- "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws."
- "Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
- "I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"
- "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God."
- "An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."
Genesis 9:24: When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
"Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers."
This was just after Canaan had planted a vineyard, had Noah drink some wine, and Noah got drunk and lay down naked. But overall, Noah was a Godly man, right? But he was a Godly man who condoned slavery. This is just the first slavery reference I found using a Bible search (NIV) on Bible Gateway, but there are many others.
If justness of a law is measure by how deeply its morality is rooted in the law of God (the Bible), and the Bible condones slavery (at least in the Old Testament), does MLK's segregation argument fail?
- (St. Thomas Aquinas): "An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."
- "An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself."
- "By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself."
- "A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law."
Anyway, I'm enjoying reading Dr. King's writing. His writing reminds me of Barack Obama -- sweeping, persuasive, focused on change. I've always likened Obama's way of speech to a pastor's. Hopefully he can come through on the vast promises he's made.