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God Raises Temperature of Hell Fifty Degrees
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PLEIADES STAR CLUSTER, Heaven - In anticipation of the arrival of serial killer Dennis Rader and former dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, the Almighty of the Universe has decided to increase the severity of the torment meted out under His "eternal damnation" policy. "Hell has remained more or less unchanged since its inception," God said through an angelic spokesman, "And has served the purposes of this universe well. But in recent years the carnage wrought by man on man has become such that a more meaningful punishment is called for." The angel took no questions, and faded before the eyes of astounded reporters.

"God doesn't want to appear soft on sin."
-- Archbishop Paul Arstychrus
"It's a purely political move," said Archbishop Paul Arstychrus, "God doesn't want to appear soft on sin just when the majority of the western world is starting to turn away from Him. He's allowed 2,000 years for the love of the Lord to motivate people to do good, and that's clearly been a disaster. This serves to put people on notice that Hell's still there, it's still hot, and the 'vacancy' sign is decidedly still lit."

Scientists are unsure what temperature Hell might reach, but, ventured Bill Bryson, author of 'A Short History of Nearly Everything', "If Hell is truly inside the earth, it should be very hot indeed. The core of the earth is believed to be around 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit -- hotter than the surface of the sun. Not only would that make Hell a less-than-desirable vacation spot, it would also render a fifty-degree change one way or the other somewhat meaningless."

Fundamentalists the world over rejoiced at the announcement. "I think it's great, just what we needed!" gushed one. "That should show people they can't mess with God and get away with it!" exclaimed another. Though still enthusiastic, some do question how effective the increase will be in changing people's actions. "People are people and they do what they do, ya know?" said Earnest Molekill, "I think if a guy was gonna be a serial killer or a thief or even a Republican, he's gonna do it with or without Hell hangin' over him."

Rader himself was unavailable to comment on the underworldly developments, but his lawyer quoted him as saying, "Hopefully someday God will accept me."
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