A blog I wrote for work yesterday ...
"The next best thing to pet salvation in a post Rapture world."
I imagine most people reading that sentence have the same reaction I did: What?
I came upon the most ridiculous thing today, courtesy of fellow reporter Heather Smith. It's a website called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets — a service run by atheists who have generously offered to care for Christians' pets after the Rapture, ... just in case the atheists are wrong. (eternal-earthbound-pets.com)
Faith aside, I find the site intriguing and hilarious. It's a decent-looking website with an adorable puppy in the top right corner, and I give kudos to the web editors who accurately anticipate my burning questions in the FAQ section.
Question 1: Is this a joke?
The answer: No.
I have a hard time pinpointing my favorite part of the site, but the "notice of rate increase" is particularly amusing.
"Due to the increased activity associated with the May 21, 2011 Rapture prophesy, we have increased our service rates for all new contracts submitted as of 1/13/11."
The price of ensuring your pet's safety post-Rapture is $135. You have to pay up front, of course, but it's good for 10 years. (A portion of advertising revenue goes to local food banks.)
For that amount, the rescuers take one pet per residence into their care. Additional pets are $20. They take dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and small caged animals. Horse, camel, llama and donkey owners will be happy to hear that their own dear pets are accepted in New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho and Montana.
Twenty-six states, including North Carolina, offer this service, which employs 40 rescuers. Reps are screened to make sure they're really atheists with no criminal background.
"As atheists," the website explains, "we do not hold beliefs in the supernatural or a divine being. Thus, we do not believe in the Rapture. However, we respect the beliefs of others and are open to the possibility that our perspective could possibly be wrong." Later, it says, "Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."
All you have to do is give them your name, address, email and pet care instructions. Voila! No more sweating Pepper's future. ... Oh, but you can't communicate with the reps. That's off limits.
So what if you're a Christian when you sign up, then change your mind? What if you THINK you're going to Heaven, but find yourself still sitting on the couch, watching "Dancing With the Stars," when a news report interrupts your program with an urgent bulletin that a large portion of the world just disappeared?
Oops. ... Terms and conditions spell it out.
"If subscriber loses his/her faith and/or the Rapture occurs and subscriber is not Raptured (aka is "left behind") EE-BP disclaims any liability." No refunds.
On the bright side, if you're whisked away and it's a loved one left on the couch, the company will happily release your animal into Aunt Martha's care.
"We expect in these circumstances that the pet will offer the family member some comfort and stability given the trauma of what has occurred."
There, there, Aunt Martha. Have a camel.
While I think it's sweet of the atheists to take a parrot off my hands, I remain skeptical of this business venture. $135 up front, huh? No refunds, you say? No interaction with Fluffy's new parents? Sweet! Count me in!
(They also sell T-shirts, made of durable, pre-shrunk cotton, for both you AND your pet! Who doesn't want a little extra bonding with Fido pre-Rapture?)