Even while apocalyptic visionary Harold Camping was predicting the beginning of the end on 5/21/11, some were lodging complaints with the FCC seeking the beginning of the end for Camping’s Family Radio broadcasting empire. It was suggested that he was creating a public panic and actual harm, and that the group’s broadcast licenses should be revoked.
The influx of complaints to the FCC did not add up to a groundswell, by any stretch of the imagination. Newspaper Bay Area Citizen invoked the Freedom of Information Act and was rewarded with a total of seven complaints filed between January and May 2011.
The complaints involved using Camping’s claims to raise money for Family Radio, causing panic and financial catastrophe, and attacking homosexual and “…distributing hateful and homophobic messages on-air including ‘Gay Pride is a sign of the end of the world.’”
One complainant went straight to the core, saying that Camping had “…abrogated his responsibility as a broadcaster of public airwaves. His licenses should be revoked.”
There were many stories of Camping followers letting their finances lapse or using their own money to spread the doomsday message.
Here’s another indication of possible damage resulting from the 5/21 campaign – according to Christian News, a 39-year-old Eugene OR alleged follower was receiving teasing from co-workers for his 5/21 warnings and the subsequent failure of the prediction, and it eventually wound up in the non-fatal shooting of another co-worker.
The entire drama wound up giving Camping so much notoriety that we found an article on a completely unrelated topic that made Camping’s name a part of the language in its own right. Discussing an analyst’s prediction of the coming demise of municipal bonds, MarketWatch used the following headline: “Whitney goes Harold Camping on munis.”
Finally, word comes from the Los Angeles Times that no less than Dolly Parton has included a song on her latest album that takes on Doomsday prognosticators in general.
It is not specifically about Camping. Parton says she started writing the song years ago. She said, ““I was very inspired to write it when some other crazy loony tune was saying the world was coming to an end. Some people are just so scared they don’t know what to do.” LAT says that it’s clear the Family Radio incident inspired Parton to dust the song off and get it out there for public consumption.
RBR-TVBR observation: While these tales of Family Radio are interesting, the odds of any action whatsoever by the FCC are slim to none. Religion happens to be legal in the US – and the government does not get to pick one over another, nor does it have any jurisdiction over the content of a religion’s teachings, or the decision of an American to freely give money to a church. Parton shines the light on the path available to anybody who does not share Camping’s vision – the use of the same freedoms Camping has used to counter his message.