An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Civil Rights Comparison

In this clip, Gloria Purvis discusses the common comparison of the “Equality” movement to the Civil Rights Movement, pointing out that the ethos is of a completely different character.

The Civil Rights Movement was based on the knowledge that racial segregation was not part of the divine law, and thus was unjust.

How did they know this? Through reason, and a conviction that God created a moral law that is inscribed in human nature. Here’s a copy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, if you need to brush up on it!

King writes, “Now, what is the difference between the two [just and unjust laws]? How does one determine when 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 and natural law.”

In other words, a right to be treated equally regardless of your race comes from God, not man, and thus a government that denies that right is not acting rightly.

Likewise, the institution of marriage was designed by God, not man…
“An unjust law is no law at all.”

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