Tabloid slams claim on crucified leader as `hell of an assumption!'
Jerusalem, 33 A.D. The Jesus Campaign has resumed, without Jesus! Or, as the Moon tabloid dubbed it last week, "the No Candidate Campaign".
In a hard-hitting article it said: "So Peter - or should that be Simon? - has resurrected [the newspaper's italics] the `Jesus Campaign'.
"Is that the same Simon - or should that be Peter? - who so recently denied he ever, ever, ever knew Jesus, though he was his deputy. Then he was speaking in the shadow of Golgotha, and courage was never ever, ever, ever Peter's - or should that be Simon's? - strength.
"He and his buddies stole Jesus's body, hid it no one knows where, and now they tell us the preacher is alive and well and probably has appeared at a village near you. And he expects to be believed. A hell of an assumption!
"Or should that be ascension? `Oh, he ascended into Heaven', he said when asked where Jesus was now. So convenient. Especially as (to date) no one gives interviews from Heaven. It is time this joker and his fellow clowns were dealt with. They have learned nothing from the crucifixion of their ne'er-do-well leader. Maybe it's time they got the same treatment?"
The core group of the movement formerly known as the "Jesus Campaign" gathered for a meeting in the city yesterday and, following what was said to be a rowdy get-together, they decided to pick up where they left off when Jesus was crucified.
They also replaced Judas Iscariot. He was paid to lead the High Priest's soldiers to Gethsemane where the preacher was found. Following the arrest he was overcome by guilt. It is claimed he hanged himself.
His replacement is Matthias, about whom little is known. Another candidate for the vacancy was "the man of three names", Joseph, also called Barsabbas and Justus. The group used lots to pick him. It is a favoured method of election, as it avoids the embarrassment of a count and ensures full support for the winner.
As well as the 11 surviving members of the core campaign group, yesterday's meeting was attended by the usual retinue of women who played such a role in the "Jesus Campaign", as well the preacher's mother, Mary, and his brothers.
Leaving the meeting in high spirits a reinvigorated group went into the streets of Jerusalem talking a bewildering range of babble. Some foreigners claimed to understand what they said, but the local consensus was that the group had been up all night carousing and was very drunk.
People who had been staying near where the group had met recalled there had been a lot of noise. "It was like trying to sleep through a thunder-storm," said one local resident.
On hearing that members of the group had claimed that flames, like tongues, had appeared over the heads of everyone at the gathering, another resident wondered "what were they on". He said he had drunk all sorts of wine in his day but he had never seen anything like that.
Peter denied they had any drink taken. "It's only nine in the morning," he said, and quoted from the prophet Joel ". . . your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams . . ." He said Jesus had conquered death. That he had been sent by God, as King David had forecast, and that he was the Messiah.
Some believed him and asked what they should do. "Be sorry for your sins and be baptised," he said. An estimated 3,000 people did so. It was also claimed that he cured a beggar who had been crippled from birth.
Sources in the city last night indicated that the council of chief priests intended wasting no time in acting against the Peter group.