Justice In John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration

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In his Letter Concerning Toleration, John Locke states that, above all things, he finds it “necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one and the other.”1 This argument can be defied by analyzing the definitions of moral law, real justice, and how they work together. It is impossible to execute justice in civil affairs without reference to moral law. Civil affairs and morality must coincide to execute justice in a state. Moral law is “a rule or group of rules conceived as universal and unchanging and as having the sanction of God 's will, of conscience, of man 's moral nature, or of natural justice as revealed to human reason.”2 According to the…show more content…
Without morality, law does not exist because it does not contain real justice. Real justice is following natural and moral law in how a person punishes and acts. Natural law is instilled into the hearts of men by God and provides a means of deciphering right from wrong. It can be “discovered by reason alone and applies to all people, while divine law can be discovered only through God 's special revelation and applies only to those to whom it is revealed and who God specifically indicates are to be bound.”12 Though one may not believe in divine or moral law, natural law can still be used to determine justice from injustice. Many do not understand that natural law and civil law are both branches of moral law, and when either are used, moral law is being referenced. The laws set out for the public have a moral aspect to them, whether moral law is referenced or not. When a crime is committed against a person or the public, that criminal is penalized and will either be fined or jailed, some even for a lifetime, depending on the severity of the crime. Penalties against crime are established for the safety of the public. In civil affairs, justice can be only executed with reference to moral
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