Thursday, June 25, 2009

The good citizen.

I've been musing (between diaper changes) lately about our citizenship, patriotism, globalism, Catholicism, and, you know, the Meaning of It All. Last year's election and the aftershocks have really woken my interest in these things.

What does it mean to be a good citizen while still being a "stranger and sojourner"? Here's Richard John Neuhaus's formulation:

"A good citizen does more than abide by the laws. A good citizen is able to give an account, a morally compelling account, of the regime of which he is a part--and to do so in continuity with the constituting moment and subsequent history of that regime. He is able to justify its defense against its enemies, and to convincingly recommend its virtues to citizens of the next generation so that they, in turn, can transmit the order of government to citizens yet unborn..."

Then he turns to we Christians who happen to live now, in present-day America:

"This regime [our regime] of liberal democracy, of republican self-governance, is not self-evidently good and just. An account must be given. Reasons must be given. They must be reasons that draw authority from that which is higher than ourselves, from that which transcends us, from that to which we are precedently, ultimately, obliged."

More thoughts on that later.

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