Forget Jesus, what would Philip Morris do?

By Phil Serchuk

Federal Health Minister Anne McLellan unveiled new legislation on Tuesday aimed at toughening the government’s stance against dangerous and addictive substances. Citing the 1997 amendments to the Tobacco Act which introduced the once-controversial graphic cigarette warning labels, McLellan outlined her plan to expand the program to include several other dangerous and addictive substances. Though many supported the decision to include common dangers such as anti-freeze, the Alberta Advantage, and McDonald’s restaurants, some critics questioned the decision to add all organized religions to the list. The amendment would apply to a variety of religious institutions, rites and paraphernalia ranging from bibles to sticker books.

"Christianity wouldn’t be the only target of these new laws," explained McLellan. "Mosques, menorahs, those little rocks in the sand… religious icons from all denominations would carry the new warning labels."

"It’s unfair!" complained Catholic high school teacher Sister Mary Thomas. "We warn our youth against homosexuality, abortion, disobedience, biology, nudity, public schools, gambling, Atheists, chemistry, the Fox network, Protestants, pornography, marijuana, sodomy, astrology, pre-marital sex, marital sex, Jews, gypsies, intellectualism, fellatio, opium, cunnilingus, communism, Mormons, physics, masturbating, Kyle Young, masturbating to Kyle Young and countless other sins which plague our increasingly Godless society. Why is it necessary for us to warn against the one way our children can feel true bliss–that is, from the word of God?"

Adding to McLellan’s woes, for the first time in recent memory the Catholic Church will not be alone in its dissent. While Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Taoists and worshippers from dozens of other religions are expected to join rioting Catholics in Ottawa this week, a dark cloud emerged over the planned festivities. A preliminary organizational meeting revealed a dangerous rivalry emerging between the New Age and Pagan delegations.

"It was awful," declared one Archbishop on the condition of anonymity. "The New Agers and the Pagans turned our plans for a peaceful inter-faith riot into a pissing match! It began when a Pagan preistess suggested we curse the Parliament buildings. Before we could even consider the proposal, the New Age delegation was demanding we send psychics yogic flying through the streets, handing out all sorts of religious texts without any of the new warning labels. They would be arrested on sight! We were about to put an end to the madness when the Pagans wanted to start reciting incantations in front of the Supreme Court! In the end, we had to ban both groups from the protest."

Though the new warning labels won’t be appearing until July, the Gauntlet did obtain the text of some of the proposed warnings. Printed below is a preliminary list of the labels scheduled to appear on religious products and services.

Bibles: WARNING: Bound in leather, but not in the good way.

Circumcisions: WARNING: There is no 30-day money back guarantee.

Marriages: WARNING: Marriage can be more expensive to quit than heroine or cocaine.

Catholic Priests: WARNING: It’s okay if you don’t spank your children; he’s been doing it for you. WARNING: Choir-boys may be touched by more than just the Truth. WARNING: The sins of this father involve your son.


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