By Beale Z. Bubb
HELL’S GATE, OK — In a press conference at the entrance of Hell Tuesday afternoon, the Devil and his staff announced a temporary amnesty until at least June 1.
“These are trying times,” Chief demon Kevin Patel said. “We realize that without immediate intervention, Hell will not be able to process new arrivals.”
Patel said that Hell is used to staffing up for wars, but that the crisis could get much bigger. “If they don’t bend the curve soon, this influx will far outpace the rate at which we’ve taken in souls from past wars and pandemics,” he warned.
The amnesty, which waives the soul indebtedness of most of the recently departed, is retroactively effective to February 26, the day President Donald Trump said at a press conference that the growing number of infected people in the U.S. would be “pretty soon at only five people.”
Instead of damnation, anyone who dies while the crisis is ongoing will receive a pass to eternal glory at the right hand of the God of their choice, or their choice of reincarnation, oneness with the universe, or simple cessation of being.
There are limits for who qualifies, as Patel explained. “Obviously there are people who just deserve to be here, and have it coming,” Patel said.
Among those qualifying for amnesty:
- All children
- All people who suffered from dementia, as well as their caretakers
- All healthcare workers, first responders, and military personnel who die in the line of duty, or from disease or mental illness contracted in the line of duty.
- People who were generally good in their lifetimes.
- People who gave more than they took.
- Others on a case-by-case basis
Specifically disqualified from the amnesty are the following:
- Televangelists and any megachurch pastors taking a salary of more than $200,000 US per year
- Politicians who knowingly lie to the public, or who have received substantial personal gain from their office.
- Child predators and human traffickers
- Anyone who earns their living by telling lies
- People who keep putting trash in their recycling bins
- Profiteers who bought up essential supplies and equipment to resell in this crisis
- People who forward unattributed Facebook messages that say “share with all your friends.”
- People who send group texts or reply-all in emails
Heaven spokesperson Holly Schitt reaffirmed that anyone who earned their spot in eternal glory by their adherence and belief in their religion of choice would still be entitled to the normal judgement process.
“Never let it be said that the Devil doesn’t hand out free apples now and then,” Satan said. “We’re going to try just torturing the truly bad souls for the time being.”
Rarely softhearted, Satan is willing to cut some slack. “frankly some of y’all have had a pretty rough time up there, I’m not sure coming to hell would be seen as punishment.”
“Truth be told, we never really liked throwing people in the lake of fire, just because of what they didn’t or couldn’t believe. I’ve played golf with God every Monday morning for millenia, so I know him better than most, and this all makes sense to me. But if you’re the kind that thinks God runs around rescuing the truly faithful from all calamities, we understand how a trial like this would cause doubt.”
Patel said that the end date of the amnesty could change if the crisis continues. “Look for an announcement around the end of May, if we’re still in lockdown at that point,” he said.
Satan dropped a hint at possibly making the rule change permanent. “Who knows? We’ll see where this takes us, and whether things up on Earth improve with how mankind treats one another.”
As of press time, God’s representatives had no comment on the origin of this particular plague.