Economic meltdown hits afterlife
God lays off angels, replaces Islam's 72 virgins with inflatable dolls, and switches bright light at end of tunnel to a low-watt bulb.
By Dan T. Alighieri, Staff Writer

Forget about streets paved with gold and rivers flowing with jewels. The recession has spread to Heaven.

Theologians trace the crisis to a Bible passage in which Jesus promised followers, "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you."

That set off a heavenly real-estate boom – and a lot of questionable financing, said Vatican economist Max Weber. "It took 2,000 years, but the bubble finally burst."

The result has been a series of afterlife cutbacks, including angel layoffs, outsourcing prayer requests to a call center in India, and replacing the long tunnel and bright light that people encounter after dying with a cardboard tube and compact fluorescent bulb.

Even the thermostat in Hell has been dialed down to a balmy 85 degrees to control energy costs.

All religions have been affected:

• Muslim martyrs expecting to spend eternity with 72 virgins will now have to make do with inflatable dolls.
• Dead Mormons hoping to rule their own planets in the afterlife will instead run a time-share planet for two weeks a year.

Afterlife economists say the cash crunch would end if God would loosen the rule that "you can't take it with you" when you die.

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President also urges states that use the electric chair on Death Row to switch to an Energy Star model.