Just and Unjust Laws

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Jon Eric Hoffman
Foundations of Liberal Arts
Dr. Kim Jenkins
December 13, 2004

Just and Unjust Laws
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines unjust as "characterized by injustice: Unfair." At the same time it defines a law as "a binding custom or practice of a community." With both definitions in mind an unjust law can be described as "a binding custom or practice of a community characterized by injustice and unfairness." Today one can see unjust laws across the globe, many of which are overlooked by much of the world. At the same time, just laws are often enforced in an unjust manner. The fact that much of the world is corrupt is an obvious fact, however, the appropriate course of action to bring about change, is not always so easy to see. The proper guidelines for bringing about justice are different to different people. Nevertheless, if one observes the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and compares them to the actions of other groups or individuals who have attempted to bring about social change, a simple conclusion can be reached. Nonviolent means of protest are the most effective way to bring about change, and also the best way to give others an understanding of why the change is necessary.

Injustices exist everywhere, from the Middle East where women are often forced to pay a dowry (Flueckiger), which is "the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage"; to the mass genocide and forced sterilization of the Montagnards, a Christian tribe of Vietnam's Central Highlands region (Montagnards): or even the questionable rights of gays in America relating to marriage. But what can be done? Dr. Martin Luther King said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly" (179). This shows that he believed every injustice needed to be righted or it would eventually affect a...
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