RICHMOND, Vir. (CAP) - When asked to pinpoint the exact time of the Rapture - that moment when God calls the faithful to Heaven and launches the Apocalypse - the Reverend Billy Joe Moses was emphatic.
"Friday," he said, thumping his cane and gazing longingly to the heavens. To back up his claim, he then proceeded to rattle off a convoluted series of biblical passages that even impressed CAP News' own veteran Religion Correspondent Sammy Jay Bakker.
"Jesus Christ, it was amazing," recalled Bakker. "He was tying together passages from the Book of Esteban, the 438th (or Hari) Psalm, the gospel version of Candle In The Wind - it may be complete nonsense, but he sure put a lot of work into it."
The latest escalation of violence in the Middle East, the fighting that has broken out in Egypt, the constant bickering between Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees - all of this has religious fundamentalists in the states seeing a golden opportunity to leave their fake pink flamingos and NASCAR commemorative plates behind.
And they're not the only ones looking forward in anticipation.
Lawyers are raking in the bucks helping the faithful settle their affairs. Sales of Beam Me Up Jesus! bumper stickers are soaring, a boon to many retailers who have seen purchases of NRA stickers and Support The Troops magnets lag of late.
Democrats are looking to sweep every election going forward when red states turn into ghost towns. And the greedy? Well, they get everything left behind.
"We're just waiting," said Eddie Boone from his lawn chair. He and a dozen friends have been camped outside the estate of Richmond's wealthiest, and most religious, resident for the past two weeks, claiming dibs on everything visible outside the mansion, from boats to decorative lamp posts.
"I'm in for that outdoor table and chairs set down by the pool there," Boone said, pointing. "It'll look great outside the trailer."
Boone and his friends then began pondering whether Sarah Palin would be left behind or not and if so, whether she might consider wearing less clothes more often.
Regardless of when the Rapture occurs, we here at CAP News will continue to bring you complete coverage. Trust us, we aren't going anywhere.
- Rich Gray