Recently the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sent a memo to all its employees confirming that, yes, the District of Columbia really is located in the United States. The memo was in response to a complaint by D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who said that many of her constituents have encountered problems while trying to board aircraft with a D.C. driver’s license. Apparently, some TSA agents at various airports around the country have somehow missed the fact that the District of Columbia is home to the nation’s capital city of Washington and have, as a result, sometimes accused D.C. residents of having fake or foreign identification.
Perhaps you’re thinking that the people who work in Washington too often act as if they are not just from another country, but another planet. But citizenship is a serious issue that affects us in numerous ways and not, of course, just when we fly. You know that right now we are engaged in a national debate over who does and who doesn’t belong here and how one can, or should, be able to move from non-citizen to citizen. American citizenship is a properly prized commodity, so this debate is important.
In New Testament times the most treasured citizenship was Roman citizenship. The Romans had built a vast empire, but most people who lived in it were not Roman citizens, legally. The city of Philippi was a Roman colony, however, so its residents were Roman citizens and proud of it. The apostle Paul, himself a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37; 22:25-29), calls them—and us—past the matter of political citizenship when he notes that for Christians, “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). That’s a citizenship with rights and responsibilities both that are far greater than any earthly citizenship. But it’s also a citizenship whose terms have often been argued and debated. Do you claim that citizenship? If so, on what basis?
Dr. Paul Ratzlaff 2.11.2018