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What duties do citizens have toward the State?
Every citizen has the duty to cooperate loyally with the civil authorities and to contribute to the common good in truth, justice, freedom, and solidarity. A Christian, too, should love his homeland, defend it in various ways in times of need, and gladly offer to serve civil institutions. He should exercise the right to vote and even run for office and not shirk the duty to pay just taxes. Nevertheless, within the State the individual citizen remains a free man with fundamental rights; he has the right to offer constructive criticism of the State and its organs. The State is there for the people, not the individual for the State.
When must we refuse to obey the State?
No one may follow orders from the State that violate God’s laws. It was Peter who called us to practice only a relative obedience toward the State when he said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). If a State should establish laws and procedures that are racist, sexist, or destructive of human life, a Christian is obliged in conscience to refuse to obey, to refrain from participation, and to offer resistance.