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Martin Luther King Jr was sent to jail on April 16 1963 During this short time in prison he wrote a lengthy letter in response to a public letter from a group of eight clergymen who opposed the non-violent demonstrations that King had lead The letter more commonly known as the Letter from Birmingham Jail basically consisted of Kings arguments answers and reasons to the many issues going on in the 60s In this essay Im going to fairly summarize one of Kings main arguments present a possible counter-argument and then finish off with a discussion of both the arguments In Letter from Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King Jr brings up the issue of laws He claims that there are two types of laws just and unjust King 320 and that one has a moral responsibility to both obey just laws and disobey unjust laws He agrees with St Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all King 320 He uses many definitions of the two types of laws to show that just laws are moral and unjust laws are immoral Some of the main definitions of the two laws he uses are a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God King 320 and that an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law King 320 Another pair of definitions he uses are an unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority to obey but does not make binding on itself King 321 and a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself King 321 He finishes his argument by explaining that one who decides to break an unjust law must do so openly lovingly and with a willingness to accept the penalty King 321
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