The last post took my response up to the twentieth century invention of “Christian human rights.” This one engages with crucial details about my case for continuity in that era before turning to the major challenge several of my commentators offer concerning my decision to stress discontinuity thereafter: if I am correct about the endurance of Christian politics in and through the inception of universal human rights, could it really be the case, as Paul Hanebrink asks, that “the decline of Christianity as a social and political force in 1960s Europe falls like a curtain” across the stage?
Posts Tagged ‘human rights’
In its Room for Debate forum, The New York Times recently published a debate on the state of religious freedom in the United States.
The global feminist blog Gender Across Borders, in partnership with Violence is Not Our Culture: the Global Campaign to End Violence Against Women in the Name of ‘Culture,’ is seeking writers for an upcoming series on gender-based violence, culture, and women’s rights. The series will run on October 27th and 28th, and will feature personal narratives, profiles, book reviews, journalistic articles, analytical pieces, critical essays, and editorials.
A post at the New York Times philosophy blog “The Stone” reflects on the differences between religious and secular underpinnings of human rights. The author, Anat Biletzki, critiques the argument that human rights are impossible without religion, or, particularly, belief in God. Instead, she asserts that the secular basis for human rights is in fact more faithful to humanity than religious justifications, which she defines as rooted in the authority of a superhuman creator (i.e., God) rather than in the value of the human.
Must human rights be grounded in a religious or metaphysical worldview in order for them to be understood and implemented globally? Or should they be developed based on broad consensus, divorced from religious grounds? These are the questions that open Grace Kao’s new book Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World. Kao situates herself between these two positions, developing a rationale for human rights that is based on her retrieval of particular elements of the most prominent methods for justifying human rights approaches.
April 3rd marks the first day of the 2011 Carter Center Human Rights Defenders Forum. The theme for this year’s forum is Religion, Belief, and Women’s Rights. The formal conference on April 5-6 will be webcast live on the Carter Center’s website, and select portions of the conference will be live tweeted by Carter Center staff. Follow the Carter Center’s twitter feed @CarterCenter and join in the discussion at #Women’sRights11.
Early 2011 will mark the first US television broadcast of the critically acclaimed documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Released in 2008, Pray the Devil back to Hell awakened a global audience to the work of the women of Liberia in bringing about peace in their country after a fourteen-year civil war. The film chronicles Christian and Muslim women’s combined efforts to peacefully protest the war, demonstrating that women are active participants in peacebuilding work and that religious traditions and beliefs can be a vital resource for peace and reconciliation.
In a recent Newsweek article, “Saint Sarah,” Lisa Miller chronicles Sarah Palin’s iconic status among evangelical Christian women in the United States, noting that Palin blends talk of politics and faith in a way that resonates among her “mama grizzly” followers. . . . What I find fascinating in the “Saint Sarah” piece, and what I will explore over the summer in this blog, is the ways that the stories we tell—about self, nation, human rights, and other things we hold dear—often reveal a complicated intermingling of the things once characterized as distinctly separate: church and state, religion and politics, spirituality and human rights.
At the Guardian, Mervyn Thomas contextualizes the recent Chinese government crackdowns on Christian worship.
Talal Asad and Abdullahi An-Na’im both stand at the forefront of the challenging and constructive exchange taking place today between European and Islamic traditions of political, legal, and religious thought. At a recent event organized by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the two scholars traded questions and criticisms concerning the concept of human rights. Moderated by José Casanova, the discussion addressed the intrinsic limitations and historical failures of the language of human rights, as well as its formidable capacity to challenge autocratic and state-centric distributions of power, creating openings for democratic contestation and political self-determination. The following is a short excerpt of the conversation, which is available for download in its entirety here (pdf). You can see video from the event at here & there.
John Milbank, in his recent essay “Against Human Rights” (PDF), contends that Christian thought demands a notion and practice of justice as objective “right order,” and resolutely does not provide the theological basis for a doctrine of human rights qua the subjectively grounded rights of the claimant, as Nicholas Wolterstorff argues in Justice: Rights and Wrongs (Princeton UP, 2009). A political order grounded solely in subjective rights is, for Milbank, anathema to Christian justice.