Christian Civics 101
Frankly, few things make me angrier than so-called "Christian" primary school curriculum that has nothing intrinsically Christian about it. Christian kiddos need to be educated from the Gospel account of the person of Jesus and the Church's confessions about Him, not in spite of. This is particulary true when educating Christian young people about their delicately balanced role as dual citizens of the Kingdom of Christ who live in modern America. I was recently comissioned to put some ideas together in this regard- here is the result, which reflects ample reliance on my favorite organization for Christian social teaching...Seven Principles for the Formation of Christian Americans:
a. The Dignity of the Human Person
i. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father, by whom all things were made. For us and for our salvation Christ came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; He was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures.
ii. From God’s creation and redemption of humanity we recognize that every human being has intrinsic and inalienable dignity that begins at conception and extends to natural death. This dignity, the basis for every human right, is God’s precious and inviolable endowment of the human person. The dignity of the human person must be cherished in custom and protected by law.
b. Our submission to God’s Principle of Servant Headship
i. We believe that Christ shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom shall have no end.
ii. From Christ’s redemption of humanity by grace, we understand that Christ is our King. In obedience to Christ and for the sake of His Kingdom we honor those to whom honor is due, particularly in our Church, our family, and our nation. In imitation of Christ our Lord, we use our strengths, our rights, and our privileges to serve the least of God’s creation.
c. Our allegiance to our Christian Heritage
i. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We believe in the \Communion of Saints.
ii. As Christians, we believe that true solidarity is the unified commitment of persons to live and work together in the truth of God’s revelation. We seek to understand and emulate the lives of past heroes of our faith, particularly those who have served our society.
d. The Christian Understanding of Freedom
i. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
ii. We know that the human person is free. Yet freedom, exercised solely for selfish or self-assertive ends, is radically incomplete. In celebration of the freedom that is ours in Christ alone, we continually seek true freedom in obedience to God’s law. We believe that the freedom of the human person is most fully and rightly lived in the gift of ourselves to God and to others.
e. The Christian Responsibility for Just Government
i. We believe that Christ sits at the right hand of the Father.
ii. We affirm that under Christ’s governance, each person has the responsibility to participate in the building of a free and just society rooted in the intrinsic and inviolable dignity of the human person. We call upon all persons to give of themselves in order that society may be justly governed. We call upon all persons to contribute to the common good. The common good consists of the well-being of the persons in a community, solidarity among those persons, and an environment in which each person’s deepest human aspirations and capacities can flourish. Participating in the common good belongs to each person by right of his or her dignity under the rule of law, in conditions of political transparency and accountability, free expression and participation.
iii. Recalling that the intrinsic dignity of each person is the foundation of all just human interactions, and recalling that this dignity is inalienable and cannot be mitigated in any degree, we affirm that solidarity is built on the use of this freedom to recognize fundamental human needs, desires, and rights, and to authentically pursue their fulfillment for all persons, particularly those in danger of poverty, exploitation, or death. Visible signs of need, suffering and injustice expose the universal human condition of vulnerability and reveal a common identity amongst the self and other persons. This in turn lays the foundation for the understanding and forgiveness necessary for lasting solidarity. Christian young people particularly commit themselves in solidarity to all those who live in need, and who experience the vulnerability and hardships of war, famine, disease or social unrest, and who suffer the poverty of hopelessness.
f. The Christian Commitment to the Human Family
i. We believe that the Holy Spirit has spoken through the Prophets.
ii. From God’s affirmation of the family as revealed in Scripture, we joyfully affirm that the family is a school of deeper humanity within which each member learns best what it means to be a human person. There, each member of the human family can experience the gift of unconditional, enduring love and is carefully taught to be responsible, to commit, to share, and to love. The family sustains society as it gives life to the next generation. It also has the privilege of forming free and responsible citizens, thus securing democracy. As the fundamental unit of society the family ensures the sustainability of civilization and culture. The family takes on essential tasks in the care of all and especially the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.
g. The Christian’s Rightful Allegiance
i. We look for the Resurrection of the dead, and the Life of the world to come.
ii. We acknowledge that our only absolute loyalty is to Christ. As members of Christ’s chosen people, we admit that our Kingdom is not of this world. As we wait in joyful hope for Christ’s coming in glory, we submit gladly to the authority of the Church, Christ’s “holy nation.” We serve our temporal nation and we transform our culture, witnessing in our families and in our work by serving Christ in all people.