A Dickensian Era of Religious Rights: An Update on Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective

48 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2011 Last revised: 14 Jan 2020

Date Written: 2001


This Article was written at a time when international discussions of religion, human rights, and religious freedom were just beginning to blossom. The Article documents the paradox that the modern human rights revolution has catalyzed a new religious awakening around the globe but has also triggered sharp new interreligious conflicts. This has led many to argue that religion should be excluded from the human rights paradigm. This Article argues that religion and human rights need each other. Not only were Christianity and other faith traditions essential historical sources of many modern rights ideas, but all faith traditions today provide essential resources for a human rights culture to flourish. The Article thus calls for a new human rights hermeneutic that respects religious contributions to human rights, that induces religions to confess their rights violations, and that encourages reconciliation between religions that are fighting over issues of proselytism, blasphemy, and more.

Keywords: Religion; Human Rights; Religious Freedom; Religious Conflict; Catholicism; Protestantism; Orthodox Christianity; Human Rights Hermeneutic; Proselytism; Liberty of Conscience; Conversion

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, A Dickensian Era of Religious Rights: An Update on Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective (2001). William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 42, p. 707, 2001, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1797861

John Witte (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

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