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Religion, Religions, and Human Rights

Louis Henkin
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), pp. 229-239
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40008655
Page Count: 11
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Religion, Religions, and Human Rights
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Abstract

Though some Christian theologians have argued that Western human rights theory is grounded in religious faith, human rights morality is, in fact, autonomous. The ideologies of religion and of human rights differ in their sources, the bases of their authority, their forms of expression, and even their substantive norms. Moreover, historically, religious communities have often themselves violated human rights norms-and such violations persist today in some geographical regions and with respect to some norms. On the other hand, religious communities have an obvious interest in the development and defense of some human rights, particularly religious human rights, and religious communities that once were hostile to the human rights ideology have more recently, particularly in the West, coopted the human rights idea and claimed it as their own. An "approchement" between religion and human rights is possible and highly desirable.

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