This evening, an event will occur that will make all the controversies and scandals of the last week seem somewhat irrelevant — at least according to American evangelical Harold Camping. He says that 6pm today is the time of the Rapture, as foretold in Thessalonians 4:17: all those “true believers” who accept Jesus Christ as their one true saviour will be taken up to heaven.
For those of us left, we might wonder who will lead us through the “chaos and awful suffering” following both the loss of 40 per cent of the UK population and the earthquakes that will accompany it. Our Prime Minister — with his “sort of fairly classic Church of England faith” — would be gone. So too would the majority of his Cabinet, but atheist Nick Clegg and Muslim Baroness Warsi would remain to guide us through the difficult times. Ed Miliband would also stay on this plane of existence to lead Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition, albeit with a severly depleted frontbench.
And what about the hundreds of by-elections that would surely follow the ascendancy of all those Christian MPs? How would an electorate devoid of Christians vote? Well, here’s how voting intention broke down by religion in Ipsos-MORI’s polls in the run-up to the 2005 general election (I’m afraid I can’t find more recent reliable data):
So the Conservatives would be in trouble without Christians — particularly Anglicans, amongst whom they were at 44 per cent. Labour would lose their strong Catholic support (the polls suggested they would take more than 53 per cent of the vote from them), but had strong leads among those of other faiths (43 per cent) and no faith (38 per cent).