New Poll: Americans "Prefer Empty Ritual"
A new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has found that 62% of Americans "prefer empty ritual" to meaningful spiritual experiences.

The poll also found an astonishing 78% "attend religious services weekly but pay absolutely no attention," 66% "can't stand my minister, rabbi, or imam," and 57% of all males surveyed agreed that "church is not a good place to pick up chicks." An additional 80% said they have lied in previous polls about how much they contribute to the collection plate.

Hindu God Fesses Up on Jerry Springer: "I Treated Sita Like Dirt"
Yes, that's the verdict from major Indian deity Ram--he treated his lovely consort, Sita, no better than Bill treated Hillary. "It was my birthday yesterday, I'm now 3,254,157 years old--I am turning over a new leaf and must confess all..." said Ram during a special 'Avatar Chronicles' edition of the Jerry Springer show (also attended by Krishna, Shiva and Ganesh).

"I abandoned Sita in a forest, and she was kidnapped by that nine-headed devil Ravana," Ram admitted. "And yes, those rumors of her subsequent infidelity were believed by no one but me."

"But that all pales in comparison with my latest indiscretion--my open infatuation with that bodacious goddess Lakshmi. Oh yes. Look, I love Sita and she is my wife and all that, but let's be honest here....have you looked at Lakshmi recently? Va-va-voom!"

What does Sita have to say about all this? She's proven hard to find, but sources say that she was last seen sulking on the island of Lanka, muttering under her breath, "Ravana, oh Ravana, how I long to look into your 18 eyes again..."

Madonna Goes Amish
After making her name as the "material girl" in the 1980s, Madonna is about to renounce worldly pleasures. Sources say the superstar will joining the Old Order Amish by the summer, probably near Lancaster, Pa., although it is possible she may still land in an Ohio or Indiana Amish location. Madonna is said to be attracted to the simple farm life, especially now that she has children. She is said to be frustrated with her immersion in Kabbalah -- calling it "too faddish." Ever the trend-setter, Madonna will switch spiritual allegiances to a group most people aren't (yet) interested in--the Christian sect that shuns outsiders, uses horses and buggies for transportation, and doesn't allow electricity. Some observers expect that, since the Amish renounce zippers as too progressive, Madonna will revolutionize the Amish use of pins to hold their clothes together. On the other hand, some people worry that Madonna will not be able to fully blend into a culture that also doesn't allow photographs to be taken of them. The Material Girl is reportedly in the process of changing her name from Madonna Richey to Madonna Richey-Stoltzfus to blend in more completely with the Amish family who will adopt her and her children along with her husband, Guy Richey. A local Amish bishop, quoted anonymously in the Lancaster, Pa., New Era newspaper, said he is fairly certain Madonna will choose the Pennsylvania Amish location over Ohio and Indiana. He pointed out that his region includes such tourist-attracting towns as Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand--not to mention Paradise, Virginville, and Blue Ball. "We know she'll feel right at home here," he said.

Unitarians Begin Aggressive Proselytism Campaign

Tired of being the butt of jokes about their lack of an accepted creed and a reputation for wishy-washy, anything-goes theology, the Unitarian Universalists are on the warpath. Emulating the success of Jehovah's Witnesses, UUs are going door to door in an effort to proselytize for their liberal faith--whatever that is.

"People must have the right to gather in Someone's name for fellowship and weak coffee in red mugs," thundered UUA president Rev. William Sinkford. "People wounded by archaic creedal religions with rigid musical standards should be able to join a choir-regardless of singing ability!" There is even talk of sending missionaries to Third World countries for no obvious reason.

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