McCain bids for religious vote, describes what Heaven is like.

Faced with the worst financial crisis since the 1930s Presidential hopeful John McCain, at a loss to know what to say about the collapsing economy, took time off today to appeal to a Republican base pre-occupied with the Rapture. His address, in part, follows:

My friends, those of us who, like me, eagerly await the Rapture are anxious to know what to expect when we arrive in Heaven - - will we meet old friends there, what are the living arrangements, are pets allowed, are there Thursday night bridge clubs and so on? After many years of talking to the dear departed through mediums and the internet, and using the visions vouchsafed to St. John the Divine, as described by him in Revelation, a clearer picture of Heaven is starting to emerge.

While recent research has thrown up doubts about some aspects of St. John's description, Revelation is still an important source of hard information. For those not fully familiar with St. John's words it is, however, important to be aware of Revelation Chapter 14, verses 2 -4. These verses refer to the hundred and forty and four thousand souls who are to be redeemed from the earth, but goes on to say "these are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they that follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth." So if you are male but not a virgin you may not be admitted to Heaven.

So, my friends, what Heaven is really like?

First, on passing you will experience a blinding warm white light and a sensation of rising up out of the body, rather like the effect of drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Your life will pass before you (if your life has been as dull as most) in about two seconds. The haze will lift and before you - - contrary to your expectations - - will be revealed a scene reminiscent of the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C:- a sprawl of concrete condominiums, fast food takeouts, power lines strung between buildings, parking lots, traffic lights and advertising hoardings. The strip malls look as if they are about to fall down. There is a lack of signposting and the streets that you might expect to be paved with gold are in fact full of potholes. There is trash everywhere. The Halliburton company, of course, bought the rights to Heaven while no one was looking. This and the preoccupation with prayer and fasting means no one has an incentive to make the place look beautiful or effect repairs. It is also very crowded with all kinds of riff-raff. You don't go to heaven for peace and quiet. The endless broadcasting of the angels singing praises gets irritating, and you can have too much harp music, but you soon learn to ignore it. I-pods are illegal but most people bring them. So we will all feel at home.

Who is not allowed in? As indicated above, not everyone is admitted. St John says, " And there shall in no wise enter in it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie."(21.27). This means that some of us have to do some fast talking. The vetting process is thorough. Personal identification is required and a virginity scan is conducted. On acceptance you will be issued with a new pass showing your death mask at time of passing.

I am absolutely against all forms of government control or oversight over anything, as you know, my friends, but it appears there are some rules in Heaven. I realize this will not be welcome news to those of us who basically have limited self-control. But when I was adopted as your candidate I said I would tell the truth, and I have told the truth ever since (ahem!).

It seems that the Democratic Heavenly Community Committee (DHCC) controls all aspects of life in Heaven. Seeing the unfairness and inequality on Earth it has decreed a lengthy period of re-education to accustom Americans (in particular) to a fair society.

There is total equality in Heaven, no rich and no poor. All those who have passed have the same rights to the liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness that didn't work out too well on Earth. They are guaranteed freedom of speech, of movement and of the vote.

All inhabitants have a single vote registered on paper voting slips and counted by independent bureaucrats. Electronic voting machines were found to have been programmed to favor one point of view. Heaven pays the cost of election to the DHCC and it is illegal to pay private money to candidates. The election period is six weeks. Lobby groups may make an argument but not a payment. Anyone found doing secret deals for profit is sent to burn in Hell. (Coordinates: of Hell: Messrs Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh, The Gated Community, Hell, FL 22132.

Continued education is compulsory. Those found to have a vocabulary of less than 20,000 words are subject to re-education. Daily concerts by the heavenly choir are obligatory, as are lectures on Shakespeare, physics and chemistry, natural selection and evolution and morning chapel. Any grumbling results in three weeks peeling potatoes.

My friends, St.John tells us "….I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not." This means that although you might find your wife or other loved one in Heaven sexual congress is forbidden and virginity is carefully policed. Women have to keep a low profile and refrain from influencing men, keeping their opinions to themselves. Homosexuals and transvestites are forgiven their trespasses and are welcome, but seduction, fornication and prophesying are banned.

It seems that in Heaven people are allowed to pursue the jobs they had on Earth, for the prophet specifically says, "Blessed are the dead… Yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them".

All the above work is paid at the same rate per hour, enough to cover a roof over your head, food and other necessities of life. Profligates and the super-rich have to learn how to manage on less. Since there are no banks, companies or, you will be pleased to hear, financial institutions, nor are there expenses to fiddle.

They say that light emanates from the saints who have lived their lives without sex, envy, cheating, and lies. It is wise to avoid them. They can be a little dull. Which brings us to…….

Boredom. My friends, "Only bores are bored". You are expected to have a real good time singing Kumbaya, wholesome hymns and songs of adoration. A positive, smiling posture is encouraged when turning round to shake the hands with total strangers in church services. There is no TV. Those who have only watched the Murdoch news channels (such as Fox News Channel) may be deported to Hell if they do not repent of their sins. The obese may be dispatched to Hell. (For transport to hell contact Messrs Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh, The Gated Community, Hell, FL 22132)

They tell me that food costs the same for everyone and is simple and wholesome without additives, although Halliburton is soon to introduce its own range of "health foods".

Let me turn to my strong point, security. I have learned that the mantra is "an effective militia being of no possible use, the ownership of guns of any kind is strictly prohibited." This is an appalling prospect, and when fully understood might dissuade some of you from yearning for the Rapture.

You will be pleased to know that you can be reunited with your departed pets, but pet grooming is regarded as socially divisive and is banned, along with poodles.

Because clothing is in short supply, you should keep a close eye on it. "Behold, "sayeth the prophet, "I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." (Revelation 16.15).

I am sorry to tell you that selfishness, drunkenness, loutish behavior, telling lies and thinking only of yourself have to be corrected with cognitive therapy. Those who cannot adjust to the mild manner in which people speak to one another in the New Jerusalem may apply for alternative accommodation through Messrs Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh, The Gated Community, Hell, FL 22132.

My friends, the good news is that those who are able to laugh at themselves are allowed every week to choose between free chocolate cake and a gallon of chocolate ice cream.

The best news is that incentives, capitalism, free enterprise, all that crap vanishes up there. There is no GNP and no CEOs, so there is nothing to get ahead for. Those who demand lower taxes are cast into the bottomless pit. (Contact information for Hell: Messrs Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh, as above).

My friends, it is written,"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he (the beast) deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them (the people) that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." (phew!) (Revelation 19.20) (Access to the lake available from Messrs Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh, address as above).

Heaven is love and the nuclear family of a husband, a wife and two nuclear children is not encouraged owing to the failure of the idea on Earth. Deaders are judged by their genuine love, tolerance and good works, not by the composition of the family.

My friends, all this will come as a disappointment to all right-thinking Republicans. Like the economy and the various wars our party has initiated it seems we got it all wrong. Heaven is gonna be hell for us mean sons of bitches."