Greetings in JESUS,
He had sat in a dark, dank jail cell for four long days and nights with barely enough to eat. Did he know that he was setting the example for thousands of others who would soon descend on the South and spread through America…following his example?
Twelve days earlier the Pastor had begun with others a movement that led to his imprisonment. Allowed visitors, one had smuggled in a copy of the newspaper, in it was a letter from eight prominent white Pastors. They denounced that movement arguing in their letter “A Call For Unity”, that any battle for rights should be fought in the courts and not in the streets. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began writing a response on the margins of that same paper, finishing on scraps that he could find. His “Letter From The Birmingham Jail” set the world on its heels. Both the reasonableness of his argument and the strong Biblical theology shocked even the most conservative amongst theologians. He justified breaking the law?!? And demonstrated how that both the Prophets of Old and even our Lord JESUS had a basis for law breaking in the name of Higher Laws…as did the Founders of The United States of America.
Here’s a piece from that letter :
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.”
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? 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. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
– To be continued next week –
“LUV’ WINS”….. Reaches for April 19th…..
Our total giving to our “LUV’ WINS” CAMPAIGN has reached $931,784. In reviewing our position and accounting, our Executive Office figures we will need about $200,000 to be in the ideal financial position to complete a land purchase. We’ve set April 19th as a goal to have raised the needed funds. One of our leaders calculates that 500 Units (families, individuals) giving $27.50 per week would reach that goal by April 19th. Will you join in with us? Some can do much more than $27.50 per week- in that case you will cover 2, 3, or 10 Units. Thank you in advance for believing…that …”LUV’ WINS”. Witness, work, give…? Over the next few weeks …we’re going to find out. Today begins a set of teachings on “The Inconvenient Truth”. Invite some friends, neighbors, co-workers to join us at any of our morning services.
Joyfully In Jesus,
Chuck Singleton, Sr. Pastor