Dr. Martin Luther King at times violated laws of segregation. He justified it by appealing to what he called a higher moral law. In doing so, he urged his followers to pay the price for violating the law. He believed that ignoring unjust laws and paying the price for doing so would prick the consciences of lawmakers to enact just laws. Long before Dr. King lived, Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah disobeyed Pharaoh’s orders. Here is what Pharaoh told the midwives to do from Exodus 1. “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this? He demanded. Why have you allowed the boys to live? They replied, “The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time. So God was good to the midwives. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” We seldom face the issues that the midwives or Dr. King faced. But God does call each of us to stand for justice and moral values-to serve as salt and light in our world.
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