Martin Luther King Essay

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Smith, Jessica
October 16, 2012

Moral Decisions

In life there are always either negative or positive consequences when an action is made. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s essay “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he evaluates how one can advocate breaking some laws and obeying others. The reason it is possible to do such a thing is because there are two different types of laws, just and unjust. Depending on one’s morals, it can be morally right to advocate breaking some laws and obeying others. Since there are consequences of breaking and/or following laws, it can be considered as negative or positive. It is an individual’s moral responsibility to disobey unjust law. According to St. Augustine, “If a law does not uplift a human personality it is to be considered immoral,” which leads to the law of segregation. In the time of segregation, Black Americans lived in misery and fear. One must consider where morals come from in order to determine if it is morally right to break or follow unjust and just laws. Everyone knows that morals vary from person to person. In order to understand why morals vary from person to person, one must know what morality is. According to Logical and Critical Thinking website, morality is the belief or recognition that certain behaviors are either “good” or “bad”. The website also stated that morals are very easy to accept and only the fringes of society might question or reject them. In King’s essay “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, he states “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” (218). He explains the reason by stating there are two types of laws, unjust and just. “Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (218). I believe this statement to be very accurate; the reason is because of how I personally grew up. Since I was young, I was always told to become a leader and not a follower. My grandmother would always tell me not to follow or listen to someone that I personally knew was immoral....
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