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Posted: 10/22/2004 2:17:01 PM EDT

DATELINE VATICAN CITY, July 1---Using a .22 Ruger, Pope John Paul scored a bull's-eye with a through-and-through wound at the base of the middle toe of his left foot. In a stunningly medieval, unenlightened Apostolic Letter titled, "In Order to Defend the Faith," the pontiff carved into stone via Canon Law the bans on birth control, women priests, voluntary euthanasia, and teaching mynah birds to talk. Asked about the birds, John Paul replied, "The power of speech is God's precious gift to man alone. The mynah is just a dumb bird." But when asked if the ban then also applied to parrots, the pontiff snapped, "Of course not! Those birds are incredible! They talk better than most people!"

Chastened by the papal outburst, no one dared ask about parakeets. But an inside source at the Vatican said that budgies would be exempt from the ban because, "In the first place, they aren't mynahs, are they?! And in the second place, those crummy little birds are so hard to understand nobody cares." The penance for mynah bird training will be fifteen Hail Marys and the ritual sacrifice by fire of the offending feathered vocalist.

Catholic bird lovers were shocked by the news. "I love my little Pee-Wee!" lamented one bird owner. "And he already knows how to talk! So why should I have to kill him now? It isn't fair!" Others were more resigned to their fate. "If it's God's will," sighed Charles Sangretti, "then so be it. I am a good Catholic. But I have over a dozen mynahs. It's gonna be one hell of a bonfire."

and then we have those crazy Baptists!

DATELINE SALT LAKE CITY, June 9---The Southern Baptist Convention released its official interpretation of the New Testament admonishment instructing wives to submit to their husbands. The formal announcement stated, "Wives must graciously submit themselves to their husband in all things. This includes who controls the thermostat, who has charge of the remote control, and who has to refold the map so it will fit back in the glove box. It also includes cleaning up pet poop."

"The key to understanding the directive," explained a Baptist representative, "is the qualifier all things. For example, if a husband wants his wife to mud-wrestle, naked, with a llama, she is bound by heavenly mandate to oblige him. Likewise, if he wants her to fetch Frisbees on the front lawn, she is equally obligated." The proclamation goes on to emphasize that the directive is in no way intended to be demeaning to women.

As to the exact definition of "graciously," there has been widespread controversy within the Convention. Some insist it means obeying each male whim with a sincere smile frozen on one's face, while others claim that only the actions themselves are important. If the latter is true, then under-the-breath muttering through gritted teeth would technically not be a violation of the "graciously" part of the mandate. Further debate is expected. The terms "genuflect," "Lord and Master," and "ass-kissing" were edited out of the first draft, over much protest.


In a related story, Southern Baptists are waging an "evangelical Blitz" in Salt Lake City to "convert those damn Mormons." And James Sibley has been hired by the Southern Baptists to "convert those damn Jews." Sibley maintains that both the Mormons and the Jews have been "led astray." Said Sibley, "It's not that we view the Mormons and the Jews as our enemies. But everything they believe is a bunch of bullshit and it is our job to set them straight."

Sibley cited the modern idea of "Dual-Covenant Theology." "Both Christians and Jews have an equal and valid pact with God," explained Sibley. "It's just that the Jews are wrong." When asked what his position was on Catholics, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, Sibley groaned, "Jesus! Gimme a break, will you?! One errant, muddle-headed, blasphemous religion at a time!"

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