Friday, August 11, 2006

Foundational Law Quotes IV

“there are two types of laws: just and unjust.
I would be the first person to advocate obeying just laws.
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.
To put it in the terms of 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.
All segregation statutes are unjust
because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.
It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority
and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.
Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber,
substitutes an
‘I-it’ relationship for an ‘I-thou’ relationship
and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.
Hence segregation is not only
politically, economically and sociologically unsound,
it is morally wrong and sinful.
. . .
The question is not whether we will be extremists,
but what kind of extremists we will be.
Will we be extremists for hate or love?
Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice
or for the extension of justice?
. . .
the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

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