Meditation and Reflection

Screwtape: ‘The state’s desire is dressed up as “concern”…’

The second contribution to His Grace’s emergency team ministry during the coronavirus pestilence comes from someone who wishes to remain anonymous for professional reasons.


Years ago, CS Lewis in his Screwtape Letters gave us insight into some of the correspondence from senior devil, Screwtape, to his nephew and apprentice devil, Wormwood. We are able to catch up some years down the line as Screwtape muses of the gains that have been won in the destruction of the Kingdom of God and the tasks still to be accomplished.

My dear Wormwood,

With the approach of No Fault Divorce we can look forward to a further nail in the coffin of marriage and take the opportunity of seeing how much has been won in our aim to abolish the family. How much I feared that the Church would rear up against our onslaught on this stronghold of the Enemy. In fact the Church has been our strongest ally, so concerned it has been to ‘include’ the minority that it has forgotten the necessity to strengthen the married majority. Now there is hardly a vicar who dare give reasons for the union between man and woman.

Feminism in all its forms has been another ally. The more we can get humans to phrase their discussions in terms of the patriarchy and the oppression of women, rather than society being a mutually agreed cooperation between the sexes, the more we sow the seeds of discord in the hearts and minds of even right-thinking women. The key, as always, is emotion and sentiment rather than thought. Reason, after all, is the weapon of the Enemy. Our whole campaign is based on words that sound good, like ‘fairness’, ‘equality’ and ‘compassion’ but which mean nothing unless accompanied by ‘honesty’, ‘justice’ and ‘integrity’. When the heart bleeds, the temptation is for the brain to stop working. We must pillory any sign of measured thought.

The formal tearing up of marriage has indeed gone better than I expected. The foundations of its abolition were won by careful strategy over the decades. One didn’t start by dismissing outright the difference between male and female. That argument would have been rejected without hesitation. One just whispered: ‘Did God really say he created male and female? Are you sure he didn’t just create “people”?’

It seems to kind, so gentle, so accepting to see men and women as the same things. And how then could one treat them differently, allowing a married women to transfer her tax allowance to he husband? Carried through, by a Tory government no less, on grounds of that lovely term ‘fairness’, it abolished the concept of and the incentive for financial jointness.

Strategy, my dear Wormwood, that’s what it was. We couldn’t have had gay civil partnerships had there been financial incentives for marriage. It would have cost too much. But as soon as the financial benefits have gone, one can give pseudo-marriage to anyone because it costs nothing. Oh how artfully did Blair slip the legislation through. Gay civil partnerships were in fact gay marriages, without a murmur of opposition. All they needed was a name change.

The Equality Act was pure accident. It just happened to be at first reading when the Labour government departed. Dear old Cameron blithely nodded it through. So well meaning – but so adrift. Grammar and rhetoric but no logic. Just the sort of ally we need. Imagine had the Act been through the Lords and had had a few brains there really unpick what it meant. Oh sentiment instead of thought! With this undefined ‘good’ of ‘equality’ we can do everything and anything.

A double dose of Equality has given us only not only gay marriage but also straight civil partnerships. From the one special relationship of marriage to four separate institutions that could, and do, mean anything to anyone. Before long we shall have sisters marrying (it’s only fair!). Why not even polygamy? By then marriage will mean nothing more than having a good friendship. We will have abolished marriage by the process of giving it to everyone.

But I continue to warn you of our need to continue our mission against the family. It is the Enemy’s stronghold. Bruised and battered families may be but if only a few marriages remain, the power of the state will never prevail. Against the family, the state is impotent. For the family, the natural parents, have real love for their offspring. The state’s desire is dressed up as ‘concern’ but it is really only concerned with power. That is why the state is infinitely corruptible in a way that families are not. A million children born every year; two million parents expressing their combined wisdom as to how to raise them. As long as marriages remain, the Enemy is in power because the families can raise their voices against the state. Our work is not at an end.

Your affectionate uncle.