Christ’s famous words, “give unto Caesar what is for Caesar and give unto God what is for God” was important clarification to Christians on how to be good citizens. Christ knew His Kingdom was not of this world but He also knew that Christians live in the temporal world. Under such conditions, certain things must be given to God for spiritual salvation, but there were also duties to give to lawful authority.
The Christian citizen is thus not only brining the joy of the good news to the world, but also existing within society, obeying its laws and contributing not only at a spiritual level but also at a social level. Christians share their many talents with their community and nation and serve as examples of good moral character while obeying and serving their nation. Whether it is as mere citizen or political post, a Christian is meant to obey law and represent just cause within society.
A good Christian citizen while obeying just law and serving as a good civic and moral example also pushes for just and good social reforms through the proper legal and peaceful channels. The good Christian protects the rights of others, opposes unjust laws that discriminate and impose suffering on others and protect the right of the weak. Obviously abortion is a key issue here in regards to an unjust law that must be opposed through civic and legal discourse. Those who take upon public office have a dual duty to both their faith and state. While they cannot allow religious based ideals to overwhelm those who believe differently, Christian political leaders must adhere to the moral natural law in all legislation. Those who break from those fundamental truths that bind all humanity, for the sake of secular glorification, fail both their duties as a statesperson and Christian. Again this is why all Christian political leaders MUST oppose abortion legislation and denounce it for the evil it is.
A Christian hence is called to represent Christ in the nation and promote social morality. This is done through voting according to conscience based on Christian ideals and also by supporting and promoting social justice to all. While Christians may disagree with current social laws, they promote change to truth through peaceful measures that reflect the example of Christ. Christian citizens also stand up against anti religious laws that look to remove reference of God to society. The constant attack of atheism is found in society and this atheism looks to remove the freedoms and expressions of God in the public square. The Christian citizen is called to peacefully battle this insult to God.
A good Christian citizen will also avoid extremism and nationalism. Christian citizens will promote love of country and patriotism, but they will not support nationalistic values that place value over others of different race or creed. In a pluralistic society, Christians while promoting the teachings of Christ, nonetheless, respect the values and opinions of others. They do not look to force the teachings of Christ on others, but look to gently teach by word and example.
A Christian citizen however never places civic duty over the duty to God. When the state over steps its boundaries, like Christians who endured death centuries before and in communist nations today, the Christian citizen stands up for religious freedom and the teachings of Christ at the expense of even one’s own life. This is an unfortunate reality for many nations under communist control who denounce religious freedom and expression of one’s own personal worship. In these cases, the Christian is called to duty to God first and overthrow of the evil government.
There should never be a conflict between being a good citizen and a good Christian in a democracy and just republic. When balance is given to both, Christianity can flourish and add to the value of the secular state by producing good citizens that respect law and the social needs of others.
Love of nation is never a bad thing. In fact, it is a prerequisite of any good person. It places the love of neighbor over oneself which is a central teaching of the faith. Christian citizens hence are always willing to sacrifice for their home and fellow citizen.
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