Screwtape goes to Texas

(Somewhere in Hell)

My dearest Wormwood,

I must say it is with surprise and delight that you seem to be doing somewhat better for yourself having moved to the American Sector after that incident with the British fellow.  I will not deny that I was confounded when you sent that letter some time back saying “We need to wait it out and see what happens,” suggesting the situation after the latest of the humans’ big fancy wars was ripe for Infernal manipulation, but it seems you were right.

But word gets around down here; we had the internet installed quite some time ago (note: we had to settle for Comcast; don’t worry, they’ll get what’s coming to them in time) and we’ve been monitoring the situation in Texas for the last few weeks.  And we saw that some of your subjects were chanting “Hail, Satan” in some skirmish between those who support abortion and those who do not.

Unfortunately, word reached The Big Man Downstairs; He was none too thrilled that His title was taken so vainly.  It’s not that he disagrees with them; after all, they are on His side in the matter.  But it’s a matter of propriety.  His Maleficence doesn’t really want to be publicly associated with those who would actually defend the killing of viable children.  It’s a distraction.  So it needs to stop.  Also, it’s very bad PR, even for Satan.  He seems to think that the chanters were simply “trolling” (their word, not ours) the Enemy’s representatives.  As you know, He is much too grave a being to be trifled with like that.  Though He did commend them on their general Hellishness; they did a fine job of portraying the true nature of Hell, if you will recall our previous conversations about Music being drowned out by our Infernal Noise.

Which is not to say that he disagrees with them.  Oh, He finds it all amusing: the sideshow of those who speak of the issue in religious terms, on both sides, are doing a wonderful job of distracting everyone from the real issue at hand.  You must tell me, Wormwood–was it you that sought to clothe the Enemy’s resistance in almost purely religious garb?  Well, let me tell you, it has done a magnificent job–it’s a true stroke of genius!  It’s the distraction to end all distractions: by speaking of it only in our Enemy’s terms, as though He cares about it, allows those who have been influenced by our tempters to dismiss anything they say as that great and terrible faux pas, religious.  It took our Research Department a very long time (and at very great cost) to bring about the atmosphere of general distrust of anything that smacked of religion; but when it came about, it allowed for those hapless humans to dismiss almost anything from our Enemy’s camp because it was cheeky to speak about it at all.  And Hell have mercy (as if–but that’s for another letter) if someone appealed to metaphysics in order to argue something that applied to how humans behave and regard one another!  And thus the stage was set: even if a human disavowed the Enemy, if he took a stand on a matter of abortion he was regarded as being corrupted by ‘religion’ and dismissed as such.  So when it’s all said and done, even the humans under the Enemy’s control who spoke of abortion only in ‘religious’ terms were unable to hit the mark and provided us a useful distraction.

But the Enemy does seem to care about this sort of thing; His infuriating peons chose to sing a song about Forgiveness.  Forgiveness!  What gall!  What cheek!  Even after all the pains we went through to make the term ‘religious’ radioactive to them, they impose their insufferable mercy on those that we have convinced deserve no forgiveness and need no forgiveness.  We make it embarrassing and they went and did it anyway.  They might well even bring the whole charade down on accident.  And they’d better not, since we invested so much in making them seem cruel and heartless towards those who are tempted into abortion.  So it falls to you to rectify this situation.  Oh, to be sure, much of it is still beside the point and a useful distraction, and much of it is simply a bad argument, but it is all on terribly thin ice.  As are you.

Oh, the humans and their pathetic ‘rights.’  You’ve done well by getting them to think about rights selfishly, in terms of some sort of conflict, and in terms of unessential characteristics.  A death sentence simply for being the wrong gender–unthinkable after birth, but permissible before!  An unwanted child, deprived of life, simply because of how someone else regarded him!  Or because that human would deprive someone else of partaking in all manner of worldly pleasures that we’ve inculcated in them over the long years.  Know the gravity, then, of the thought that the mere presence of another human being that requires their attention may divert them from those worthwhile temptations and bring them into closer union with the Enemy.  Why He bothers to unite with them is still beyond us, but He has a knack for using things they perceive as ‘burdens’ to reveal Himself to them when our Noise is withheld.  We must work more on that.  Our Research Department is busy trying new ways to warp the thinking of some of those among them who call themselves “ethicists,” who are simply the most twisted sons of Hell you ever did see.  Can you imagine the scandal if anyone figured out their statements relied on metaphysics just as much as those who disagree with them?  Can you imagine the lack of chaos if they ever figured out the nature of rights?  Hence all the distractions.  Of course, they’ll have no rights at all Down Here, even if they wound up down here just insisting upon ‘their rights.’  But they’ll have no rights at all with the Enemy either; we’ll still tell them that much, but if they ever figure out how or why, the jig will be up.  Their concept of rights, as noble as they think of it, is still a very useful distraction when corrupted and debased.

But I digress.  Keep all the distractions going; even if they will not succeed this time, it is beside the point.  Our point is the myriad distraction.  Too few of them are fighting the real battles to make that much of a difference.  But if they start making much more of a difference, you will pay the price.  I hear the tempters at Comcast have a few openings, and no one wants to go there, do they?  I thought not.  Get to work.

 

Ever yours,

Screwtape