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Chantal Mouffe

9780719082542_C06.qxd 8/9/11 15:51 Page 121 6 Can human rights accommodate pluralism? Chantal Mouffe There are many ways to approach the topic selected for this year’s Oxford Amnesty Lectures. I have chosen to examine it from the following angle: Can human rights accommodate pluralism? I am especially interested in two questions: (1) Do human rights transcend cultural and religious differences? (2) What does the answer to this question imply for our understanding of democracy in a global context? I will begin by examining the supposedly universal relevance

in Religion and rights
Charles E. Curran

9780719082542_C03.qxd 8/9/11 15:52 Page 73 3 Human rights in the Roman Catholic tradition Charles E. Curran This essay will discuss the understanding of human rights in the Roman Catholic tradition. One essay or even one book cannot pretend to cover the entire topic in any depth. This article will focus especially on the official teaching of the hierarchical magisterium. The hierarchical teaching in the general area of the social order has been called Catholic Social Teaching which traces its origins to the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII in the latter part of

in Religion and rights
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The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2008
Editor: Wes Williams

This book addresses the relationship between human rights and religion. The original blurb for the Oxford Amnesty Lectures of 2008 invited speakers and audiences to ponder arguments for the God-given source of human rights. The book explains how biblical inspiration (both Old and New Testament) fuelled the anti-slavery protests and later the civil rights movement in the United States. It develops the particular relevance, for arguments over human rights within Islam, of the writings of the medieval philosopher Muhammad al-Ghazali who justified an openness towards constructive engagement with other traditions. The book shows where the philosophical worldviews that inform the religion of Islam and the rights discourse may be distant from each other. It illustrates the challenge of taking the real world of human practice seriously while avoiding simplistic arguments for pluralism or relativism. The book focuses on Simon Schama's evocation of the religious fervour which helped feed the long struggles for liberation among American slave communities. It discusses the understanding of human rights in the Roman Catholic tradition. The book also shows that the Christian experience of Pentecost and what it means to learn to speak as well as understand another's language, is a continuing resource God has given the church to sustain the ability to suffer as well as respond to those who suffer for the long haul. The book argues that moral progress consists in the universalisation of Western liberal democracy with its specific understanding of human rights.

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Ronald Dworkin

9780719082542_C05.qxd 8/9/11 15:51 Page 104 5 Terror and religion1 Ronald Dworkin Introduction The Oxford Amnesty Lectures have by now a longish and distinguished history. The topic that dominates discussion shifts year by year, as it should, reflecting contemporary urgency. Sometimes the focus falls on implementation: we know when human rights are being violated en masse, and we struggle to find ways to end the horror. Sometimes the focus is more theoretical: when new national constitutions or human rights covenants are proposed and debated, for example, we

in Religion and rights
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Freedom of belief, freedom from belief
John Pritchard, Andrew Brown, and Emma Cohen

9780719082542_C07.qxd 8/9/11 15:51 Page 138 7 Symposium: Freedom of belief, freedom from belief 7.1 The tolerance policy: way out or compromise? Asma Jahangir It is an honour and a privilege to be invited to speak at the Oxford Amnesty Lectures. Amnesty International has been a longstanding friend of human-rights defenders everywhere. In Pakistan the protection it extended to us kept our spirits up. Oxford University, too, has a special significance for Pakistan. It gave us our finest and most cherished politician – Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Her assassination

in Religion and rights
John Anderson

subsequently turned to revolutionary activity, for most it was simply a restatement of the old idea of men and women as made ‘in the image of God’ and deserving of respect and proper treatment by political rulers. In consequence religious leaders and institutions increasingly found themselves in conflict with rulers whom they had hitherto supported, a role that was reinforced by the transnational nature of the Catholic Church which reinforced the commitment to human rights and made it harder for regimes to appeal over the heads of local church leaders to what they hoped

in Christianity and democratisation
John Tasioulas

9780719082542_C05.qxd 8/9/11 15:51 Page 116 Response to Ronald Dworkin John Tasioulas I find myself in agreement with a great deal in Professor Dworkin’s elegant lecture. In particular, I agree with his main negative contention: that divine authority is not a credible foundation for human rights, largely for the reasons he gives – reasons which, as he rightly implies, find a responsive echo in the thought of philosophers such as St Thomas Aquinas. But I shall focus, instead, on Dworkin’s positive views regarding the nature and justification of human rights

in Religion and rights
Stuart White

9780719082542_C06.qxd 8/9/11 15:51 Page 133 Response to Chantal Mouffe Stuart White The question is not merely whether the idea of ‘human rights’ can accommodate ‘pluralism’, but whether, or to what extent, it should. Chantal Mouffe claims that there is at present a dominant conception of human rights which is closely tied up with one conception of the legitimate polity, that of ‘liberal democracy’. The idea of human rights needs revision to accommodate a wider range of legitimate polities. There is no doubt that Mouffe is exploring a key problem for human

in Religion and rights
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John Anderson

the importance of human dignity and the rights of all, whether Catholic or not. In consequence, the Church began to play a key role in promoting human rights and civility in public life. Central here was the activity of Pope John Paul II who strongly emphasised the importance of human rights, although the extent to which he can be said to have promoted a transformative view of democracy may depend upon one’s own ideological preferences. Yet whilst democracy might be favoured, it always tended to be seen as provisional and as a lesser evil, and the Church retained

in Christianity and democratisation
Spaces for argument and agreement
Wendy James

, ‘religions’ as singular, self-defining and separate phenomena. The 9780719082542_A02.qxd 2 8/9/11 15:49 Page 2 Religion and rights cultural relativism of which anthropologists have long stood accused has also been a stumbling block for historians dealing with periods and regions over-determined by the conventional narratives of the major World Religions. In introducing an earlier volume of essays on human rights, culture and context, the anthropologist Richard Wilson points to the pragmatic circumstances in which questions about rights arise, initially as part of

in Religion and rights