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October 2, 2001

Letter From Below

With Apologies to C.S. Lewis

Matthew Richardson referred me to a wonderful take-off of C.S. Lewis by columnist Paul Greenberg, the opening paragraphs of which are reproduced below. The full text in all its hilarity appears at www.townhall.com/columnists/paulgreenberg/pg20010731.shtml July 31, 2001, "Letter from Below" styled after The Screwtape Letters.

This in turn appears in the Paul Greenberg archives section of www.townhall.com which brings together the writings of somewhere around 60 conservative columnists nationwide. Those interested can, if they wish, sign up for a daily infusion of news and other viewpoints sent to their e-mail address.

With apologies to C. S. Lewis

My dear Wormwood,

Would you please calm down, for Hell's sake?

I have here your semihysterical e-mail of the 24th instant, and I can't recall ever receiving a more wrongheaded lament from any of my numerous apprentice devils, second class, up there in the field.

I think I should warn you that your soul, poor ragged thing that it is, may be in danger if you insist on carrying on in this woeful fashion. What next, are you going to trade in your nice pointy tail and solid pitchfork for a pair of those wimpy wings? Beware: The Enemy never sleeps and is forever seducing our agents into His own ranks.

So pull up your spiffy red socks and get your demonic self together, man. Contrary to this so-called Report From Washington you've sent me, the world is not, I repeat not, going to heaven in a handbasket.

On the contrary, the very developments you cite as defeats are really victories. You must learn to look beyond the surface of things. That is where our greatest triumphs occur. The more showy the displays of religion, the more we advance behind the scenes. Didn't you learn anything in Deviltry 101? You must stop, I repeat stop, trying to hinder this movement to give religion more government support. On the contrary, you need to encourage the impression that all the churches need to succeed is more federal money. There is no need, not now, to emphasize the federal regulation that comes with it.

Never give a sucker an even break. - Barnum 4:1. Just swing all that moolah in front of them, like a pocket watch before a baby, and watch their eyes bulge. We'll have them reaching for the bait in no time. Indeed, they'll be fighting each other to get at it. It'll be a splendid sight, watching the pious frauds trample one another in the stampede for government grants. . . .

[Snip]

Devilishly,

SCREWTAPE

©2001 Tribune Media Services

 
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