IFAS | Freedom Writer | October 1998 | y2k.html

Y2K hysteria grips conference

By Skipp Porteous

Last month's Freedom Writer reported on the Religious Right's hysteria concerning the alleged Y2K crisis. As a result, I was attracted to the Christian Coalition workshop titled "Y2K: Cough or Catastrophe," one of two dozen workshops. Michael Hyatt, author of The Millennium Bug, and the Rev. Billy McCormack, a Christian Coalition national director, led the workshop.

About 350 people crammed into a conference room designed for far fewer. With microcassette recorder in hand, I sat on the floor in the front of the room. An attractive, thirty-something woman sitting cross-legged next to me said, "We're stocking up on food and water."

"What?" I said to her.

"Any city only has a three-day supply of food and water, so we're stocking up."

"Who's we?," I asked.

"Our church," she replied.

The woman, Kerry McGinley, a member of the First Baptist Church of Mobile, Alabama, was quite adamant that a major catastrophe awaits us down the road, but that God's people would be prepared.

I was sure the woman was an anomaly, and surely, Billy McCormack, a founding director of the Christian Coalition, would present a more balanced point of view. Boy, was I mistaken.

McCormack, of Shreveport, Louisiana, said that he went up to Arkansas to purchase land where he could drill a well and grow his own food. Then, he said God spoke to him. "You're a pastor," God said. Realizing that God was right, McCormack decided to stay in Shreveport and organize his neighborhood in emergency preparedness for the coming catastrophe.

Hyatt and McCormack predict that the year 2000 will bring a worldwide computer crash, that "will affect every computer on earth." Then, a "major global recession" will follow an across-the-board banking and financial collapse. Other predictions include a nationwide electrical and telecommunications failure, a transportation breakdown, and disruption of city water services. Only people with wells will have water.

McCormack said that the Y2K crisis will be the greatest opportunity the Christian Coalition has ever had, as it "blows the trumpet." "I think," McCormack said, "it offers us, the Christian Coalition, the finest opportunity to assist churches that we have ever thought about. We're going to be able to lead our communities like never before through our pastors.

"Now, I know the church is naturally reluctant. I talked to a pastor of a large church the other day, and he said, 'Aren't you afraid we're going to look like a bunch of fools?' And I said, 'Yes, that is entirely possible. Of course, I've been looking like a fool for a long time and the sensitivity is already worn out.'

"We cannot get so panicky that we are filled with fear," McCormack concluded, "or hover in a corner, or throw up our hands. God, through the Holy Spirit, is directing us with a plan of action that we will implement to God's glory, for he will help us to meet the demands of this particular crisis."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.