WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Troubled by dwindling membership and numerous setbacks, the 155 year-old Republican Party filed for financial, intellectual and moral bankruptcy and announced its reorganization as a tax-exempt church. The new GOP will be officially called The First Church Of Jesus Loves America And Latter Day Lower Taxes Anti Foreigner Old Time Heterosexual Do As I say Not As I Do Affluence Ministry Hoop N' Hollerin' Revival Gun Lovin' Banker's Club Outreach Hootenanny, Inc but will still use the name "Republican Party" for most functions.
Experts think that few consumers will notice any difference.
The last ditch move is widely seen as 'the only hope' for the embattled political organization, according to many observers. In recent days, the Republican Party had been the the object of a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's ironically named News Corp., until it was discovered that Murdoch already had a significant ownership in the GOP. Other attempts to save the sagging brand had failed, including the attempt by Michael Steele to raise capital by licensing the GOP's trademarked elephant symbol for an athletic clothing line.
Democratic Party leaders could not immediately be reached for comment as they were solving problems and doing things.
Republican officials wasted no time in taking advantage of their new found status as a religion and began punishing infidels, giving each other impressive titles and handing out funny hats. Meghan McCain was spotted in Phoenix being fitted for a custom tailored iron maiden while Colin Powell was locked in a tower high above Dallas, where his cries of agony could be heard from as far away as a BBQ place that former President George W. Bush frequents.
His Most High Holiness Newt Gingrich read a prepared statement that said in part, "Thus begins a new era in American Politics and so we declare the beginning of a new calendar. We look forward to crushing our enemies during coming Year One Federal Crusade and are assured by Holy Priestess Of Eternal Cable New Appearances Liz Cheney that the mighty hand of her Father shall smite our foes with your tax deductible contribution."
In a move that left many puzzled, conservative icon Rush Limbaugh did not seek an exalted title and opted instead for 'Rush LaVey'.
Reaction from the religious community was generally negative. Some holy insiders said the GOP appeared to 'miss the entire point of spirituality' while others were primarily concerned about competition. In heaven, Jesus Christ - a strong supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 election - wept.