Submitted By Typetty
Letter from the Birmingham City Jail
When Martin Luther King went to jail after he led a protest in Birmingham City against the moderate, his fellow clergy men wrote him a letter, showing their disapproval for his actions. Luther then replied, explaining why he did it and let them know it was to be this way if they wanted a change. They asked him if he could’ve negotiated instead of direct actions. Non-violent directions from people who wouldn’t think of negotiating to confront issues at hand that can no longer be ignored. He also said that non-violent tension is necessary for growth. He uses Socrates’ example when he thought that it was needed to create tension amongst others in order to rise above bondage and myths. His fellow clergy men also accused him of carrying out his actions in an “untimely” manner. He told them that actions unwanted are always untimely. Without non-violent pressure they have not gain anything in the civil rights. He explains that people in authority don’t volunteer freedom and that justice that is delayed is justice not granted. There is a time when everyone gets enough of injustice.
Just Law: 1. A man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. 2. Uplifts human responsibility. 3. A code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not blinding on itself.
Unjust Law: 1. Not rooted in internal and natural law. 2. Degrades human personality. 3. All segregations statuses (distorts the soul and damages human’s personality).
St. Augustine believes that an unjust law is no law at all. Segregation is morally wrong and sinful and sin is separation. A code that a majority compels a minority to follow that it is willing to follow itself. An individual who breaks a law, that conscience tells him its’ unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice when, in reality, expressing the very highest respect for law. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did civil disobedient when they did not want to bow down to the idol. Early Christians were faced with hungry lions and excruciating pain of chopping block for standing up for their rights. A negative peace is the absence of tension to a positive peace whereas it is the presence of justice. He agrees with the goal they seek but not the method they were using. Luther believes luke-warm acceptance is much more confusing than outright rejection. Law and order exists for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail to do this they become dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social purpose. Necessary phase of transitions from a negative peace, where the Negro passively accepted his unjust flight, to a substance filled positive peace, where all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. It is immoral to urge an individual to withdraw his efforts to gain his constitutional rights because the quest precipitates violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. It is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. Using moral means of non-violence to maintain the moral and of flagrant just is no greater treason than to do right deeds for the wrong reason.-T.S Eliot