Washington – The President took to the podium today to announce an ambitious new plan to provide a “public option” for religion. Citing statistics about the growing number of unbelievers in America, President Obama made his case standing amongst leading congressional Democrats. “America has long been a nation that looked to a higher power for guidance,” the President began. “But for too long now, private religion has been failing average Americans.” The President stated that the number of unbelieving Americans has risen to at least 35 million. Millions more, he says, have only minimal agnostic coverage. “The number is rising at an alarming rate. Private religion has had its chance to make believers out of this country, but it has failed.” The President stressed that the public plan would exist alongside private religion, competing with it. “If the private religions think that competition works, then we welcome it! If you’re satisfied with your current religion, you will be able to keep it!”
Key congressional leaders behind the proposal admit that things will have to change for private believers. Chris Dodd, a Democratic Senator from Connecticut and chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, says that the private religions will have to bring themselves under a unified tithing system. “Americans deserve justice, and God’s regressive flat-tithe keeps money in the hands of the super-rich.” Under the Senate version of the plan, private religions will have to implement a progressive tithe structure approved by the Board of Religious Practitioners and Examiners, headed by the President’s new Religion Czar. Dodd also promised to go after those who seek the protection of offshore tithe shelters, such as those popular in Israel and the Vatican City.
Among the most controversial proposals in both houses’ version of the plan is a religion mandate. All Americans must either currently have private religion, or enroll in the public plan. President Obama has moved to assuage those concerned by pointing out that anyone not quite as spiritual can enroll in plans such as “Secular Obamaism” and “Green”, and stresses that his Attorney General has informed him such a plan would therefore not be in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
The desired timeline for getting such a plan passed is tight. Democrats in Washington argue that there are escalating social costs to a growing population of unbelievers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, stated, “Many Americans find themselves without the moral grounding a good religion gives them. Trapped and helpless in a dark and confusing world, they turn to preying on their fellow man. But what if, before they pulled the trigger of their pistol, they stopped to consider the greenhouse gases the burning gunpowder would produce?”
It remains to be seen whether a plan can come together in time for the August recess. There are still changes being made every day, and the last modification came when Congressman Mike Thompson, a Democrat from California’s 1st Congressional District, inserted a requirement that all communion wine in the country must contain alcohol. When asked if members of Congress would be required to find religion under the same choice of plans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said that members of Congress already have their own religion.
Summarizing his push, President Obama said he wanted to remind Americans of one of the principles on which the nation was founded. “Religion has always been considered a natural right. Since the first pilgrims escaped from persecution centuries ago, this nation has espoused that every American can have religion. Now, with the public finally ready to step up and provide this right for others, Americans will get the religion they deserve!”
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