Pray for the pagan politicians
In New Testament times, of course, it was even worse. Almost no one in authority was Christian and many were immoral by any standard. In fact, Christians were being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and even executed by civil authorities.
And yet, in today’s first reading (1 Timothy 2:1-8), St. Paul has this to say:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.
As Christians seem to face more and more opposition in popular culture, political debate, and even criminal prosecutions, there is a temptation for us to make the divide between ourselves and the rest of the world even wider, following an increasing trend in secular politics (on the left and on the right) to excoriate and anathematize any who disagree with their own side.
St. Paul reminds us that as people of faith, we need to pray for those in authority and all of our fellow citizens, including even those who attack the truth and who persecute truth-tellers.
As people of faith, we must hold to what is true and live by it.
As citizens, we need to speak and work for what we believe in: with clarity and charity, with concrete deed and with fervent prayer for the good of all.