What if the 'Rapture' happened but you were left behind? That's what millions of Christians are wondering amid mounting evidence that the Rapture, the much-anticipated event in which God summons his faithful to the heavens, may have happened earlier this month. Among the startled 'still here': House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, just one of the political leaders who had expected to be making the trek skyward.
From Capitol Hill to Kansas, finger pointing and questioning: 'why are we still here?'
By Deanna Swift
Editor's note: After receiving hundreds of e-mails questioning the veracity of this article, the Swift Report conducted an internal investigation and later retracted the story. The official retraction can be read here.
WASHINGTON, DC--When House Majority Leader Tom DeLay delivered a moving speech from the halls of Congress last week, in which he argued that his political enemies are persecuting him because of his religious faith, there was just one problem: he wasn't supposed to be there. Earlier this month, say observers, the 'Rapture,' the much-anticipated event in which God summons his faithful to the heavens, finally happened.
But instead of Mr. DeLay and millions of other believers making the skyward trek, the biblical bash appears to have been an exclusive, invitation-only affair. As of today, fewer than three dozen Christians are confirmed to have been 'raptured,' leaving their rejected brethren to deal with seven years of Tribulation, a turbulent period marked by the return of the anti-Christ.
For those who had hoped to be cashing in on their heavenly rewards, these are days of soul searching and regret. From Capitol Hill to the mega-churches of the south, disappointed travelers are asking the same questions: 'Why not me?' 'What did I do wrong?' and 'Was it something I said?'
The lucky few
David Dumé, originally of Spring Hill, KS, appears to be among the lucky few who are currently enjoying the company of the world's most famous father. Mr. Dumé, who had recently returned to Kansas from Hollywood, where he enjoyed a short but lucrative career in adult-themed films, was expected to attend a potluck supper and informal prayer session at the Spring Hill Baptist Church—but disappeared from site just minutes after reaching the building.
Stunned onlookers say that they watched aghast as Mr. Dumé "flew up through the ceiling," leaving a pile of clothing, gold jewelry, an outsized diamond-covered crucifix, and several piercings and chains behind. Experts say that the fact that Mr. Dumé and others cast off such earthly accoutrements is another sure sign that they were indeed raptured.
And the not-so-lucky
The pastor of the church, Roy DeLong, who is also an active supporter of conservative political causes including a constitutional ban on gay marriage and private Social Security accounts, says that he is personally shocked that Mr. Dumé was chosen to make the trip, while he and so many other more faithful believers remain behind. "He was not even a regular presence around here, that's what's so startling. I don't want to say that mistakes were made, but you really have to wonder about the selection process here," says Pastor DeLong.
DeLong, who also heads up the Baptist Leadership Council, will join other prominent Christian leaders, including the Reverends Tim Lahaye, James Dobson and Franklin Graham, for an emergency meeting later this week. "At this point, we're concluding that this was probably a practice round before the real deal," says Pastor DeLong. "That's the only way this makes any sense. He left behind all of the wrong people. Why would He do that?"
The right—left behind
Meanwhile, no one appears to have made the trip upwards from Capitol Hill. Beltway observers had speculated that dozens of high-profile leaders, including President Bush and Representative DeLay, would be raptured, possibly setting off a complex battle over succession within the halls of power.
So certain were these men that their earthly tenure was coming to an end, say sources, that they scheduled a lengthy break over the Easter weekend. While Stewart Roy, a spokesman for Mr. DeLay, refused to acknowledge that the House Majority Leader has indeed been left behind, he did confirm that the Texas representative is taking some much-needed time off. "Let's just say that there are some unexpected openings in his schedule. I'm not going to say anything more than that."
Deanna Swift can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org