- Abraham had his wife pose as his sister: Genesis 20. It was pragmatic for Abraham (who feared for his life) to say Sarah was his sister, but God had other plans.
- Israel spying out the Promised Land: Numbers 13,14. It was pragmatic to refuse to enter the Promised Land. God kept Israel in the wilderness until an entire generation died.
- Israel defeats Jericho: Joshua 6. A pragmatic person would say marching around a city would have little effect on defeating it.
- Moses’ mom did not kill him: Exodus 2. It wasn’t pragmatic to hide a male infant. But Israel was ultimately freed because of her actions.
- Hosea didn’t divorce Gomer: Hosea 3. A pragmatic Hosea would divorce a woman who returned to prostitution. But God used his love as a symbol for his relationship with Israel.
- Jeremiah kept preaching: Jeremiah 25. A pragmatic prophet would stop preaching after a few years with no results, but Jeremiah kept at it for 23 years.
- Daniel in the lion’s den. Daniel 6. A pragmatic Daniel wouldn’t have ended up in the Lion’s Den.
- Fiery Furnace: Daniel 3. A pragmatic Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego wouldn’t have ended up in the fiery furnace.
- Solomon Takes wives: 1 Kings 11. The wisest man on earth decided it was pragmatic to marry and take concubines from other nations, and he ended up worshipping false gods
- Ananias and Saul: Acts 9. It would have been pragmatic for Ananias to stay away from a renowned killer of Christians. But then he wouldn’t have been there to begin discipling a man who would write half the New Testament.
- Jerusalem Council: Acts 15. It would have been pragmatic to give in to the Jewish believers and make Gentile believers follow Jewish customs.
- Timothy: 1 Timothy 4:12. Pragmatism says that older people know more than younger ones.
- Gamaliel: Acts 5. Gamaliel gave some very bad pragmatic advice.
“And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” 1 Kings 11:38
“And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. ” Romans 3:8
- Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says, “Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just.”
- Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible says, “Whatever is evil is not to be done under any pretence. Any imaginable good which we may think will result from it; any advantage to ourselves or to our cause; or any glory which we may think may result to God, will not sanction or justify the deed.”
- Matthew Poole’s Commentary says, “ The apostle doth not vouchsafe to refute this absurd saying, but simply condemns it, and those that put it in practice.”
- Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary says, “Such reasoning amounts to this- ‘which, indeed, we who preach salvation by free grace are slanderously accused of teaching – that the more evil we do, the more glory will rebound to God; a damnable principle.’ thus the apostle, instead of refuting this principle, thinks it enough to hold it up to execration, as one that shocked the moral sense.”
WARNING: There is a dangerous epidemic spreading across America. Binary Choice Syndrome (BCS) is a condition where voters believe they only have 2 choices for President. If they don’t vote for one, then they are actually voting for the other. The condition, prevalent on both the right and the left, has caused feelings of alienation and frustration. In more acute cases, the people afflicted with BCS have shown symptoms of rabid, illogical support for one candidate over the other. It is in this state that they are actively spreading the syndrome. Be very cautious when dealing with anyone who says the presidential election is a binary choice.
Binary Choice Syndrome plays on your fears about the two major party candidates. If you find yourself in the position where you don’t want to vote for either politician, those with BCS try to scare you into reluctant support of their candidate. They hope you will hold your nose and vote against the horrible politician by voting for the less horrible one. Should you think about not doing that, they trot out the binary choice. It’s your duty to vote for the less bad candidate, or you are helping the worse candidate get into office.
The premise of BCS is this: If you don’t vote for candidate x, then you are voting for candidate y.
3 reasons why Binary Choice Syndrome should be destroyed.
- It’s illogical. Obviously, if you don’t vote for X then X get’s one less vote. But does that mean Y get’s an extra vote? Of course not. Just just means X doesn’t get a vote. You might chose to vote for Z or even not to vote at all. (I encourage everyone to vote their conscience, but that’s your choice.) Voting for Z does not add votes to the tally for Y or X. It just adds votes for Z. In a 2 party system it may feel like you are throwing away your vote but you are definitely not adding to the tally of another candidate.
