Southeast Missourian's Prayer of the Day Saves 100,000th Soul

Fake News written by David Lee Deville on Monday, May 15, 2000

from the would-you-like-fries-with-that-prayer? dept.

"Who needs Billy Graham?", says unusually well-educated Speak Out caller.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO -- The popular "Prayer of the Day" segment in the Southeast Missourian has saved its 100,000th soul, and that's just the beginning, says Associate Editor Betty Bob Hubble.

"100,000 and counting!" said Hubble at a press conference earlier today, celebrating the milestone. "We would never have dreamed a few years ago that the Prayer of the Day would be so popular! Thank you, Gary Rust!"

A electronic sign has been placed outside the Missourian's office in downtown Cape that counts the number of pagans, infidels and savages who have been saved from eternal damnation. The sign says "Thousands and thousands saved", and the number increases by an average of roughly twenty per day (forty on Sundays).

Local churches have seen precipitous drops in attendance since the Missourian started this feature. Surveys indicate that over 40% of regular parishioners at area churches have stopped attending Sunday services. Instead, many have chosen to get their daily dose of religion from the Missourian and skip church altogether.

"Who needs Billy Graham?", said an unusually well-educated Speak Out caller in Friday's edition. "Thanks to the Missourian, I have been born again and will never ever molest livestock! Not ever again! And I really mean it this time!"

This sort of enthusiastic response is fairly typical.

Some Cape area ministers are concerned about the Missourian's new role in recruiting lost souls and spreading the Holy Spirit.

"What's Mr. Rust trying to do, corner the market on religion?" said Pastor Wilbur Cartwright of the First Church of Christ Scientist. "He already has a stranglehold on all print media in the region, and now he's trying to muscle the churches out of the religion market. We just can't compete with the Prayer of the Day, Church of the Week features, 'Random Acts of Kindness' fluff, and the Sunday `Religion' section. Who does he think he is, L. Ron Hubbard? What's next?"

Betty Bob Hubble of the Missourian sees things from a different perspective.

"People like to complain about the liberal media, and the Missourian offers an alternative to that. We are the conservative media, and we're proud of it," she said. "We think it's a novel approach to evangelism. Where else can you buy a paper, get some good sales ads, read the police reports to see what your neighbors have been up to, see how many of your friends got divorced, find the best garage sales, and still find eternal salvation? All for fifty cents?"

The staff of the upstart online newspaper The Cape Rock apparently hold a slightly different view, but have been hard to contact for a statement. The editors have reportedly been on lunch break since late April and were not available for comment.

Sexy receptionist and former stripper Glitter de Sade (who insists that is her real name) did offer this comment: "Forgiveness for your sins and Speak Out, in the same package, is a tough deal to beat," she said, while filing her fingernails. "I admit that I still read the Missourian, but not for spiritual redemption. Mainly just for the horoscopes. But in a pinch, it makes excellent toilet paper, too."

"Although it chafes a bit, to be honest," she confessed. "I prefer Charmin."