Wednesday, 30 January 2008

What is citizenship?

The recent celebration of Australia’s national day (invasion day to some of our indigenous friends) has sparked off a discussion on what it means to be an Australian. The recently introduced citizenship test includes some questions on “Australian values”. Among the questions, for example, are some “sports trivia” questions, like who was Australia’s greatest cricketer from the pre WW2 era. Should such questions, or vague notions of “mateship” and a “fair go” (whatever they mean) be made a test of whether someone has what it takes to be an Australian? There is no doubt that citizenship and nationhood involve more than living within the same geographical boundaries, but what are the shared values we espouse and who gets to dictate what they are? I’m starting to feel that the current discussions in NT circles about the radical nature of the Christian faith and its perceived threat to the imperial cult (Jesus is lord, not Caesar) have some relevance here. There is something “religious” about the notion of “Australian values”, but as Christians, we have a higher allegiance. Our true citizenship is in heaven, the apostle Paul tells us (Phil 3:20). We need to work out the implications of this in the current climate. It may involve us in being “un-Australian”.

No comments: