Citizenship and Religion
Consider one of your relatives and the opportunities and
responsibilities that person has gained through American
citizenship and through religion. Which has been most
influential in shaping that person?
To support your argument, collect some family stories about the
person you've chosen. The following questions should elicit family
stories that will be useful to you. Composing your own questions
might be even more successful, especially if you base those
questions on your knowledge of your family chronology and history.
- What difference has being an American citizen made in your
life? What are you doing now that you wouldn't be doing if your
ancestors had not settled here?
- What responsibilities have you taken on as an American
citizen? military service? jury duty? voting? taxes? more
- What benefits have you received? public education? veterans'
benefits? social security? more abstract things?
- What did your parents teach you about being American? How did
they feel about being Americans? Did their feelings change? Did
- Are you patriotic? How do you express your feelings about your
- When you were in school, what did you learn about being an
- What difference has religion made in your life? What are you
doing now that you would not be doing if you'd made different
choices about your religion?
- Have there been specific turning points in your religious
life? times when your faith weakened or strengthened?
- Can you think of specific choices you made or things you did
that you did because of your religious beliefs?
- Do you evangelize or try to help others see God the way you
do? Why or why not?
- What is the best thing about your faith (or lack of it)?
- Do you practice religion at home? -- is that similar to or different from
the way you did it as a child? For example, do you say grace with meals? Who
says it, and what does that person say?
- How do you cope with conflict about religion? what about conflict within
your church (or synagogue, etc.)
More general questions for further conversation:
- Does your education give you responsibilities to other people?
Do you feel obligated to share your knowledge? to help others
earn an education? to use your education to support your family?
- Do you like learning new things? How do you like to learn (by
working alongside someone else? by reading a book? by taking a