Look at all those polls, [‘Exorcist’ writer William Peter] Blatty says. Nine out of 10 Americans believe in God, says one. More Americans believe in the Devil than evolution, says another. And it’s the fear that something can possess you — not the Devil, but something like rage or jealousy or despair — that haunts everyone regardless of their belief system.
Blatty has a gravity about him, and also, somehow, a lightness. An impishness. This is a man who is quick to laugh to the point of tears and also thinks that these may be “the last days.” This is a man who says, after a sip of coffee with Equal sweetener, “It’s a fallen world,” like he’s noting the weather.
Mere steps away from lunch is evidence of the fallen, in his eyes: his beloved alma mater, which he believes has drifted perilously into secularism. …
The last straw, he says, was Georgetown [University]’s invitation of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to be a commencement speaker in May of last year.
Sebelius has a record of supporting abortion rights, and abortion is the issue that really sets Blatty’s nerves on fire. He describes, his voice trembling, a particular abortion procedure in graphic detail. He pauses. His voice is nearly a whisper. “That’s demonic.”
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