Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When recordings betray you

Harold Camping, the 89-year-old self-proclaimed "Bible teacher" (he never refers to himself as a "minister" or preacher, contrary to references in SF Gate.com and other reports), is being released from the hospital after treatment for a mild stroke which he suffered a few days ago. Camping is the head of Family Radio, an obscure but world-reaching Christian radio station which he used to disseminate a prediction that Christ would return on May 21 this year.

That prediction, its failure, and Camping's rescheduling of the apocalypse to Oct. 21, has been widely covered. In the meantime, what's Family Radio been doing with its main announcer and on-air presence down with a stroke?

Running recorded programs, that's what. And they don't do him any favors. There's no way of telling when the recorded versions of his daily "Open Forum" call-in show were recorded, but they give us a noticeably younger and more in-control Camping. His voice has always been gravelly and monotonous, but in the last year or two has been quivering with age. The recordings only point up the contrast to his present state.

Another program in which Camping has been going through the Old Testament book of Ruth seems to have been recorded even longer ago than the "Open Forum" recordings now running. He sounds positively middle-aged, his voice powerful and steady. All the sadder for this misguided man.

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