According to Oakland, California's Harold Camping, the Rapture was supposed to hit American Samoa (the location of the International Dateline) at 6 p.m., on Saturday, May 21, 2011.
Despite what all the billboards claimed, that would have been 11 p.m., PST, on Friday for the west coast. And from there, the Rapture was to roll across the globe to 6 p.m.'s everywhere, killing billions along the way.
Needless to say, Camping was wrong. We're all still here. No unprecedented earthquakes. No chaos. Just an unholy deluge of End Time witticisms on a day like any other.
The notable thing is, according to the Pew Research Center, 41 percent of Americans (including plenty of politicians) believe in the Rapture. They don't all necessarily believe in a specific date. Just that it will happen and most likely before 2050. So basically, 41 percent of Americans believe sometime in the next 40 years - it's over.
Which is fine. I don't care in the slightest what myths people believe. Whether it's reincarnation, ghosts, chupacabras, yoga or the free market - it's totally OK with me. Pluralism is a mark of true freedom -- of a free society. As Americans, we can hold all sorts of beliefs and still, at the end of the day (or End of Days), be American.
So if you agree that Camping's firm date and preparations for Judgment Day were silly - and that having wacky convictions are acceptable in a free country - then you can agree that believing we are in the End Times is fine, as long "End Times" isn't our environmental policy.
There's an adage, "Trust God, but lock your doors." How about, "Believe in the Rapture, but still plan for the future."
With that being said: Climate change is real.
Weather is to an inch as climate is to a mile. Meaning: Climate is the big picture, and weather is what's happening on The Weather Channel. Meaning: Winter is not evidence against the Earth's warming.
Patterns of extreme weather are caused by climate change. And 100-year floods every decade, and devastating tornadoes, don't care what you think about Al Gore's PowerPoint presentations. Unless you own stock in an oil or coal company, still doubting the glaciers are disappearing is denying against your own interest.
The weather doesn't care if you believe in global warming, don't believe in global warming or do, but don't think it's caused by human activity. Weather kills indiscriminately, regardless of opinion.
According to reports, despite any climate change deniers, FEMA is still preparing for more floods and bigger hurricanes. Which, dare I say it, is smart government planning: Listen to scientists.
Because there is no global warming "debate."
There's consensus among scientists (people whose job is to study the big picture of climate) - and then there are others who, for whatever reason, just say "nu-uh." A debate is when two sides each have a plausible case to present: A Middle East peace plan is a debate; a solution to our unmatched incarceration rate is a debate; a strategy for a more effective education system is a debate.
Global warming denial is like closing your eyes to make your opponent disappear.
Saying there is a debate on global warming is like saying there's controversy surrounding teal really being a color. And I will be able to use that comparison as long as President Obama does not come out in favor of the color teal ...
The debate we should be having right now is what we're going to do about climate change. What this will mean for our future, and what steps are necessary.
And since the Republicans like to claim to be the adults making tough decisions for our children and grandchildren - let them prove it by being leaders on climate change legislation.
You know -- open their eyes.
Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and fill-in host at The Young Turks. Tina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.