The Discovery Institute, the public and commercial face of the Intelligent Design Creationism movement have made a bold bid to buy the Vatican from the Catholic church.
"We believe that the Catholic church has lost sight of what it was set up to accomplish," said Michael Beye, lead Creationist at the Discovery Institute. "They should be preaching the word of the Designer, not pussyfooting about. And for those that cannot hear the word of the Designer, there should be sanctions. In order to impose sanctions, we'd need to be a country."
This move is believed to be the first attempt by any corporation any where in the world to buy an entire country.
"Ordinarily," said arch-deacon, Archie Deacon, "I'd say that Vatican City is not for sale. However, the Catholic church is a bit cash strapped at the moment. Lawyers are expensive, especially when defending our completely innocent priesthood from the malicious rumours and lies in the international media. So we are considering the Discovery Institute's offer."
Should the Discovery Institute be successful in their bid to buy Vatican City, they would immediately impose sanctions on the rest of the world until the ideology of Intelligent Design is taught as the only subject in every school.
"Vatican City doesn't really have any exports," said international trade analyst, Anna Liszt. "About the only item they could prohibit is miracles. I'd imagine a lot of countries would feel quite deprived without access to their ordinarily readily available supply of miracles. Countries like Honduras rely on Vatican City miracles just to get by day on day. There is less reliance upon Vatican City miracles in Europe and America, but Spain would have ceased to exist years ago without them."
Those countries that need the miracles provided by Vatican City would probably capitulate fairly quickly and teach creationism as the only subject. Other countries could probably scape by on stockpiled miracles, although the US does use an inordinate amount of miracles.
"How many times in the US papers do you read about miracle babies, miracle survivals and the like?" asked Liszt. "These would soon dry up without Vatican City exports. There's only a certain amount of home grown miracles available in the US. I'd expect them to capitulate inside a decade."
If it looks likely that the Discovery Institute were getting close to signing a deal to buy Vatican City, Richard Branson believes he could stop them by offering a better deal.
"I need a space port in Europe," said Branson. "The Russians are playing hardball, but Vatican City would be ideally placed. I'd unfortunately have to flatten it first. I might leave St Peter's Basilica, because it would make a good hanger."