Astronauts prepare the Creator's body for its return to Earth
WASHINGTON—After more than five decades of tireless work, brave exploration, and technological innovation aimed at a single objective, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Wednesday that it had finally completed its mission to find and kill God.
"I am ecstatic to tell you all today that we have beheld the awesome visage of the supreme architect of the cosmos, and we have murdered Him," jubilant administrator Charles Bolden said after being drenched with champagne by other celebrating NASA employees. "There have been innumerable setbacks, missteps, and hardships over the past 50 years, but we always stayed true to our ultimate goal and we never gave up."
"We finally got the son of a bitch!" Bolden continued. "He's dead! God is dead!"
According to officials, God was killed this morning on the moon by a highly trained team of seven astronauts. He was reportedly lured into a trap after coming into contact with the Voyager 2 probe, which was transmitting a false message that NASA wanted to broker a truce with God on "neutral ground."
"One of our lunar rovers captured an image of God at approximately 2100 hours last night, and we immediately launched a vessel manned by our best assassins," said Richard Egan, Mission Control Chief at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "After exiting the lunar lander, the astronauts approached God under the false pretense of peace, but He must have sensed something was amiss and fled. Our men gave chase in a moon buggy, finally overtaking Him in a crater where He was subdued after several minutes of violent hand-to-hand combat."
Egan told reporters that it took as many as five highly trained astronauts to fully restrain the Supreme Being. He also confirmed that three of the astronauts sent to kill God were badly injured, but were expected to recover.
"He was damn fast. And strong—as strong as anyone I've ever engaged," said Captain Trevor Sullivan, the astronaut who, after his weary team dragged a bloodied and beaten God back to the lunar module, executed Him with a single gunshot to the head. "He fought like a wild animal, and the fact that He's omnipotent really worked against us. But we know a few tricks ourselves, and after all was said and done, we took Him down for good."
"Gotta give Him credit, though, God was defiant right up until the end. Scrappy bastard spit right in my face just before I pulled the trigger," added Sullivan, smiling.
NASA was founded in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for the express purpose of locating and assassinating God. By 1969, it had completed a successful lunar landing, bringing mankind that much closer to neutralizing the Almighty. It was in that year that U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first to step on the moon, and uttered the legendary phrase, "Where are you, God, you fucking faggot? Come and get me!"
Over the years, officials told reporters, God had proved to be an elusive and formidable foe. In 1986, He destroyed the Challenger shuttle, killing all seven crew members, including Christa McAuliffe, a special operative who had been given orders to seduce and then strangle God with garrote wire. The Lord subsequently blew up the Columbia Destroyer Shuttle on reentry in 2003, and several times sabotaged the Hubble Space Telescope, a large piece of surveillance equipment launched into orbit in 1990 to monitor His activities.
"I can't tell you how many times God gave us the slip," NASA aerospace engineer David Williamson said. "We learned pretty quickly that you couldn't underestimate Him, not for a second. He was an unbelievably intelligent and resourceful enemy, and if you made even the smallest mistake, you can bet He'd make you pay for it."
Sullivan's begrudging respect for God was echoed by many other NASA officials and employees. Though most have spent the majority of their adult lives working toward killing God, a certain reverence for the deceased deity pervaded NASA headquarters.
"It's ironic that despite all of the technological advances and powerful weapons we've made, it was God's trusting and compassionate nature that was His final undoing," said Buzz Aldrin, a former astronaut who ripped out pages of the Bible on the moon's surface in an effort to enrage God and draw Him out of hiding. "I mean, you've really got to hand it to Him. He gave us one hell of a fight."
"I only wish it had been me personally who got to pull the trigger on that cocksucker," Aldrin added.
Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti had predicted a possible violent death for himself in the wake of the assassination of party colleague and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer on January 4. And, the civil society in Pakistan has lived in fear of such an eventuality since. Still, when news of the minister being gunned down near his house in Islamabad came, it left everyone shell-shocked and fearful as the already negligible space for discourse shrunk further.
As condemnation poured in from civil society and the diplomatic community besides the political class, the question uppermost in everyone’s minds was how to inject reason into the discourse that has been taken over by the 'religious' right wing.
In a particularly blunt statement, British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said: "It poses questions about what kind of society Pakistan wants to become." Describing the assassination as a "callous, cowardly attack’’, he added that the U. K. would continue to work side by side with Pakistan to help secure a brighter, more stable future for this country – "a future in which extremists are not allowed to threaten or intimidate Pakistan’s democratic process and debate".
Condemning the assassination, U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter said his country would stand with the people and government of Pakistan in their fight against the forces of intolerance and violent extremism that is a threat to all.
Expressing outrage, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the assassination was the work of militant hardliners who are out to eliminate anyone who raises his voice against persecution of the vulnerable people. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for an end to the political cowardice and institutional myopia that encourages such continued appeasement of extremists despite its bloody consequences.
Stating that Bhatti’s ruthless and cold-blooded murder was a grave setback for the struggle for tolerance, pluralism and respect for human rights in Pakistan, HRW noted: "In articulating the position that the blasphemy law, as currently framed, engenders abuse and required review, Bhatti was only doing his job and reiterating the stated position of the ruling Pakistan Peoples’ Party until it reneged on the same on December 30, 2010. Bhatti’s murder is the bitter fruit of appeasement of extremist and militant groups both prior to and after the killing of Taseer."
Demanding action against the assassins, Amnesty International noted that continued lack of accountability for perpetrators of abuse has severely eroded the rule of law in Pakistan. "Such violations thrive in the atmosphere of impunity and irresponsibility fostered by the government's failure to uphold its human rights obligations.”