• Important Back Then, Today and Always: A Lesson About Law from a Birmingham Jail

    Surge Summary: Martin Luther King Jr. taught us about the important difference between a just and an unjust law. We need to keep that distinction alive in our minds and in this generation today.

    (Video column below)

    Last week Americans paid tribute to this century’s likely brightest orator and most dedicated man to individual liberty, Reverend Michael King, Jr., aka Martin Luther King, Jr. While I am almost certain that the good minister from Atlanta, Georgia, would not condone having a day named after him, I do not condone the worthless heaping of accolades by any people group who co-opt, blindly turn from, or outright despise the Christian minister’s teachings.

    Immorality, theft, vandalism, Second Amendment violations, and so-called civil rights were not the basis of this Baptist minister’s philosophies. His mission was to proclaim the Gospel and his basis was God-given rights, and liberty under Law, which in his case was eloquent enough to land him behind bars.

    You see, King understood that an unjust, man-made law is to be disobeyed.

    In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he stated “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.  Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

    Why?

    Pastor King’s letter goes on to quote renowned theologian and early church father Augustine that, “…an unjust law is no law at all.”

    King knew the definition of law. As stated in his letter, “A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.” This definition coincides with what the Declaration calls “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God”.

    At one time in our history, this was widely understood.  However, in recent years, Americans have largely forgotten the fact that purported laws draw their efficacy — their validity — from adherence to these two fixed standards.  Indeed, in modern times, these two critical standards are not applied by most Americans to the actions of government because these two critical standards are not studied or even known to the people.

    Americans desperately need to be reintroduced to the Supreme Law of the Universe (the Bible) and the supreme law of the land (the Constitution).

    This country, as great as it is, suffers from many sociopolitical diseases, one of which Dr. King coined “schizophrenia” when discussing founding documents like the Declaration of Independence.

    He describes that government has a tendency to praise one concept while malevolently tearing down its foundations.

    The lesson for us today is we need to resist what is not law and obey what is; but, of course, we need to know the difference.

    56 years ago this blueprint was given to us from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama.

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    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.
    Image: NPS Photo; https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/mlk-day.htm


    Jake MacAulay

    Jake MacAulay

    Jake MacAulay serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC), an educational outreach that presents the founders’ “American View” of law and government. IOTC has produced thousands of graduates in all 50 states with a full understanding of the Biblical principles on which America’s founding documents are based. Jake is an ordained minister and former syndicated talk show host who has spoken to audiences nation-wide, and has established the American Club, a constitutional study group in public and private schools.

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