Heaven - Despite explicit instructions in several well known divinely inspired best sellers, it appears mankind has tested the Lord God Almighty's patience for using His son's name in vain and/or for profit. And in an unprecedented announcement today, God made it known through a spokesperson that royalty fees would be colleted on every work that depicts Jesus' teachings, likeness, or inspiration.
The press conference was held at the Pearly Gates with St. Peter handing out explanations like loaves and fishes. Pete the "Gatekeeper" enlightened the press corps, many of who had never been to Heaven nor shall be allowed to return, as to why God felt that after so many years of misguided propaganda that this was the proper time and cause for a crusade.
"The simple answer," says St. Peter "is money."
That drew several mocking gasps. Silence reigned shortly thereafter though when the vocal hypocrites were struck down on the spot.
"The Lord," Peter explained "is frankly tired of Tom, Dick, and Harry slapping His son's picture on everything from travel mugs to presidential campaigns. He feels that if people are going to make a living with a for profit only' mentality, He might as well get a cut."
God has played many roles during his time in heaven, which by some accounts has been forever. It is speculated that early on He busied himself much like a cosmic clockmaker, tinkering with the universe until everything was perfect.
Once that was accomplished, early written history has the Omnipotent One full of fire, ready to smite people at the drop of an apple. That, of course, was understandable considering how much stress looking after "His people", the Jews, turned out to be.
Eventually that ordeal lead Him into semi-retirement, and He allowed his son to run the family business. (Editor's note: Similar to The Godfather', in which Michael takes over the head of the family after Vito is shot, but before he dies of a heart attack)
Until just recently He has been quite happy, answering prayers and playing Bingo on Wednesday nights.
News from the press release indicates that the Lord first began to contemplate royalty payment around 1997. That was the year of the "WWJD" fad. In the last seven years the phenomenon of tacky Jesus merchandise snowballed to a multi-billion dollar business in the U.S. alone. That is one snowball "that stood a chance in hell", noted St. Peter "so our Lord has decide to bring out the ol' smiting stick, so to speak."
It should be noted that these days the smiting stick looks much more like a court injunction. It seems "his chosen people" may ultimately hold up their end after all.