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ROME, Italy (CAP) - In the wake of population booms, the world's most popular deity has announced plans aimed at helping to ease overcrowding on Earth. According to His spokesperson at the Vatican, the Creator in which we're all endowed will conduct a series of layoffs that will ultimately total about 200 million people.
"In light of a struggling global economy and oversubscription to a finite amount of natural resources, God has deemed it necessary to take these draconian measures," Pope Francis I said on God's behalf. "As humans, we must work together in the spirit of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.
"If our Father hands you a pink slip, don't be a wuss. Take it like a man," added the Pope.
According to the Pope, the first round of layoffs could come as early as next month, depending on how quickly religious leaders around the world can compile their initial list of recommended participants for the reduction in force. While the full content of the preliminary list is a closely guarded secret, snippets have been leaked to the media and contain some startling information.
"Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Simon Cowell - definitely among the first to go," said World Magazine editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky. "Plus that guy who cut you off getting to the exit ramp on Rt 93, the old woman who parked in the 'mothers with infants' spot at the grocery store - the list is pretty inclusive."
Most who have seen the list say they agree with the names that are on it, but many are concerned about what these layoffs will mean for those who are left behind. With lives that are already crammed full from dawn until dusk, pundits fear that the functions and roles of those being laid off will end up being outsourced to third world countries who may be ill-equipped to handle the pressures and extra load of more developed nations.
"Let's not get bent out of shape about this," said economist Mark Silva. "With 6.7 billion people on Earth, this layoff amounts to less than three percent of the world population. We're talking half the state of Wyoming; if they disappeared, would anyone really notice?
"If God plays His cards right, He can weed out many of the unwanteds and in all actuality, make things easier for the rest of us," Silva noted. "I'd love a shorter line at the grocery store - wouldn't you?"
However, it's that very selection process that worries some who fear Catholics will once again be asked to shoulder the burden of the rest of the world. "It'd be nice if Protestants would step up to the plate for once instead of continuing to ride the coattails of Catholics," said one web surfer who posted his malcontent on a religion message board.
The Vatican is expected to make further announcements about the layoffs in the coming weeks. Speculation is that other deities such Buddha, Allah and Vishnu may follow God's suit and conduct layoffs of their own later this year.
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