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A devil’s response to Paul Harvey

October 16, 2013


FROM: Screwdisk, Executive Vice-Demon for Sales,

HellCorp North America

TO: Regional Field Agent Scumbucket, Tempter Second Class

RE: “If I Were the Devil,” by Paul Harvey

My dearest nephew,

I received your last message with interest, especially the essay “If I Were the Devil,” by the mortal radio personality Paul Harvey. Quite intriguing. Apparently, though, the version you forwarded to me was not entirely authentic. Not surprising—the original was penned more than 50 years ago, after all. Mr. Harvey himself wrote a couple of versions. And the “human process” seems to have had its way with the text. (If you’d care to study the history of the piece, you’ll find more at

Let me first assuage your concerns; this document does not mean there was any “security breach” or “leak.” Mr. Harvey made some astute guesses, but any human who knows anything about us could do the same with a bit of thought. (You may recall that a mortal author named C.S. Lewis attempted a similar feat, publishing some purported correspondence that he ascribed to our esteemed ancestor Screwtape. I would love to correct Mr. Lewis, but he does not seem to be here.)

But back to Mr. Harvey. He seems to think we care about the spiritual state of “nations” as such. We, however, deal in individual souls; we don’t worry about how we could “take over the United States.” We may concern ourselves with influencing leaders, or engender social trends to further our cause, true enough, but work towards damning entire countries en masse? Not necessary. Our Enemy does not confer salvation based on citizenship or political affiliation; our eternal battle is conducted one soul at a time. (Though we do concern ourselves with volume—and speaking of which, we must soon discuss your progress against your monthly quota. But I digress.)

That does not mean that we cannot use certain national characteristics to our advantage. Mr. Harvey thinks we are trying to turn all Americans into atheists. He does not seem to understand—or perhaps does not believe in—the historical inertia that faith exerts in his society. It would be quite difficult to turn all Americans completely away from spiritual matters. But we can take that faith and, in a significant number of individuals, twist it to suit out ends.