Monday, April 16, 2012

Bioethics and Birmingham Jail

In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Martin Luther King wrote "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 Acquinas: 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."
Bioethics deals with questions of 'natural law' and 'eternal law' yet mostly I've seen the decisions of bioethics devolve to 'cost effectivemenss' and the 'needs of a few (elitism or administrative elitism) over the needs of the many'.  It was said that if God did not create man then surely man must create God to provide a higher standard than he normally is want.
There was once a need for the 'separation of church and state' because Pope and church held such power.  Historically matters of health, education and religion were the purvue of the 'church' but today the state through 'its' courts forsakes the notion of 'separation of state and church' and acts on matters spiritual with the mental process of those sceular .
Pope Gregory II once told the emperor, "When it comes to dogmas, you haven't the brains, yours are too crude and militaristic."
"Promote not so much the worldly interests of the Church, as the relief of the needy in their distress,"  Pope Gregory I or Gregory the Great had said.  In these times of 'economic dictatorship' would the needs of war ever surpass the needs of peace.  Would then not the bioethics of the day serve the ends of war rather than the ends of peace.  Then as Martin Luther King and Augustine before him has said, "An Unjust Law is no law at all".

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