The Civil Disobedience of Antigone and the Teachings of Martin Luther King Jr.

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From the monarchs of the ancient era to the democracy of today, order has been maintained by means of rules and regulations known as laws. Compliance with these laws is enforced through punishments ranging in severity according to the crimes committed to reduce violence and misconduct from individuals within a society. However, just as citizens consent to abide by the laws of the state in which they reside, one is compelled to preserve justice and condemn the unjust decisions of man when the social contract contradicts the laws sanctioned by God. Approaching this conflict between natural and manmade laws in a non-violent manner is called “civil disobedience”.
One of the most well known activists of civil disobedience was Martin Luther
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In his correspondence to his fellow clergymen entitled “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King, a promoter of peace and brotherhood, analyzes his act of non-violent resistance to clarify the necessitate of producing creative tension. King begins by elucidating the differences between just and unjust laws. According to King, unjust laws are human laws that are not harmonized with the natural laws of God that cause the degradation of personality and damage the soul. According to this ideology, King states that when injustice occurs there is a correct approach to civil disobedience. First, King expects one to collect information regarding the immoral implication of law with the intent of proving injustice. This requires one to be able to distinguish between the laws of man and the laws of good, the immoral laws and moral laws, the unjust laws and just laws. Next, negotiation is used to establish an understanding of the endured injustice; however, this purpose is not to humiliate or defeat the adversary, but to promote friendship through a form of selfless and spiritual love known as agape. As Martin Luther King Jr. points out, “It is an overflowing love which seeks noting in return. And when you come to love on this level you begin to love men not because they are likeable, not because they do things that attract us, but because God loves them and here we love the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed that the person does” (“Non-violence” 2).
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