Apocalypse How?

February 15, 2010

The Virginia House of Delegates struck a blow against the Antichrist last week by passing a bill that prevents insurers and employers from forcibly implanting microchips in patients.  The sponsor of the bill, Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), explained that such devices could be the "mark of the beast" described in the Book of Revelations.  "My understanding – I’m not a theologian – but there’s a prophecy in the Bible that says you’ll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times," Cole explained.  "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."  Evangelical Outreach , a website run by pastor Dan Corner, agrees that "[w]ith modern technology, it is very possible that this mark may be directly linked with a computer chip."

Microchips that store medical data have been used in pets for years.  Some have argued that microchips, for those who choose to use them, would greatly improve medical care by making a patient’s medical history instantly accessible by physicians; the FDA approved the technology for human use in 2004.  Forcing patients to undergo chip implants would be a terrible violation of privacy, and would almost certainly violate the federal constitution.  But no one, of course, has ever proposed forcibly implanting microchips in anybody.

Democratic delegate Bob Brink called the bill "a solution in search of a problem."   "As I went door to door, there were a number of issues that never came up. I didn’t hear anything about the danger of an asteroid striking the earth or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in humans," said Brink.

Other evangelical Christians believe that Social Security Numbers may be the dreaded "mark of the beast."  As reported by the Daily Beast (no connection to "the beast"), 89% of evangelical Protestants believe in the devil, while 25% of Americans have heard rumors that Barack Obama is the Antichrist; last September, a poll of New Jersey Republicans found that 14% thought Obama was the Antichrist, while 15% "weren’t sure."  Those 15% might be congratulated for exhibiting a dose of healthy skepticism.