If I Were The Devil
This recording, which is a 1996 reworking of an essay Paul Harvey penned in 1964, has been making the rounds this week. You may have heard it before or even again this week, but it is a striking reminder of how it is we find ourselves undone as a nation in so many regards. That which holds true as a nation, holds true as a town. What Lake Park has allowed onto our streets, into our churches, our schools and our town hall (one day, one decision at a time) has had an effect on where we find ourselves today. It also indicates where we can expect to wind up in days to come. Don’t be surprised when the choices being made build our future. That’s what choices do.
This is much more powerful if you listen without watching, if you ask me. I find the pictures distracting. The text is written out below.
“If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree—Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first—I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to pray after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war that themselves, and nations that war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flame. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, and neglect to discipline emotions—just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography—soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. What do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would question against extremes and hard work, and Patriotism, and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were to devil I’d keep on doing on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”
Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009), better known as Paul Harvey, was an American radio broadcaster for the ABCRadio Networks. He broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous The Rest of the Story segments. His listening audience was estimated, at its peak, at 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers. His broadcasts and newspaper columns have been reprinted in the Congressional Record more than those of any other commentator.
Paul Harvey Aurandt. [Internet] 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Harvey, March 25, 2012
The above information about Paul Harvey comes from Wikipedia only because an official Paul Harvey website was not readily available/easy to find.