WORKING ON THE HILL: Learning To Pray For Your Enemies

Being a journalist covering Congress and national politics, I often hear from readers reacting via email to something I’ve reported, usually in positive terms but not always. Once in a while, a message comes soaked with insults and venom.

Photo by Alessandro Bellone on Unsplash.

I got such an email earlier today reacting to my March 20 story in The Epoch Times reporting on criticism sparked by that news photo you probably saw of Vice President Mike Pence leading prayer in the Oval Office for the Coronavirus Task Force he heads and for the nation in its response to the coronavirus Pandemic.

“Bob” (not his real name) is evidently from New York and was extremely agitated by the headline on the story, “Trump’s National Day of Prayer Nettled Critics, but America is Still a Praying Nation.”

Bob really, intensely hates President Donald Trump: “Trump doesn’t pray.  He’s not religious.  He’s not compassionate.  He is a self-serving lying puke, and you know it … He stands alone as a vile and pernicious liar.  Too many big dumb Americans fall for it, like you.”

And Bob thinks people who pray are idiots:  “Keep your religiosity and praying to yourselves. You embarrass an ever growing number of us conscientious, Golden Rule humans that don’t believe in man-made religions.”

Why do I share this with you? If you have ever answered the phones in any congressional office, you have more than likely experienced similar vitriol directed against your boss, or Congress or the President or “bureaucrats,” or some other official or part of the government.

Even if you don’t work on the Hill, merely expressing an opinion in any public forum these days can get you in hot water with somebody. Unfortunately, it comes no matter which party happens to be in control. There are angry, hate-ridden folks across the political spectrum.

Reading this email today, I was reminded that Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” For that reminder, I thank the Holy Spirit.

He’s why today’s angry, hateful correspondent helped me see such emotional misery with compassion rather than the disgust that I confess to have felt on previous occasions. How miserable must one be that you aim it at someone you’ve never met?

Here’s how I responded to Bob: “Well, as Voltaire is reputed to have said, ‘I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ And I will pray for your well-being in this Pandemic that is hitting New York so hard. Stay safe!”

Somewhat to my surprise, in reply, Bob did not tell me to stuff my prayers for him where the sun don’t shine, he simply encouraged me “to keep reading Voltaire.” To be honest, I’ve had quite enough of Voltaire, but I really am praying for Bob.

That’s no virtue signaling because, trust me, such praying doesn’t make me “better” than Bob. But it definitely blesses me — and who knows, maybe someday him as well — consciously to choose to seek the good for someone who isn’t exactly a fan, especially while practicing a profession in which, let’s face it, big egos are commonplace, a flaw from which I am definitely not exempted.

So, next time you answer a call at the office and get a “Bob,” don’t get upset, hear them out, then pray for them. We could change the world for the better if we all did that, you know.

Oh, and pray that we can all return to our offices on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, and get back to normal as soon as possible. That will improve everybody’s mood!


Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here:

6 thoughts on “WORKING ON THE HILL: Learning To Pray For Your Enemies”

  1. Mark:

    Enjoyed this post Mark. I believe your emailer’s comment was unintentionally ironic:
    “Keep your religiosity and praying to yourselves. You embarrass an ever growing number of us
    conscientious, Golden Rule humans that don’t believe in man-made religions.”
    I wonder if he forgot that the Golden Rule Bob seems to follow was given to us by Jesus Himself in Matthew 7:12 NIV:
    12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
    Yours in Christ, Kurt


  2. No, sorry, but I’m done with the crazy contingent in this country. I will not pray for them, wish them well, or hope they avoid harm. They unerringly vote for baby murdering, invader coddling, civilization wrecking psychopaths who put all of us at ever increasing risk. The cartoon universe that they inhabit within their heads is a deliberate and willful construct for which they are fully responsible. As bad as the media is, the truth is clear to see. Even a dumb Millennial like me can see it.

    I’ve run out of cheeks to turn. These are people who want me dead, who want my society and culture destroyed, and the history of my ancestors erased. I will not blow kisses at the people coming at me with knives. Voltaire can hive right off. I will not defend the rights of a propaganda industrial complex to peddle the lies of a hostile foreign power. Pelosi can choke to death on her crème glacée, Schiff’s eyes can finally complete their emergency ejection, and Schumer can stroke out from an OD of whatever Sith Lord chemistry keeps him in motion.

    At some point you have to accept that these people are your enemy in every sense of the word, and act accordingly. At some point you have to start fighting back. Beard scratchers will opine that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. The pragmatic will observe that is true because the competent don’t leave it until last.


    1. I so much relate to this, Rhapsody. The question for me is thus: Is God wanting me to fight back, or is God wanting me to trust in Him alone? I know what I should answer, but also know what I would do if the trumpet sounded. *sigh*


  3. Keep reading Voltaire? Good advice. Perhaps Voltaire’s most favorite work was “Candide”, where Dr. Pangloss assures us that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that everything will work out for the best. And perhaps that’s the attitude that we need to maintain to keep our sanity.


  4. Bob’s an idiot, but the Golden Rule long predates Jesus of Nazareth. See Leviticus 19:18. As for summing up the Law and Prophets, Hillel said it first: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

    — Shabbat 31a, Babylonian Talmud


    1. Thank you, Johann. You are indeed correct that it is in Leviticus, which predates Jesus’ 33 years on this Earth as a man by, I think, two millennia. As a Christian, I believe when God says at Genesis 1:26 “let us make man,” the plural is indicative of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And John says at the beginning of his Gospel that “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son, from the Father, full of grace and truth.” So Jesus, being the Word, was the author of the Golden Rule.


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