The Guidelines for Government and Citizenship illustrate how the Center's philosophy addresses the task of government and applies to key policy areas.
Is our nation or state or local community a “big family,” as political leaders like to say? If political community is the place we come together as citizens, how is that different from our coming together as friends, church members, employees, or business partners?
Is government just a device to convert public opinion into public policy? Or is it guided by standards apart from majority rule? To understand government’s task, isn’t it necessary to understand the tasks of citizens, businesses, families, or churches?
You probably like doing things that seem unrelated to being a citizen, like being an entrepreneur, artist, teacher, or parent. Perhaps you don’t like paying taxes, voting in elections, or serving on juries. But what mix of freedoms and responsibilities constitutes citizenship? If we understood the responsibilities, would we embrace them as much as the freedoms?
If you are unhappy with the education your child is receiving in your local public school, what should you do? What role, if any, should government play in helping you as you carry out your responsibility to choose your child’s education? Should “private” education receive “public” funding?
You may know someone who has lost his or her job – perhaps someone close to you. If that job loss led to poverty in the family, what can be done? Should help be limited to charitable assistance? Or should government programs be made available to the family?
Your state is considering legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage. How do you respond? Is it the responsibility of government to define the meaning of marriage? How should churches that define marriage one way relate to a state that defines it another way?
Do you feel secure in a world increasingly exposed to acts of terrorism? What means should the U.S. government use to provide security for you and your family? Will citizens be more secure if the U.S. enters into cooperative alliances with other governments?
Do you experience the freedom to express your religious convictions in public life outside of your family and place of worship? Should you have such freedom? Should there be differences in how government allows for freedom of expression for citizens committed to different religions or to no religion?
Who is responsible for combating pollution and other forms of environmental degradation? Who should work to diminish the human contribution to global warming? To what extent is this work the joint responsibility of individual citizens, families, schools, churches, businesses, and government (local, national, and transnational)?
Is marriage just a lifestyle option to be pursued 'as long as we both shall love'? Or does the family have its own unique rights and responsibilities apart from the individuals who make it up? How can we rightly balance family autonomy with government's responsibility to promote public justice?