It depends on what the meaning of the word “is,” is . . .
I often juxtapose or contrast the terms “Citizen of the Kingdom of God” and “Citizen of the Kingdom of Man.” Some fault goes to the historical use, but don’t blame Augustine or his famous work. Words change their meanings over time.
The fault lies in the word, “citizen,” and what we foolishly accept as its modern meaning. What it means when used by modern governments is more than misleading. It’s a lie.
According to the US Supreme Court, citizenship requires the existence of two parties. A citizen with a duty of allegiance to the state. And a state with the duty to protect the citizen.
And in their next breath the US Supreme Court ruled that the state has no duty to protect the individual citizen. This has come up as the result of suits filed by citizens who did not receive the protection of the police. They made a call for help when under threat of danger. The police didn’t bother to come. The justices ruled that the state had done nothing wrong because there is no duty to protect the individual.
Try that as an insurance company. When the policy holder calls with a claim for damages, simply say, “Sorry, we won’t honor your claim. We don’t protect individual policy holders.” Doubtful that they would remain in business very long, or that they would not lose in court, if they were sued.
It has to do with contracts . . .
You have a contract with an insurance company. You have a duty to pay premiums. They have a duty to protect you by honoring your claim for damages.
Modern governments like to defend their authority by stating that there is a social contract between them and us. But when it comes down to honoring the contract, we find out that the fox is guarding the henhouse. They readily exercise authority over citizens but have decided, via their own courts, that they need not come through on their end.
Always follow the money . . .
Why this ruse? Money and power. It’s easy to keep taxing and using the violent powers of government when the government has convinced those that it rules that they are not mere subjects. No, they are “citizens.” A status that entails duties, but comes with special privileges. Far better than admitting that we are mere slaves, servants, and subjects. At least from those the perspective of those that believe it.
Tell the slaves that they can vote, and it’s even easier to fool them. It’s far easier to be happy as a slave when you believe that you have the ability to vote and shape your own condition. Democracy is a drug.
But its not true. It’s a lie. You and I are no more citizens than the rulers over us are willing to protect our persons and our property.
Think not? The past century of American existence has seen our currency been given to the control of private bankers. Income, property and whatever sort of taxes our rulers dream up are a daily reality. Our liberties and rights are increasingly being found to be subject to their abuses.
If you and I are not citizens, and there is no state, than the very act of using their force to extract our money and property, and dictate our freedoms, is no more than theft and thuggery. Let’s call it what it is. It is certainly not the “voluntary taxation” that the government likes to label its crimes.
Like any criminal, when each crime becomes easier, the bolder the crimes become. It really shouldn’t be a surprise to find out that the nine men and women in black robes are, in the end, employees of the state. Or that even our elected rulers belong first to the cronies that control them.
Behind their flowing robes . . .
Do any of us really believe that our government is out for our own good? See a cop car in the rear view mirror and we don’t experience feelings of comfort in recognizing that the state is simply there for our own protection. Same when we open a letter from the IRS, or other government agency.
We know that American justice has much to do with our wealth and social status. We regularly see our rulers and the rich walk away from serious consequences when they break the law. And we know that the same standards don’t apply to the common man or woman.
The harsh reality is that is neither citizen nor state exist according to the definitions and the rulings of the courts. They are imaginary parties. Unless we choose to believe the Emperor is truly wearing a fine set of clothes.
Nothing uniquely American about this. It’s the way of the world. There never has been a true citizen and a true state when both parties are men. Only ideals held up by rulers that wish to quiet the masses.
There remains a true citizenship . . .
And what of being a citizen in the Kingdom of God? Ah, there we can find comfort in knowing that God is just and true. He does not lie. Jesus Christ proved his allegiance to God. Our faith in him, rather than our own obedience, gains full citizenship in that wonderful kingdom.
Eternal citizenship. With the full assurance that God will uphold his duties to protect each and every last one of the Elect.
So what am I to do with my status while on this earth?
As a Christian, I am commanded by God to honor and submit to my rulers. And with his strength and aid, I will struggle to obey. It is right and good for rulers are placed into power by God for my own good. But he does not command me to believe their lies or to live my life pretending that I am more than their slave, servant, and subject. Nor must I remain a sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome, having “feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.” (American Heritage Dictionary)
I’ll likewise strive to be more careful with the use of the word “citizen.”