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Human microchips seen by some in Virginia House as device of antichrist

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RICHMOND, FEB. 9 -- The House of Delegates is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would protect Virginians from attempts by employers or insurance companies to implant microchips in their bodies against their will.

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It might also save humanity from the antichrist, some supporters think.

Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), the bill's sponsor, said that privacy issues are the chief concern behind his attempt to criminalize the involuntary implantation of microchips. But he also said he shared concerns that the devices could someday be used as the "mark of the beast" described in the Book of Revelation.

"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 said. "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."

Cole said that the growing use of microchips could allow employers, insurers or the government to track people against their will and that implanting a foreign object into a human being could also have adverse health effects.

"I just think you should have the right to control your own body," Cole said.

The religious overtones have cast the debate into a realm that has made even some supporters uneasy and caused opponents to mock the bill for legislating the apocalypse.

Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) said on the House floor that he did not find many voters demanding microchip legislation when he was campaigning last fall: "I didn't hear anything about the danger of asteroids striking the Earth, about the threat posed by giant alligators in our cities' sewer systems or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in human beings."

Microchips, which use radio frequency identification, have been used in pets to identify and track them. Proponents suggest that such chips could be invaluable in making people's medical records portable and secure and in helping to identify and find missing children. Others have urged they be used with Alzheimer's disease patients.

But the growing use of microchips has collided with the Book of Revelation. The biblical passage in question is in Chapter 13 and describes the rise of a satanic figure known as "the Beast": "He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

David Neff, editor of the magazine Christianity Today, said that some fundamentalist Christians believe that bar codes and implanted microchips could be used by a totalitarian government to control commerce -- a sign of the coming end of the world.

"This is part of a larger attempt to constantly read current history in the light of the symbolic language of the Book of Revelation," he said.


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