Jesus jumps to rival team
Following the lead of ex-President George W Bush, religious leader and messianic prophet Jesus H Christ has converted to Islam.
"It was a long time coming, but I couldn't resist the inevitable any longer," says Christ, 33, from his home in Dead Horse, Kansas.
A stores assistant in a local factory producing self-assembly furniture, Christ says he hopes his followers will understand and even emulate his example. "The next time you're passing a mosque or are about to drink a beer, ask yourself 'what would Christ do?'," he suggests.
Members of Christ's church, the Sacred Heart of Dead Horse, are rumored to be unhappy at the move.
"He's done some dumb stuff in his time, but this about beats everything," says Wienus Cornstobble, 89, lay preacher and editor of the church's MySpace page. "I mean, his fish supper evenings were pretty bad, what with everyone going home hungry. And that stunt on the lake ... well, I don't even want to talk about that. But this is just plain stoopid."
Christ, however, is unrepentant.
"Just look at Christianity, which is what I was preaching," he says. "I mean, it's so old. It's just out of date, which is why everyone is giving up on it. Islam, on the other hand, is younger, more vibrant. I think it has a lot more appeal. And in today's dog-eat-dog religious environment, you have to go where the market is."
Born as Billy-Bob Aletius Neufuffle, the preacher changed his name to Jesus Hellacious Christ in January 2000 after what he says was a moment of revelation.
"When the Y2K thing didn't happen I figured it was for a reason," he says. "I knew I had a mission."
Christ took a correspondence course in past life regression from the Wichita School of Spiritualism and Soothsaying. To his amazement, he discovered he is the reincarnation of the original Jesus.
"That blew me away," he claims. "It completely changed my life. I knew for certain then that I wasn't just another working stiff - that I had an important role to play in this world."
Christ immediately moved out of his brother-in-law's back bedroom into one of Dead Horse's most upmarket trailer parks.
"I got me a double-wide," he says. "Nothing less would do for the Son of God."
Since then he has established his church and built a congregation of over two dozen members. "It varies a lot," says Cornstobble. "Most of them are pretty old so the numbers tend to dip come winter."
For the congregation, Christ's message that the End Times are near is what attracted them to the church.
"The first Jesus kept banging on about how God's kingdom was nigh," says Emily Scroggit, 93, "and that was two thousand years ago, dammit. I ain't got much time left, so if it's gonna happen it, it'd better happen damn soon. Billy-Bob ... I mean, Jesus H, said he could bring it on. But now he's fooling around with all this A-rab bullhickey. Ain't nuthin' in that for me, so I figure I might try them Mormons."
Wearing a taqiyah and white
In a move that has sent shockwaves throughout the whole of the Washington media corps, US President George W Bush has converted to Islam. Perhaps even more surprising, Bush has chosen to become a muslim woman.
Shortly before converting, Bush underwent a sex-change operation and was known briefly as 'Georgina', before taking his muslim name of Fatima.
Some government insiders say that the change of religion is not as dramatic as it may first seem. "Let's face it," said one Congressman, who hinted he was considering a similar conversion, "he was always out there on the fringes. As an evangelical Christian he felt that people should come around to his way of thinking, at the point of a gun if necessary. And he liked sending people to other countries to blow things up. So he's still as much of a fundamentalist as he always was — he's just swapped Christ for Mohammed, blessed be his name."
There are unconfirmed rumours that Bush's sex-change was prompted by a misunderstanding. According to sources close to the President, Bush was under the impression that muslim men are obliged to become suicide bombers. The same sources say that Bush was "perturbed" by the idea of becoming a martyr and "intimidated" by the prospect of having to manage 72 virgins.
"Apparently, no-one in the Cabinet, White House or intelligence services told him about the vast majority of muslims who live peaceful, fulfilled and worthwhile lives," said the anonymous Congressman. "He thought he'd be forced to become a martyr as a muslim man and that idea seemed to upset him. The CIA have really let him down this time by not providing accurate intelligence. Heads should roll."
Commenting on his decision to wear the burqa, Bush is rumoured to have said, "I'm sick of all those people staring at me all the goddamn time. Reporters, TV crews and that other bunch ... whaddya call 'em? ... oh yeah, the public."
A spokesman for the Democrats said that Bush's sudden conversion would have little impact. "Let's face it, he was a dismal failure as a man and a lousy Christian, so between you and me, I don't think this is any great loss."