Critical Analysis of the Letter from Birmingham Jail

On April 12, the year 1963, MLK was confined for exhibiting actions of protest in Birmingham. While Martin Luther King was condemned in the Birmingham jail, he observed a public statement comprising of concerns and criticisms and expressed by religious heads of the South. Such sentiments got him interested and spent a lot of his time in jail constituting a letter to the leaders who made the remarks. The letter was rooted with various moral concepts and theories, which comprised of virtue ethics, Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, Utilitarianism, a theory of natural laws,   social contract theory, cultural relativism, and Divine Command Theory. A deep analysis of the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” will comprise of examples, which demonstrate the ethical theories, along with diligence of a secondary source. 

Martin Luther King Jr. often referred to the Bible in his written testament, to the detractors who got hold of his attention, to validate his choice to peaceful demonstration; such insinuations highlighted a vital ethical aspect, which is linked to the notion of religion’s responsibility in morality. In the third paragraph of MLK, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the moral concept, which was indicated, on analysis, was the Divine Command Theory. The theory justified that ethics is reliant upon God and the believers are compelled to obey His rules and commands since the believers personify moral actions, which are instituted upon moral rules. The components of Moral Philosophy, in theory, are enlightened, as “The essential sense is that God judges what is wrong and right. The actions, which God orders people to do are morally needed; acts that God prohibits people to do are morally incorrect, and all other activities are morally nonaligned.” MLK’s audience comprised of religious individuals, and his dispute for the aim of protesting is not only the desire for the African Americans, but also it is God’s will. Nonetheless, the religious people as well as the church ought to support what MLK is entirely accomplishing. 

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In ethics, there exists a base for what is believed to be unacceptable and acceptable in a specific community, and Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” explains this Cultural Relativism as if the citizens of United States were not being identified by their racial contextual in this precise time. In Martin Luther King’s fourth paragraph, ethical relativism is emphasized. Ethical relativism is an idea, which affirms the norms of a region or society where the same cultures are present, they have the same views on what acts are depicted as “wrong” and which actions are known to be “right.” “Furthermore, I am aware of the connection of all the states as well as the communities. MLK further declares that he cannot be seated doing anything in idly Atlanta and not be worried about the state which Birmingham is in. Injustice wherever is a peril to justice all over the world. In addition, he added that never again could people allow living with the provincial, narrow, ‘outside agitator’ notion. Any individual who stays in the United States of America should never be thought of an outsider.” These highlights that if any indication of injustice is determined in the United States, any person who is qualified to be an American citizen is at risk since their capacity to live amicably in a society, is being compromised, and such injustices are not acceptable morally.

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