What would God do with ‘praying’ politicians?

Patricio N. Abinales
What would God do with ‘praying’ politicians?
What do you think God would do as he continues to be handed all these supplications from Filipino politicians, like pork barrel scam suspect Senator Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr?

What do you think God would do as he continues to be handed all these supplications from Filipino politicians, particularly those who appear to be facing jail time? What would he make of these?

For the outstanding feature of these prayers is that they appeal to God to unleash his powers on their detractors and make these detractors see the light and declare the politicians clean and Christian. And if this fails to hold water, they then plead with God to guide them in their ordeal, and lead them to the end of the tunnel where freedom awaits. 

This question popped in my brain recently while watching Senator Bong Revilla, spouse Lani Mercado, their kids, and their supporters engage in a series of “prayer vigils” in June to remind themselves that God was with them. These vigils, according to a supporter, was also aimed at bringing the truth to Senator Pogi’s detractors  – the Department of Justice officials, the Ombudsman, the Sandiganbayan, and to the police unit sent to arrest him – so that they would see the light.

And just to make sure that their audience – TV watchers, Internet addicts, and the occasional newspaper readers – got the point, Senator Pogi and entourage marched to the nearest chapel to hear the Holy Mass. After that, he surrendered himself to authorities and was placed in a prison cell that he would share with his “four-legged counterparts,” cockroaches and mosquitos. 

So if you were God and you just turned your attention to the Philippines just when Revilla et. al. rained you with sanctified thoughts and holy desires, what would you do? 

Let us speculate. God’s first act would be to fire and excommunicate the idiot Pharisee who agreed to play along with Senator Pogi’s antics. Yes, yes, yes, priests are also supposed to also attend to sinners, but if I remember my Catholic teachings right, sinners are welcomed back to the congregation only after they confessed and showed remorse for their sins. There is no indication of that in Senator Pogi’s case, and the priest who presided the pre-detention mass said nothing about this criterion too. So off with his head…and, well, literally…the devil be damned!

Before moving on to his next sinner, God would realize, given this first act, one fundamental habit of most Filipino politicians, or politicians in general for that matter – that when they seek his help, seeking forgiveness is not on their menu of rogations. Neither is there any admission of indiscretions, from the most petty (lying to the people) to the moderately profane (having mistresses or frequenting the strip joints) to the most serious (assassinating rivals or slaughtering their families and friends). 

These immoralities are not for God, they are for the courts, and politicians are less wary about the latter because judges can be bought or court proceedings can continue for decades. 

It is this different perception of sin which explains why the 1951 Senate President Jose Avelino blurted out the classic line, “What  are we in power for?” upon hearing that he was being scrucated by the justice department.

Avelino continued: “Why should we pretend to be saints when in reality we are not? We are not angels. When we die we will all go to hell. It is better to be in hell because in that place there are no investigations, no Secretary of Justice, no Secretary of the Interior to go after us.”

He then finished with flourish: “When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He made a distinction between the good crook and the bad crook. We can aspire to be good crooks.”

Politicians, in short, know they will go to hell, but they also have a chance at heaven – if they become good ruffians. God and Jesus will tolerate their presence in heaven.

Herein lies the origins of Senator Pogi’s confidence that his soul will not be further blackened but would in fact become purer by beseeching God to guide him through his ordeal. He need not admit his corruption, for that has been taken care of. All one needed to do was become a “good crook, and this he can show by praying in public and hearing Mass. Avelino’s 2014 version, albeit more humble.

So God’s next move would be to vituperate against politicians – perhaps with lightning and thunder – and tell them the game is not what they believe it is to be. After the handsel he casts on the priest, he now would turn to the politicians and order them to follow their sacerdotal guide as he plunges down the abyss of hell. 

But before all this, God would most likely let his divine hand touch the Ombudsman and the prosecutors and make them the judicatory characters that the law ascribes them to be. And it appears God’s gentle pressure is working. Senator Pogi was recently ordered suspended from the Senate for 90 days. 

What kind of prayer would he send to the heavens now? – Rappler.com 

Patricio N. Abinales teaches at the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii-Manoa. He co-wrote with Donna J. Amoroso State and Society in the Philippines (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005).  

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