Just laws are any laws that promote equality, protect rights and freedoms of citizens, guarantee the rights of citizens considered inferior or weaker in any given social structure. Just laws ensure that individuals who break the law are given a fair trial regardless of their social status. On the other hand, unjust laws are those laws that disrespect human personality, promote inequality in the society and are imposed on a minority who were not considered during law enactment. According to (King, 2009),
“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
In the modern society, laws advocating for right to an abortion and right to gay marriage fit the model of what King would call unjust. Right to an abortion does not protect right of life of the unborn child and right to gay marriage “is not rooted in eternal and natural law.”(St. Thomas Aquinas)
Personally I have witnessed a lot of unjust things happening in our day-to-day lives such as; judging people by their surname, color of their skin or inequalities in education resources that group children according to their status in the society. Acting alone would not bring a significant change to these unjust practices because for an unjust practice to be stopped, the public should be actively involved.
If we all join hands to fight matters of injustice, the unjust practices will be rooted out and finally the oppressed will feel that they are part of the society and their rights are respected. Working together allows a group of people to achieve something that an individual working alone cannot.
Exercising our first amendment rights help to shape the world we live in numerous ways. Firstly, it unites a particular group of people together by ensuring that there is freedom of religion which guarantees the right to practice religion as they wish. Secondly, it enables us to assemble in groups as long as the groups do not turn violent. Thirdly, freedom of speech allows us to express ourselves without fear of being punished.
Occupy Wall Street used civil disobedience by disagreeing with the government publicly, holding public demonstrations. Days of effective civil disobedience are over due to the fact that the occupiers of Wall Street were not even able to going against the relevant laws in the first place.
King, M. (2009). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1. Kim, R. (2011)
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