Have you heard of the Left Behind books?
They are books about the end times.
They are written by two evangelical Christians -- Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
Go into any Wal-Mart, or Costco or any of the big box stores, and you will see them piled up in the book section. (Don't look in Wal-Mart for Jon Stewart's best-selling America (The Book) or George Carlin's When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? -- the giant retailer deems them too offensive.)
As soon as a new "Left Behind" book is released, it climbs the New York Times bestseller list.
Number 12 is just out.
It's called Glorious Appearing, in which Jesus returns to earth.
It's the Second Coming.
The Left Behind books have sold more than 60 million copies.
And here's the story as we understand it:
During something called "The Rapture," Jesus snatches all the true believers on earth and brings them up to heaven.
According to LaHaye, the word "rapture" comes from the Latin word "to snatch."
After The Rapture, the rest of us -- Jews, Muslims, Hindus, not born again Christians, and other non-believers -- are left here on earth to face a fiery furnace during something called "The Tribulation."
To some evangelicals, to induce the second coming, it's important that the Jewish temple be rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem -- a site holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
Building the temple on the Temple Mount could lead to World War III -- which maybe is the point.
Some evangelical Christians are now joining with extremist Jews to push this agenda.
We had heard that President Bush was a born again Christian.
So, we went to the White House earlier this week and asked Scott McLellan, the President's press secretary:
"Scott, on the Middle East -- many evangelical Christians in the United States are supporting right-wing Jews in Israel who want to rebuild the temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They (Evangelical Christians) believe this is a prerequisite for Christ's return to earth.
They believe that when Christ returns to earth -- they call this The Rapture -- He will take back with Him the true believers. And the rest -- the non-believers -- Jews, Muslims -- will be left behind to face a violent death here on earth.
As a born again Christian, does the President support efforts to rebuild the temple on the Temple Mount?"
Hearing this question, all of a sudden, Scott was in a hurry.
He mumbled something like, "I will be glad to take your question, and if there is more, I will get back to you on that," ended the press conference, and left the room.
This was unfortunate, because we also wanted to know -- does the President believe in The Rapture and does he believe that during The Rapture he will be snatched up and taken by Christ to heaven, or will he be Left Behind to face a violent death here on earth?
That question will have to wait for another day.
In any event, that's not the point of this column.
We've been writing this column for six years now.
In 1999, we decided to compile the first couple of years of columns in a book and we called it: Corporate Predators: The Hunt for Mega-Profits and the Attack on Democracy (Common Courage Press, 1999).
That book sold about 10,000 copies.
Now we have pulled together our columns from the last couple of years and put these into a second book, titled On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy (Common Courage Press).
This new book is a collection of our best writing over the past couple of years, with cartoons by the award-winning political cartoonist Oliphant.
We call our two books the "On the Rampage" series of books.
The story of the On the Rampage series of books, in a nutshell, is this:
Faceless corporations are organized to institutionalize the supremacy of money over human beings.
Corporations gain tremendous power and begin taking advantage of weak human beings.
But instead of resigning themselves to eternal corporate hell on earth, the human beings turn off their television sets, rub their eyes, refocus, begin reading On the Rampage, and ask -- what the hell have we been doing all of these years?
And they begin to organize.
And so there is hope.
In this time of darkness, we ask that you light a candle by clicking here and buying our book -- read it, or give it as a holiday gift to friends, relatives and compatriots.
Spread the word and don't be Left Behind.
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter, www.corporatecrimereporter.com. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, DC-based Multinational Monitor, www.multinationalmonitor.org. They are co-authors of On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press; www.commoncouragepress.com). (c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman.
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