Saturday, April 13, 2013
Obedience to the Law Is Freedom
'Obedience to the Law is Freedom'. Thus declared a sign hung over a barbed wire covered gate at a US Army Base, Fort Dix, in 1969. It became a symbol for the movement against the War in Vietnam. Today, it has a chilling resonance to parents who have been told that Opting Out their children from state tests is illegal and will incur severe penalties. To those brave individuals, I cannot recommend a course of action- as that must be determined by the dictates of one's conscience- but I will share a passage on just and unjust laws from one of the greatest human rights documents we have, Dr Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
"One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first 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."