1) According to MLK, the difference between just and unjust is that a just law is a man made code that harmonizes with the moral law. An unjust law is a human law that is out of balance with the moral law. Unjust laws are unethical and degrade the human’s character and soul. It is not rooted in an eternal and natural law. On the other hand, laws that are virtuous and elevate human character is just. MLK states “All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.”
2) The distinction between just and unjust laws is important and does affect how an individual lives their life and even society as a whole. An example King uses in his letter, is of Nazi Germany. Unjust laws were put into place and was deemed “legal”. Although they were legal laws, they were unethical and immoral. These laws degraded the human’s character and soul and affected not just the ones being discriminated against but the nation as a whole. Obeying unjust laws even if they are deemed legal is suppressing human personality. Dr. King stood up against injustice, linking true justice to its roots in a higher law. He would willingly sacrifice to accomplish a greater good to confront injustice not with bitterness and hatred but with a soul saturated in love.
3) An example of unjust laws in the U.S today is the 4 anti- LGBTQ bills that were introduced in January of 2020. The proposed bills are the HB 1365: Vulnerable Child Protection Act, HB 305: Preemption of Conditions of Employment, HCR 239: Equal Rights for Men and Women and HB 537: Home-Based Businesses. House Bill 1365 makes providing certain medical care or treatments to transgender children a second-degree felony. This is unjust because it is restricting somebody else from doing something that’s not causing harm to anybody else. House Bill 305 would repeal employment protections in place now that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition the other bills would legalize the so called gay conversion therapy in places that banned the practice. Using MLK’s definition, these are unjust laws because they are unethical and degrade the human’s character and soul. These bills gives the people discriminated against a false sense of inferiority because their rights are being threatened.