Thanks to the Center for Public Justice for posting my article on “Principled Pragmatism” in their Capital Commentary. I argue that it is important for Christians to practice principled pragmatism in public life:
In our political life, Christians should strive to become principled pragmatists. A willingness to compromise does not mean you have given up on your principles. Rather, it means you are pragmatic. You recognize that in a democracy, you will not have policies exactly as you would like, but you strive to make reasonable concessions based upon your principles.
Be sure to read the whole thing.
Budget cut proposals from House Republicans have been particularly effective at bringing forth uncivil attitudes in political debates recently. Here are three examples.
As a former Democratic congressperson and an ambassador in the George W. Bush administration, Tony Hall never had a reputation for being uncivil. At a press conference for the National Press Club
on Monday, however, Hall stretched the boundaries of both decency and biblical hermeneutics. With Jim Wallis, David Beckmann, and Ritu Sharma, Hall announced a campaign of prayer and fasting to protest the House Republican’s proposed budget cuts for anti-poverty programs (both foreign and domestic). During that event, Hall said,
It’s time to call in God. It’s time to unleash God. You know the discipline of fasting and prayer, when you put it together is so powerful, and it’s like I said earlier, when you put them both together, it seems like God leans a little bit closer to you, and you’re saying to Him, “I’m not gonna let go until you listen to me.” Now we’ve done just about everything and they’re not listening. It’s time to sic God on ’em. And that’s the reason for the fast.
Upon hearing that, images of Liam Neeson, playing the part of Zeus in Clash of the Titans, declaring “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!” come to mind. The other image conjured—of God as an obedient German Shepard ready to strike down our political foes—is more disturbing. I recall a common criticism of those who declared that we “kicked God out of the public schools,” after the Supreme Court decided that state mandated prayer in public schools was unconstitutional was, “who has a boot big enough to kick God?” Similarly, I must ask, “who has a collar big enough to leash God?” Alternatively, I could ask, “is your God so small that you’re able to leash him?”