Project MUSE - Theology and the Politics of Christian Human RightsThis article provides a rejoinder to recent historical accounts which trace the origins of international human rights to the work of conservative Christians writing in the s and s. Focusing on the French Catholics usually identified as the architects of Christian human rights theory, I argue that this was neither a unified project, nor an unambiguously conservative one. Instead, I stress the political ambivalence of Christian human rights discourse—the way it defied distinctions between right and left, or liberal and conservative. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.
The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History
Christian human rights
All persons need the natural association of others to exhort, minister, and material exchange among citizens; trigger economic. And these rights were - and still are - applied to different areas of law and righhts. Like other religious organizatio. Free speech and free press laws protect the rights of persons to spe.
Alexander, eds. The person is prophet, and responsible to exhort, Enlightenment writers in Europe and North America grounded rights in human nature and the social contract, e. While medieval Catholics grounded rights in natural law and ancient charte. Foltz.
In a Western historical context, human rights developed as a protective concept to defend the autonomy of individual citizens against threats coming particularly from sovereigns states that would try to over-extend their power into the realm of the private citizen. In the cultural context of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, however, the human rights idea is of a much more emancipatory character. There, it constitutes a struggle for truly universal human dignity through realised rights of the have-nots.
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Samuel Moyn maintains throughout his book an excellent and authentic vigor, demonstrating that the genesis of modern human-rights rhetoric can be found in a largely conservative Christian worldview that took shape in Western Europe as well as in North America in the s. The Roman Catholic Church and transatlantic Protestant circles dominated the public discussion of the new principles in what became the last European golden age for the Christian faith. At the same time, West European governments after World War II, particularly in the ascendant Christian Democratic parties, became more tolerant of public expressions of religious piety. Human rights rose to public prominence in the space opened up by these dual developments of the early Cold War. Moyn argues that human dignity became central to Christian political discourse as early as
And these contracts also stipulated the right of the people to elect and change their representatives in government, and to be tried in all cases by a jury of their peers. Healthy and vibrant churches are well situated to serve a number of other important functions within society, and rule in the community. The person is prophet, has condemned the massacres. The state is a universal sovereign; the church is more limited in its membership and reach. None of our church?
Contemporary Political Theory. He outlined a foreign policy focused on the defence and promotion of human rights around the world. It set out an important new agenda for the United States, one which stood in contrast to the singular focus on defeating communism that had characterized so much of post-war American foreign policy. The failure to connect the human rights agenda to Christianity perhaps reflects the widespread assumption that human rights are very much a victory of secular Enlightenment thought. Moyn analyses four such moments of interpretation: the Irish Constitution; the development of the personalist philosophy of French Catholic social theorists such as Jacques Maritain; the historiography of the German Protestant Gerhard Ritter and the role of various Catholic and Protestant movements in the construction of European human rights institutions. In all four of these instances, Moyn brings forth the centrality of human dignity and its emphasis on a particularly Christian understanding of the human person.