Does God Believe in Human Rights?

Essays on Religion and Human Rights


Where can religions find sources of legitimacy for human rights? How do, and how should, religious leaders and communities respond to human rights as defined in modern International Law? When religious precepts contradict human rights standards - for example in relation to freedom of expression or in relation to punishments - which should trump the other, and why? Can human rights and religious teachings be interpreted in a manner which brings reconciliation closer? Do the modern concept and system of human rights undermine the very vision of society that religions aim to impart? Is a reference to God in the discussion of human rights misplaced? Do human fallibilities with respect to interpretation, judicial reasoning and the understanding of human oneness and dignity provide the key to the undeniable and sometimes devastating conflicts that have arisen between, and within, religions and the human rights movement?
In this volume, academics and lawyers tackle these most difficult questions head-on, with candour and creativity, and the collection is rendered unique by the further contributions of a remarkable range of other professionals, including senior religious leaders and representatives, journalists, diplomats and civil servants, both national and international. Most notably, the contributors do not shy away from the boldest question of all - summed up in the book's title.
The thoroughly edited and revised papers which make up this collection were originally prepared for a ground-breaking conference organised by the Clemens Nathan Research Centre, the University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Martinus Nijhoff/Brill.

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Preface page; Foreword; Introduction Malcolm Evans; Section One RELI G IOUS PERSPECTIVES: Christian Perspectives 1 T he Complimentarity between Secular and
Religious Perspectives of Human Rights Richard Harries; 2 Religious Truths and Human Coexistence Roger Ruston; 3 Religion in a Democratic Society: Safeguarding
Freedom, Acknowledging Identity, Valuing Partnership Michael Ipgrave; A Muslim Perspective 4 Conflicting Values or Misplaced Interpretations? Examining the Inevitability of a Clash between ‘Religions’ and ‘Human Rights’ Javaid Rehman; Jewish Perspectives
5 Religion and Human Rights with Special Reference to Judaism Normon Solomon; 6 Religion and Human Rights: Redressing the Balance Avrom Sherr; 7 Human Rights and Its Destruction of Right and Wrong Melanie Phillips; A Bahá’í Perspective 8 A More Constructive Encounter: A Bahá’í View of Religion and Human Rights John Barnabas Leith; Section Two MODELS , TENSIONS AND FRAME WOR K S 9 ‘Human Rights’, ‘Religion’ and the ‘Secular’: Variant Configurations of Religion(s), State(s) and Society(ies) Paul Weller; 10 Freedom of Religion and Belief in the Light of
Recent Challenges: Needs, Clashes and Solutions Dennis de Jong; 11 T riumphalism and Respect for Diversity Conor Gearty; 12 ‘Phobias’ and ‘Isms’: Recognition of Difference
or the Slippery Slope of Particularisms? Nazila Ghanea; 13 Inciting Religious Hatred: Balancing Free Speech and Religious Sensibilities in a Multi-Faith Society Peter Cumper; 14 T heoretical and Institutional Framework: The Soft Spot where Human Rights End and God Begins Frederik Harhoff; Contributors.