R14 Citizenship

Civil Rights

Each person has the right to a nationality and to all the social and political rights and responsibilities which that brings within that country. This right of citizenship is usually, but not always, by birth. Each country has its own laws regarding citizenship.

Each person, whatever their background, should have the right to choose where in the country they want to live and work. People may want to move to another country, either through choice or as refugees claiming asylum because of persecution. In time, they may be able to claim citizenship of that country if they meet the legal requirements.

People fleeing from war, disaster situations or economic difficulties, however, do not have the same rights and will be dependant on government policy in the country of their destination. They may find it difficult or impossible to claim citizenship in their new country, making their lives very insecure.

  • Read Galatians 3:28. This is such a challenging statement from the apostle Paul. He was telling the Jews in Galatia that their Jewish background does not give them the right to special status and privilege over other non-Jewish people. In God’s eyes each person is equal. In Paul’s time, tensions between the resident Jewish people and the occupying Romans were often high. What tensions exist between different ethnic groups in our society?
  • What opportunities do people have to seek work in other countries? Do we know of people who have done that? What have been their experiences?
  • What happens when people flee to neighbouring countries as refugees? Do they gain legal protection? Do we know of such people? Why did they leave and what has their experience been?
  • As Christians we look forward to the time when we will become citizens of heaven, not by right but by grace. How can we help others from difficult situations to become citizens of our country?

Articles 6, 13, 14, 15, 23 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights