A group of atheist animal lovers nationwide have taken up the cause of caring for your pet... once you go to Heaven. Eternal Earth-Bound Pets claims that each member is a "confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward." In addition, the group's website notes that each member is screened to ensure that they are moral atheists with no criminal background. The group promises that their "animal activists are commited to step in when you step up to Jesus."
Here's how it works, as explained on their website:
For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged and feathered friends.
Signing up for the group's services require agreement to terms/conditions and a signed contract. Click the links to access each.
Now, for those of you completely unfamiliar with the idea of the Rapture - at least through the interpretation of the Rapture taken by this group (usually believed by the Evangelicals of Christianity) - here's a super quick summary from beliefnet.com:
The establishment--and continuation--of the State of Israel is essential to set the stage for the imminent return of Jesus. At the time of the Second Coming, these Christians believe, Jesus will descend from heaven, subdue all of Israel's enemies and take believers to heaven in what is known as the Rapture--literally, they will ascend to the clouds to be in heaven. This series of events ushers in the end-times.
At this point, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets claims, they [the atheists] will remain here on Earth while believers "ascend to the clouds to be in heaven." The "left behind" pets of believers will then fall into the care of these compassionate atheists.
I asked the group co-owner whether or not this service exists in Illinois, and at the moment it does not. He did note, however, that expansion is in progress. Expansion to new areas like Illinois, he says, are "dictated by the density of fundamentalist evangelical Christian populations, interest in our service by potential clients and the availability of atheist rescuers willing to submit to background checks and prepared to fully commit to our program."
Is this for real? Who knows. One might reasonably question why someone would create this service knowing full well that it will never happen (which would be the steadfast belief of an atheist; that is not the stated opinion of this author). The group claims, however, on its FAQ page, that they are open to the possibility of their beliefs being wrong, and such safeguards are built in to the contract should the Rapture never come. This article is not necessarily an endorsement of any kind or any one belief, but I thought the group brought a very interesting twist and perspective on the concept of cat rescue.