I have been reading earlier copies of the church magazines. In the July 1971 New Era there is an article titled Swapping sentiments on Citizenship. The article asks youth from around the world some questions about there feelings on national citizenship they have. I thought I would give my thoughts and answers on the questions they asked.
DO YOU THINK THAT A GOVERNMENT SHOULD DEMAND ITS CITIZENS LOYALTY?
My answer to that questions is most defiantly no. No country or government anywhere in the world, I believe, has the right to demand loyalty of it’s citizens. For any government to demand loyalty would imply that the people are servants of the state. This is a false ideology that I Don’t believe can lead to any good. The government should always be a servant of the people but to often we are called upon to answer to the authority of the state, rather than the state called upon to answer to the people. All governments should be loyal to its people not the other way around.
Loyalty to ones country I believe is very different to ones government. I love Canada. It is my home. I believe this is a great country that has a lot to offer the world. I am not however loyal to my government. I will support our government leaders only so far as they hold to principals of righteousness and support that which is good. When our leaders push an agenda of evil we have no obligation to be loyal to them.
DO YOU FEEL YOUR COUNTRY OWES YOU ANYTHING? IF SO WHAT?
Simple answer. NO. My country owes me nothing. That is one of the biggest problems in our modern culture and society. This sense of entitlement that so many have. Often the attitude of I’m owed this or I deserve this is common in our culture. We believe we are entitled to free education, health care, birth control, a job and piles of other things that in reality are not owed to us nor should they be handed to us on a silver platter. We should be willing to work for everything we want and need without regard to anyone else giving it to us.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU OWE YOUR COUNTRY?
The only thing we owe our county is to work to make it a better place to live, work and play. We owe it not just to our country but to ourselves, to make our country a better place to live for our children and grandchildren.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY?
Well the first things that come to mind is hockey and Lacrosse my 2 favorite sports. I love the beauty of the land that I live in. While a socialist country in many ways we still have many freedoms that much of the world takes for granted.
HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR COUNTRY?
The biggest thing I would change about my country is our political and social realities. I want to see our country have more freedoms and liberties. I want to be able to choose who I will work with, how I will live. I want to be able to choose who will provide for my families health for example. I want to be able to choose who will be providing for my children’s education. Right now even home schooled children are required to teach a state approved curriculum. More freedom financially and socially I believe would make a better country and more successful citizens.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS IN WHICH YOU FEEL YOU COULD EXPRESS YOUR CITIZENSHIP?
Make sure you get out and vote during elections and be sure to express your political opinions to your representatives in office. Don’t be afraid to get involved in your community when the opportunity presents itself. The most important way however would be to ensure we are raising a generation of children that can contribute to a better Canada and better world. Raising children to stand for righteousness is vital to a happy and prosperous country and world.
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO VOTING AT AGE 18?
I have found this to be to old an age in some ways. We teach teenagers the importance of doing our duty and voting in elections but then tell them they can’t vote till they are 18. We let them drive at 16, we tell them they are mature enough for sex at age 14, but then tell them they are not mature enough to vote till they are 18. I would not suggest changing the age of consent to 18 but rather letting younger children vote maybe 15. I believe that this would give them a reason to become informed and learn about the political process as decisions made by those who get elected will affect them.
WHEN YOU SEE YOUR FLAG OR SING YOUR NATIONAL ANTHEM, HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
It does not affect me that much. But I will say I love out national anthem. It speaks to the beauty of our nation.
DO YOU THINK THAT THERE WILL EVER BE A WORLDWIDE GOVERNMENT?
A world wide government is going to happen whether we want it to or not. It is coming and I believe the leader in this movement is the United Nations which already acts very much like a world wide government. This is not the government that Christ would have us support. This government does not have the ideals of Christ’s gospel as central to its plan. Often we see the United Nations pursuing agendas that don’t help anyone, Criticizing my country for human rights violations while ignoring the plight of people in places like Africa and North Korea. This is the kind of government I believe we will see long before Christ comes again.
Loyalty to ones country can be good or bad, however there is one area of our lives that we should be loyal to and that is to God and our families. They are the most important and should be. However I do not believe that loyalty to God and the church should mean we should accept without question. I Teach my children to question everything as that is the only way we learn. Joseph smith was loyal to God, however it was only through questioning what he had been taught that he came to know the truth. I believe that whether we are discussing religious faith or national patriotism it is the only way we can learn and grow. We must question what we are taught and through that learn more about ourselves and those we are citizens and subject to. Through questions we can become more loyal to that which is right and less loyal to that which is wrong as we learn from seeking the answer to those questions.
Loyalty to any organization, whether secular or spiritual should never be blind. Blind loyalty leads to spiritual and secular enslavement. Lets make sure we know and understand the organizations, governments and churches before we pledge our loyalty to them. I am loyal to Canada, not its Government.