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The Source of Law, Rights, and Martin Luther King Jr.

The Source of Law, Rights, and Martin Luther King Jr.

by Jake MacAulay

Please ponder, study, and memorize this statement with me.

There is a God, our rights come from Him, and the only purpose of government is to protect and secure our God-given rights. 

This week Americans will be paying 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 coopt, 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.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he stated “there are two types of laws: just and unjust.” And that “one has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.  Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” 

This smacks of the American Declaration of Independence when our founders declared the English King George was breaking the law when he “combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation… and For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.”

The word “pretended” here denotes falsehood, feigned, simulated and conversely invalid.  

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 natures 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). 

These standards can’t be applied to the actions of legislatures and governors and judges unless they are known, respected, and defended by the people.

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.  “History reveals that America has been a schizophrenic personality where these two documents are concerned. On the one hand she has proudly professed the basic principles inherent in both documents. On the other hand she has sadly practiced the antithesis of these principles,” said King. 

He alludes that government has a tendency to praise one concept while malevolently tearing down its foundations.  I pray we are not found guilty of allowing this in our own American lives, homes, communities, and halls of justice.

In the words of Declaration signer John Dickenson, “Kings or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness…we claim them form a higher source – from the King of kings and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals.  They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature.”