Your Opinion: When is it right to disobey a law?
Monday, May 21, 2012
Walter E. Williams had an interesting article dated May 16 entitled “Should We Obey All Laws?
His article started, “Let’s think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law?
Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution’s commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce.
Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?”
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed by Congress and then upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1859.
This law proposed a moral dilemma for citizens wanting to help slaves escape from the South to the North, should they obey the law of the land, held constitutional by the US Supreme Court, or help these slaves avoid capture?
Williams went on to state, “Moral people can’t rely solely on the courts to establish what’s right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
Congress may pass all kinds of laws and the courts may uphold them, but we free citizens have a moral obligation to refuse those laws that are patently immoral, such as the Fugitive Slave Act. In addition, if the US Supreme Court upholds Obama Care as constitutional, we should demand that our state Legislature declare it null and void for we Missouri citizens. Do you really think that US soldiers would round up we Missourians for not buying health insurance? I think not!
Like our founding fathers we need to stand up for what is right and not act like sheep and obey everything that comes out of the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. They all can be seriously wrong and have proved it over and over.