The U.S. government was reeling from multi-trillion dollar debts when it seized on the perfect way to make infinite profits - starting its own religion. The President and Vice-President went before Congress to announce the start of The Church of Americology [CoA].
Vice President [and now Americology High Priest] Cheney said "Religion is the most profitable business in the world. It's so obvious, even that loonbat L. Ron Hubbard figured it out: 'If you want to make real money, start a new religion.' And also Pope Leo X said: 'What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"
President Bush agreed: "Smart guy, that Pope Leo X. It's hard to believe he was related to Malcolm X. But he must have been, them having the same last name and all."
Upon hearing this a visibly pained Cheney pointed towards Bush while saying to Secret Service agents, "How many times have I told you - keep him on his medications and away from microphones! Now get him back to the White House." Thus chastened, the S.S. shuffled Bush away.
Cheney continued, "Not only don't religions have to pay taxes, official religions get PAID the taxes! And when we're selling the afterlife, nobody will ever demand his money back because he didn't get what he paid for. HA! It's perfect!
"So you can see why the smart money has been buying Americology stock faster than we can print it. Questions?"
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had one: "But Mr. Vice President, uh, I mean Your Holiness, doesn't the U.S. Constitution forbid the government from starting its own religion?"
Cheney replied, "Sure, skunktwat. Just like it forbids torture, warrantless wiretaps and imprisonment without trial. HellOOOO!! Just when the fuck do we pay any attention to the Constitution anymore? That's enough stupid questions for today. If you need me I'll be in my undisclosed location. I expect everybody's application for conversion to Americology on the President's desk by tomorrow."
Americologists were a little vague about the theology of the new religion. It seemed to consist entirely of giving money to their Church. Thus the first public converts to the CoA were Scientologists, who were already used to the concept.
The CoA began its test marketing in Utah since most people there are Mormons, and have therefore proven they'll believe ANYTHING. Results were beyond expectations. Within two weeks all Utahans had converted to Americology, no doubt swayed by High Priest Cheney's shrewd offer to let the ex-Mormons go back to their old ways. "We had to give up polygamy to get statehood for Utah, and let in blacks to keep our tax exemption." said Americology [and ex-Mormon] Prophet Spencer Kimball. "But now we don't have to do either anymore! Hallelujah!"
The CoA saw a winning strategy - to beat the competition at its own game. Christianity was devastated when Americology announced its subsidiary, "EconoChrist, Inc." whose slogan was "Twice the Christ at half the price!" EconoChrist not only brought back the Sale of Indulgences, but sold those indulgences online through its own payment system, "PrayPal". Unable to compete, Catholicism and Protestantism closed down their North American operations. Catholicism CEO Pope Benedict XVI complained bitterly, "Americology is just selling salvation."
"Just like you are, Benny. Only cheaper!" laughed President Bush. "Jesus died for our sins - so let's all sin until we get our money's worth!"
Americology grew like wildfire after top conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter converted to it along with all other Republicans. Limbaugh explained, "When I was a Christian, I always took time out from my illegal drug binging to momentarily consider the possibility of an invisible angry old white-bearded man sitting on some cloud. I even prayed to that same man to get me through Customs with that stash of Viagra I needed to facilitate my extramarital fornicating. But he didn't! That's why I'm now an Americologist."
"Amen, Rush." said Coulter between snorts of cocaine. "I've always endorsed such Christian values as abstinence before marriage for everyone but myself. But I'm a woman who loves America, and expects to be well paid for it, too. So since I never attended Christian church anyway, now I don't attend the Church of Americology instead! And anyone who disagrees with me on this is a traitor."
But the CoA got its biggest boost when Jesus Christ returned to Earth and declared Himself an Americologist. God Junior explained: "America has always been my favorite country - just ask any Republican. Shit, I'm practically an American myself! I even speak English - just check the New Testament. So when I heard America now had its own house-brand religion, I had no choice but to join it."
Soon virtually 100% of Americans had converted to the CoA, motivated in equal parts by faith and a desire to stay out of Guantanamo. [The latter threat was found to be more effective than that of Hell. Go figure.] And Americolgy's original purpose was achieved, as the Congressional budget committee reported that the government now "has more money than God".
Still, the lack of a coherent theology besides "hand over your money" was troubling to some. Church leaders recommended interim use of the Bible as a holy text until a suitable Americology Scripture could be written. They said, "Check Timothy 6:10: 'Money is the root of all evil.' So if you happen to come across any of that evil money, don't take a chance on its corrupting you. Give it immediately to the CoA. We know how to take care of it."
Jesus agreed: "Remember what I said in Matthew 19:24? That a rich man can't get into heaven? So give all your money to Americology. Then you'll be the furthest thing from rich, which means - pearly gates, here you come! How simple can this get?"
Finally the long-awaited Holy Book of Americology was announced: "Starship Troopers" by the late Robert Heinlein. This book tells of a war against giant intelligent insects from space, just like the ones who attacked us on 9/11. Only now we learn that "Starship Troopers" is fact not fiction.
A few had their doubts. Former Scientologist Tom Cruise said, "They're claiming a book published as science fiction a few decades ago is actually true? And basing a whole religion on that book? How could anyone be stupid enough to fall for such bullshit? [Editor's note: Tom may have been sarcastic here; it's hard to tell with him. At any rate he cannot be located for further comment, and rumor has it he's now in Guantanamo.]
Finally President/Pope Bush felt compelled to clarify Church doctrine: "Oh, there's a god, I guess. And try to be nice to each other... all the standard religion shit. Also, Thou shalt not kill, except for those Muslims who stole America's oil and stashed it under their land. And Thou Shalt not steal, except for the occasional election. Look, you people seem smart enough, so just make it up as you go along. That's what we did when we were Christians. I've got a Church and a country to run."