Tuesday, October 20, 2015

CHE Sadaphal — On Civil Disobedience & Natural Law

Recently, the Oklahoma Supreme Court voted to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state capitol. This ruling was based upon the principle that the Ten Commandments are a bedrock of the Judeo-Christian tradition and have no bearing on the affairs of the state. As a recent Politico article states, the monument “violates the state constitution, which bans using public property for the benefit of a religion.”
Notably, the monument’s construction was privately funded. Several state legislators are calling for the justices to be impeached and have also proposed a measure that would allow state residents to “vote on removing the portion of the state constitution that the court relied upon in its ruling.” Furthermore, Governor Mary Fallin has refused to comply with the Court’s mandate.
Whether you agree with the governor or not, she does have a right to refuse to obey a law that she thinks is unjust. Civil disobedience is by no means a novel or contemporary construct. As the great theologian Augustine once stated, “An unjust law is no law at all.” Thomas Aquinas defined an unjust law as one based upon human law that is not embedded in eternal law or natural law. It is worth mentioning Aquinas’s extrapolation of the different types of law. Eternal law is the law of the entire universe. It is the core principle, in God, for the control of all things. Since we can’t read God’s mind, He has told us what we need to know and has revealed His law to us in the Word of God, or the Bible—this is the divine law. The divine law is necessary because left to our own devices, reason could not get us to a proper understanding of God. Natural law flows from eternal law. Here, we use reason in order to find the eternal law installed in us by God. Basically, everyone has an innate sense of right and wrong. Human law therefore has one purpose according to Aquinas: to help us obey natural law and nothing more. Human law is a means to an end and not an end in and of itself.
Read the full article HERE.