Christianity, good citizenship go hand in hand
How many of us turn on television or read the newspaper and instinctively know that something will be proclaimed wrong with government? And to be truthful, how many of us agree with the criticism before we completely know all the facts of the story? Seems government is the everyday citizen’s “whipping boy.” We blame it for all of the world’s problems, as if it could wave its magic wand and all would be well, yet refuses to do so.
Have we forgotten that we put the elected officials into office? We allow them to pass laws that don’t always reflect our needs and values. We re-elect them because we’d rather have an experienced lawmaker than break in another one. We allow them to become so entrenched in their offices, that they sometimes forget that they are there to represent the people. This is not an indictment of all elected officials. There are many who have the welfare of their constituents at heart but are often overshadowed by those who are in the pockets of political lobbyists representing agendas which benefit a small percentage of the citizenry.
Throughout history, the Christian Church has taught that obedience must be given to and prayers made for civil government. In Romans 13:2, we read “Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.” However, the choice of our authorities is left up to us. Christianity and good citizenship go hand in hand.
Many people equate the word government with taxes. Taxes are a necessary evil. Without taxes municipalities couldn’t provide support services such as police, fire departments and hospitals that provide for the general welfare.
None of us can opt out of being part of the nation. We cannot exist as an island, relying on our own means of providing electricity, gas, water, roads and sanitation services. It is the purpose of government to bring order from chaos which is what would occur if we all tried to be self-sufficient. A jungle mentality would prevail and the strong would rule the weak. We are entitled to the benefits of having a government but are charged with the responsibility to ensure that government acts “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
We must take part in all duties of citizenship beginning with being aware of the issues and voting our conscience when selecting our representatives. We must do our part to ensure that government officials do theirs.
Some people wonder if their vote will make a difference. In the runoff for the at-large seat in Division B of St. Charles Parish, a newcomer, Jarvis Lewis won by only 125 votes. Many of us have been to neighborhood crawfish boils with more people than that! It doesn’t take a lot of votes to affect the outcome of an election and even if our candidate loses, it’s important that we be part of the process. If not, we legitimately should lose our right to complain. We each choose to either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Remember, our responsibility only begins at the voting booth; it continues by monitoring and insisting on good government. We must hold officials accountable and remove them promptly when they fail to act in our best interests.
Yes, government has often let us down, but we can’t live without it. So let’s support the laws that are passed for the common good, pay the taxes which contribute to the general welfare of the people, and insist on accountability. Finally, let’s pray for direction for our elected officials that they never forget from where they get their authority and their responsibility to those who bestow it upon them.
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