- It cheapens your vote. Binary Choices limit your options. Who are they to say you must choose between one or the other? Who are they to say that a vote for a candidate you support, no matter how unlikely to carry the day, is actually a vote for someone else? It is your right as a citizen to participate in the election process in the way you feel is required by your conscience. If that means voting for someone not represented by the two major parties, then that is your right. BCS is often spread by those in leadership of one of the two major parties because BCS keeps them in power.
- It is only valid if voters allow it to be valid. The ultimate cure for Binary Choice Syndrome is to realize that as long as we vote for the lesser of two evils we will get one of the evils. Every voter has the power to break free of the binary choice and vote for someone they actually support. If enough voters did this, the 2 party system would fall. We are not required to vote Republican or Democrat, just as people in elections of the past were not required to vote Whig or Democrat. Parties can change, the system is what we, the individual voters, make of it. We have all the power. We choose to remain in a 2 party system by voting for the two major party candidates. We don’t have to.
Be careful, one of the more slippery symptoms of BCS is the Issue Related Binary Choice. Sometimes, BCS sufferers will not talk about particular candidates, but will choose an issue to present as a binary choice. Recent cases of this have centered around the US Supreme Court. BCS sufferers will present the concern over the Court and then point to a binary choice as the only way to protect us from this runaway government branch. Previous cases have centered on the issue of abortion, LGBT rights, immigration, and many other social and economic issues. While concerns about issues may be valid, the binary choice is not.
You can be vaccinated against BCS by realizing that your vote matters, and you can choose who you will vote for based on your values, not your fears.
When I started using twitter to voice my opinion about politics this election cycle, I did my followers a favor and created a different political handle. It’s @scottlinkpol if you want to follow. I didn’t want to subject the people interested in media to my political rants.
Sunday night I was scrolling through my feed when I saw a post that made me sit up. It said “LEAKED: Trump “off the record” Interview with New York Times” and had a link to a video. If you remember a few weeks ago there was a story that Trump had spoken to the New York Times and in that interview, off the record, had indicated that he would be more flexible on the issue of immigration than his public stance would imply. This came up in a debate, and he talked around it, but refused to let the NYT release the tapes.
I admit, as an opponent of Trump’s campaign, the thought of this off the record interview dropping 2 days before Arizona and Utah vote made me smile. It would likely have a negative impact on Trump. If Trump loses AZ, momentum swings to Cruz in the campaign. This was huge news.
A few questions came to mind. What made them release this now? They had been standing on their principles of journalistic integrity before. And why was there only one guy tweeting about this? Seemed like this would have been released to every major news outlet. So, I clicked the link. Right away, things looked off. I won’t provide the link here because I don’t want to further promote a lie. You can google the title and find it.
Red Flag 1: The video of this so called leaked audio was only :57 long. And the first half was video from the debate where Trump was asked about the NYT interview. Only the last few seconds was audio of Trump talking.
Red Flag 2: The audio of Trump sounded like a phone interview, but the NYT interview was reported as an in person interview.
Red Flag 3: The Youtube channel displaying the video had 8 videos, and less than 60 subscribers. This was not a news organization. Who would ever release a news story this big in this way. On this channel?
I mentioned this to the twitter account that had been posting the video. We, and others began talking. The audio in question highlighted the flip-flop Trump has done on immigration policy, but there was no proof this was the NYT off the record interview. Meanwhile, someone else found the ACTUAL interview the audio had been taken from. It came from a news interview from 2012. You can hear it here, time marker 1:57:
Not great for a candidate that is running in deporting illegal immigrants. But also not audio from an off the record NYT interview. The video was a fake.
So I brought this to the attention of the guy who had posted it. I don’t know him. He is just someone I followed who had been posting interesting things about the election. I won’t mention his name here, you can search my twitter feed to find him. His profile says that he once infiltrated a left wing group that was trying to “take down” a right wing radio host. That he was sort of famous for that. He has a little over 100k followers. Far more than I do on any twitter account.
