At our staff meeting the other day we were talking about biblical decision-making as opposed to pragmatic decision-making.
A biblical decision would be derived from a biblical principle. For example, because the Bible speaks of debt in negative terms (Pro. 22:7) a biblical decision to get out of debt is a biblical derived decision.The person making that decision would then do what they could to not take on new debt as well as paying off the old debt. Another biblical principle in play here is that when you take on debt you make a covenant to pay the debt back. In other words, you give your word to pay back the lender. Your decision is principled.
A pragmatic decision regarding getting out of debt would be declaring bankruptcy simply because it’s legal and it works to the person’s advantage. For the Christian a pragmatic decision in this case should be unacceptable simply on the basis of breaking one’s word to pay back a debt.
When it comes to politics politicians are more apt to make pragmatic decisions over principled ones.
In Wisconsin we used to have a Senator by the name of Russ Feingold. Senator Feingold was a progressive and in my opinion, a far left progressive at that. I don’t think I ever agreed with a single position he took. However, Senator Feingold was a principled progressive. You never had to guess where he stood. I believe, if memory serves me, Senator Feingold was the one and only Senator to vote against the Second Iraq War. His fellow Democrats all voted for it and then when it became less popular voted against it (then Senators Kerry and Clinton in particular). Feingold on the other hand was against it from the start and stood alone. That’s principled and it was something I could respect even though I disagreed.
Politicians like Feingold are rare in either party. Too often one is left guessing as to where they actually stand on any given issue. Politics tends to run on pragmatism over principle as campaign promises are comprised and constituents left wondering.
On the right side of the aisle I see at least one principled Senator and that would be Senator Cruz of Texas. You do not have to guess where Senator Cruz is coming from. At the time of this writing Senator Cruz is filibustering Obamacare by calling out the President and Senator Harry Reid for their over-the top hypocrisy regarding Obamacare. Sadly, only seven or eight other Republican Senators are standing with Cruz and taking a principled stand.
I suspect Senator Cruz will lose this fight but he has my respect for taking a principled stand.
(I see Senator Rand Paul in the same light. He is willing to take principled stands as well. You do not have to guess with these two men.)
And that’s the way I see it.
- Live Updates: Sen. Cruz’s Filibuster to Defund Obamacare (heritageaction.com)