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Toward a Christian Theory of Human Rights

Lisa Sowle Cahill
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 8, No. 2 (Fall, 1980), pp. 277-301
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40017762
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Toward a Christian Theory of Human Rights
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Abstract

In the Christian view, persons are not essentially isolated, self-interested agents, but creatures who respond to God's claim within the communal fabric. "Rights" are significant only as counterparts of duties, foremost among which is the obligation to seek God. I suggest that a "human right" is a claim to those conditions or goods which are fundamentally related to this absolute obligation and which can be protected equitably for all associated in community. While most rights are categorized provisionally as "very stringent" or "generally valid," only the right to personal moral integrity might be "absolute," since it alone seems incapable of genuine conflict with any other right.

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