The official Left Behind Web site boasts that 64 million people may be "potentially reached" by the "film project," despite a paltry opening-weekend gross of $2,158,780. The site also lists distribution goals; in Kansas City, the movie graces only five screens, not its hoped-for sixteen. Perhaps it hasn't scared up enough "grassroots" sponsors -- followers willing to put up $3,000 to get the film into a theater. But when a movie's best performance comes from Kirk Cameron, it's unlikely Jason George and family, the Kansas Baptist Temple or Shepherd's Connection Christian Store will recoup their investments.
Real-life events also may be cause for the end-times jitters, since the political landscape is now eerily reminiscent of the scorched-earth visions celebrated by Ronald Reagan. After all, George W. Bush has calamitously placed an isolationist, Colin Powell, in charge of international relations; a tree hater, Gail Norton, as protector of our national parks; and a civil rights foe, John Ashcroft, in charge of law enforcement.
The former Missouri senator has clearly stated his right not to disclose whether his religious beliefs (and the Assemblies of God do believe in the apocalypse) will affect his law enforcement. "I think article five of the Constitution makes that clear," Ashcroft told senators. With that, the judiciary committee had to scrap some of the more than 368 follow-up questions it wanted Ashcroft to answer before his February 1 confirmation. The Pitch has since discovered those questions on wadded-up sheets of paper in Russ Feingold's office:
Senator Ashcroft, will you appoint a Mormon or Catholic as top deputy so someone can take over for you after the Rapture?
General Ashcroft, will you be able to focus the FBI's anti-terrorist efforts on Osama bin Laden, or will you be too obsessed with tracking down Gog and Magog?
Mr. Ashcroft, if you found out who the Antichrist was, would you attempt to bring him to justice, or would you let him destroy the globe so that Scripture might be fulfilled?