Some are throwing parties in anticipation. Others are praying. Bill McNamara is angry.
Family Radio evangelist Howard Camping's prediction that the end of days is at hand has set people atwitter over the past week. But whether or not the 83-year-old radio broadcaster's prediction is correct, McNamara considers the stir around it irresponsible.
"I think it's a bunch of hooey," said McNamara, the Teen and Youth Director at the Danbury YMCA. "I'm not particularly pleased with the organization that put it out there because they're scaring the hell out of kids...shame on them."
Camping purports to have mathematically deciphered when the Rapture, the moment in the Christian faith when human souls are resurrected and reunited with Jesus Christ, is supposed to occur. He arrived at that date, Saturday, May 21, 2011, through some interesting math and then publicized the prediction using his $160 million radio ministry, which reaches across 66 countries.
McNamara says the bold predictions are taking a visible toll closer to home.
"We have kids here who are legitimately scared," McNamara said. "They've been asking me, 'do you think the world is gonna end?' And I've said that in my opinion [Camping] is twisting scripture. It's dubious math about how [he's] arriving at that date...but whatever the case, kids are scared. They buy into this stuff."
Of note is that Camping previously predicted the Rapture would occur in September of 1994, only to see that date come and go without incident. Camping chalked it up to an error in his math, and this time is predicting not only Saturday's Rapture but also God's destruction of the Earth in five months on October 21, 2011.
McNamara said he first heard of the prediction in front of Rogers Park Middle School about two weeks ago, where he was handed a pamphlet detailing the end of the world by someone "who obviously shouldn't be in front of the school anyway." Since then, the news has been everywhere, including on a billboard in Danbury, pictured above.
The children at the YMCA have had the prediction front of mind throughout the day, according to McNamara. When he told the youths that an event on Sunday had been canceled, they immediately asked him if it was because the world was going to end.
So what will McNamara ultimately be doing on the day Camping believes the holy are set to ascend? He'll be facepainting at a YMCA event.
"My opinion is that tomorrow I'm going to wake up, I'm going to go facepainting, and then on Sunday I'm going to sleep late," he said. "That's what I told the kids. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. What am I going to do about it? If the world ends, the world ends."
Elsewhere around Connecticut, clergy members said .