The Silent Majority By Martin Luther King Jr.

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This paper will explore how the silent majority, that Martin Luther King Jr. addressed, faced the moral dilemma to support or not support colored people during the civil rights movement. According to King Jr. (1968) “shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection”. The silent majority, as King refers to them, were people who may or may not have thought they were making a morally right decision by not fully supporting the civil rights movement. This paper will go into depth about how divine command theory, natural law theory, and utilitarianism would justify or not justify how the silent majority acted during the civil war.
Plato and Jowett (1946) explain the divine command theory as a theory that people make the right decision based on what God says to be morally right to do or to make a bad decision based on what God tells them it is morally wrong. To put this in context with the silent majority, a Texas Christian man wrote to King Jr. (1968) that, “all Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but is it
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(1968) letter, he refers to the laws opposed upon the colored people as unjust and not rooted in natural law. He also goes on to say, “any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority”. (King Jr., 1968). If those of the silent majority followed natural law theory, then this sentence right here would send off alarms within their minds. Looking at this sentence, it is clear that the laws opposed upon the colored people kept them from achieving their happiness. And part of natural law is to help not just yourself, but everyone achieves their

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