I assumed he had been taken in by the false video. Turns out, he didn’t care. We had an entire conversation about whether it mattered that the video was false. My position was/is that the lie about the timing of the audio (that it was from the off the record NYT interview) far overshadows the content, which was a 4 year old opinion Trump admits he changed. I said he needed to correct his twitter feed. He was talking to 100k people. Let’s get the truth out there:
He disagreed. He said this was good political strategy. It doesn’t matter when it was said (even though he had been touting the timing and “off the record” in his original post) When I defended my position, he questioned my education and told me that this was propaganda in 2016.
I signed back in with my main twitter account and saw that he had deleted his side of our conversation and posted this ominous tweet:
Yeah, I don’t have a lot of tweets or followers on my new political account. Maybe someone who claims to have infiltrated another political group is predisposed to suspect that of others. The bigger issue was that he had deleted our entire conversation. He was all about lying and sharing videos he knew were false. But he removed all the tweets that exposed his promotion of a lie.
Why is this important enough to share? It highlights a very real danger in this election. For some frustrating reason Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination to President. I would like for that to not be the case. I will use what little influence I have to help people see who he is and the dangers of electing someone like him to this office. I would like very much to win this battle.
What good is winning over Trump if we have to stoop to acting just like him in order to do it? What do I mean? Google “Trump Lies” and see what comes up. When I say that I will vote principle over party, I mean it. I will never vote for Trump. I don’t care who else is running. I won’t vote for Hillary either.
But my integrity is more important than beating Trump. I won’t knowingly share false information in hopes that it will lead to his failure. He has said enough things that have already disqualified him from holding this office. We don’t need to lie. And I won’t be a part of it to win.
Today Hillary Clinton will testify about the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. Her defense seems to be that “there are risks in foreign policy.”
Frankly, if the administration she was a part of had not tried to cover up the facts of this event, we wouldn’t be here. To ever say that the deaths of American citizens were caused by a spontaneous riot stemming from a Youtube video, when the reality was nothing of the kind, is inexcusable. And to then flippantly ask what difference it makes when first questioned about the events? What could cause someone to do this? Americans died, and their deaths might have been prevented. Of course it matters. It still matters.
It was the investigation into this matter that uncovered the infamous email scandal that has dogged Clinton’s Presidential bid. Her story has changed many times. Every time new information comes out that contradicts her current statement, the statement changes.
The problem isn’t that she lies. It’s that she only ever tells just enough truth to get herself out of trouble.
Of course, her husband was the same way. Look at the events that led to his impeachment. A string of allegations about sexual naughtiness plagued his career. He was never up front about those events. One could argue that his private life wasn’t my concern. And as long as no laws were broken, I could agree (to a point). But the final lie was that he never had “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinski prompted, to the embarrassment of the office of the President and the country, a little blue dress with a nasty stain to appear. The next thing we know we’re watching our President testify about his sex life, and parse words like “is”.
Talking about politics during the Clinton era I once had a professor ask me if I had ever lied. Of course I have. He told me, according to Republican doctrine, I was not qualified to be president. End of discussion.
But that isn’t the problem. Politicians lie, everyone lies. It’s not right, but we do it. It’s not that either Clinton once or twice- in a moment of weakness- lied. It’s that there is a pattern of lying, a lack of integrity and credibility that undermines the public trust, and ultimately any political office they hold.
In the matter of Benghazi and the email scandal, if Hillary Clinton had simply openly admitted whatever really happened, instead of this prolonged, ever changing denial, both of these issues would be in the past. Would either had disqualified her from being President? I have my opinions, but the public would likely have forgotten, or moved on by now. At the very least we would at least believe she was trustworthy.
But the Clintons don’t tell the truth that way. When they make mistakes, they only say as much as they are forced to.
Do we want a president that has a proven lack of integrity? Or rather, do we want another one?