MLK (2014)

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (JAN. 15, 1929 – APR. 4, 1968)

“… One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

“Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? … To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust …

“There are some instances when a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I was arrested Friday on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade, but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust.” …

– Letter From Birmingham Jail, 1963

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