Is Harold Camping's Radio Empire Nearing Its Own Apocalypse?
Radio evangelist Harold Camping famously predicted that the end of the world would occur in May 2011, but the only thing that appears to be ending is his radio network's financial stability.
"Oakland-based Family Radio has sold its three largest radio stations and laid off longtime staff members," reports the Associated Press. "Tax records show Harold Camping's non-profit network saw its net assets drop to $29.2 million by the end of 2011, from a net worth of $135 million four years earlier."
The numbers come from a thorough investigative report conducted by the Contra Costa Times, which also found that Family Radio took out a $30 million loan to cover operating costs in 2012 and says "former and current insiders allege the situation may be even worse than it appears, claiming donations have dropped almost 70 percent since the Rapture prediction."
But the Contra Costa Times report also acknowledges that Family Radio is "hurting like any other nonprofit in this slow-to-rebound economy," according to board member Tom Evans. He says Family Radio "is not closing, and the financial problems aren't nearly as serious as some allege."
Camping, who suffered a stroke and stepped down from day-to-day operations in June 2011, first missed the end of the world in 1994, when he claimed that Christ would come again before the end of that year. Atheist groups have sought to sue Camping for his 'fraudulent' rapture campaign, but legal precedent suggests such a suit against false religious claims would be hard to win.