any given side saying, "OK. You won." Why? Because we no longer fight against something specific. We fight against terror and individuals who would like to inspire terror through aggressive actions. We call those people terrorists. Do you dislike terrorists, Harry? I don't like them, that's for sure.

I have to say, both on Sept. 6, 1994 and on May 21, 2011, I feel like you did something that was not so great. In fact, I'll say it was pretty awful. Let's disregard for the moment that you led people (good people, honest God-loving people) to take their life savings and put it into propagating a message that you falsely led them to believe would be helpful to others. Let's set aside the fact that you have cited the gay pride movement as one of the signs of the apocalypse. Let's instead focus on what I perceive as the biggie: You're a fear monger.

You trade in fear. You use it to manipulate good people to believe what you believe and tell them that if they don't they will die a horrible death. Earthquakes, locusts, you name it. You have claimed that if I don't get all of my friends and family into your specific branding of God's plan, then they are screwed. Utilizing the people who would believe that, you attempted to strike fear into the heart of our great nation. For weeks we would hear that millions of lives would be lost if we did not follow what you believe. That is why I believe that you, Harold Camping, have terrorized America.

Here's the thing: you thought you were doing the right thing. I get that. I really do. You wanted people to seek God's love and then be saved. It's the whole "If you don't do exactly what I believe, you are damned" side of the coin that I think is really aggressive and hateful.

It's a shame we live in a culture where thousands, if not millions, of people nervously checked their watches at 6 p.m. on May 21. We live in a culture of fear. You're not helping us move beyond fear. You're indulging in it. Stop attacking our nation with your aggressive campaigns.

Peddle in love, not hate, Harry. You are getting on in years, and I doubt you want to be remembered as a fear-monger. Also, I for one would appreciate an apology. I'd do the same for you if I falsely predicted you were going to be killed for your beliefs.

Yours sincerely,