The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had an interesting take on subjecting oneself to the governing authorities. He argued that when he and other broke various laws using direct, non-violent action, they did so with the understanding that they would willingly accept the consequences (i.e., subject themselves to the authorities and their laws). They believed that in doing so they would help expose the immorality of the laws they were breaking. As he wrote in his letter from the Birmingham Jail:
One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.Mennonites, who hail from the Anabaptist tradition which includes other traditions such as the Amish and Hutterites, hold a similar understanding to King's ("How Jeff Sessions reads Romans 13 and how my Mennonite Sunday school class does"). During the Protestant Reformation Anabaptists were persecuted by both Roman Catholics and Protestants for refusing to baptize their babies, insisting that they must undergo a conversion experience before becoming members. In today's world, that doesn't seem like a big deal, but back then, in a world where church and state were not separate, it was both a theological and political act. It was asserting that one's conscience was not the purview of either the church hierarchy or the state. Thus, it was seen as an act of rebellion. For good reason, although Anabaptists have been willing to subject themselves to the governing authorities, they had no intention of obeying them if asked to do something contrary to their beliefs.