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what is the difference between just and unjust laws in the letter of birmingham jail...

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egogo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:26 AM via web

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what is the difference between just and unjust laws in the letter of birmingham jail from martin luther king?

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npoore84 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:48 AM (Answer #1)

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In his words: “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.“

Dr. Martin Luther King in his letter explains the difference between an unjust law and a just law. “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”

He also believes that “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”

He is using the example of some laws put into effect by the Nazis during World War II. The Nazis many counries such as the Netherlands, Germany, etc. They enforced a number of horrible laws  designed to inflict harm and punishment on the Jews.  For instance: It was illegal to hide Jews from the Nazis. Unfortunately many Jews were caught and sent to concentration camps where many suffered death.

 

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