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.
This book offers the first ever ethnography of the Orange Order in Scotland via an in-depth analysis of ‘The Good’ of exceptionalism. While stylistically similar to Freemasonry, the Orange Order differs in being a strictly Protestant-only fraternity committed to preserving the Reformation and the constitutional union of the United Kingdom. Established in late eighteenth-century Ulster, the Order today is not only ultra-Protestant and ultra-unionist, but, according to critics, is also deeply sectarian, viewing Roman Catholicism as a despotic religious-cum-political ‘menace’ dedicated to destroying Great Britain. Through a fine-grained anthropological account of Orangeism during the Scottish independence debate, this book takes readers inside Scotland’s most infamous fraternal organisation – an organisation which members refer to not as a secret society, but as a ‘society with secrets’. What, according to these Scottish Orangemen, should a good Protestant life look like? By drawing on new literature within the anthropology of ethics and morality, this book answers this central question by examining the culture of Scottish Orangeism in the widest possible sense, assessing the importance not only of loyalist marches and unionist political campaigning, but also Orange gossip and fraternal drinking, the performance of ritual and secrecy, celebrations of football fandom and sectarian hate, as well as the formation and sharing of anti-Catholic conspiracy narratives. Combining ethnographic depth with analytical breadth, this book argues that what makes the Order so compelling to members yet so repugnant to its critics is its steadfast refusal to separate religion from politics and fraternity from ethnicity.
How do secular Jewish-Israeli millennials feel about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, having come of age in the shadow of the failed Oslo peace process, when political leaders have used ethno-religious rhetoric as a dividing force? This is the first book to analyse blowback to Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli religious nationalism among this group in their own words. It is based on fieldwork, interviews and surveys conducted after the 2014 Gaza War. Offering a close reading of the lived experience and generational memory of participants, it offers a new explanation for why attitudes to Occupation have grown increasingly conservative over the past two decades. It examines the intimate emotional ecology of Occupation, offering a new argument about neo-Romantic conceptions of citizenship among this group. Beyond the case study, it also offers a new theoretical framework and research methods for researchers and students studying emotion, religion, nationalism, secularism and political violence around the world.
Terror and religion1
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
Rights and religion: spaces for argument
The pursuit of rights, for oneself or on behalf of other human beings, grows
from our common capacity for passion, as much as from that for reason. Even the
austere pronouncements made in the name of established authority – by governors,
bankers and judges as well as priests – can be informed by shared human feeling
and made effective through rhetoric and symbolic acts. It is not surprising that advocacy against authority commonly evokes
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Secularisation, religion and the state
This chapter introduces a discussion of a fundamental paradox concerning
contemporary society and government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland (UK) – that while there is strong evidence of continuing
trends towards a more secular and less religious society and pattern of social
behaviour, at the same time, religious doctrines, rituals and institutions are
central to the legitimacy, stability and continuity of key elements of the constitutional and
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Monarchy and religion in Canada,
Australia and the Commonwealth
The discussion turns to consider the evidence of the patterns of religious
affiliation and belief to be found among all the realms of the monarch with a
view to determining their compatibility with the inherited religious rituals of
accession and coronation or possible successor forms. Consideration is also
given as to the question of the continued viability of collective ritual for all
the realms and the possibility of there being individualised
This book offers a critical survey of religious change and its causes in eighteenth-century Europe, and constitutes a challenge to the accepted views in traditional Enlightenment studies. Focusing on Enlightenment Italy, France and England, it illustrates how the canonical view of eighteenth-century religious change has in reality been constructed upon scant evidence and assumption, in particular the idea that the thought of the enlightened led to modernity. For, despite a lack of evidence, one of the fundamental assumptions of Enlightenment studies has been the assertion that there was a vibrant Deist movement which formed the “intellectual solvent” of the eighteenth century. The central claim of this book is that the immense ideological appeal of the traditional birth-of-modernity myth has meant that the actual lack of Deists has been glossed over, and a quite misleading historical view has become entrenched.
Over the last two decades, global demand for kosher products has been growing steadily, and many non-religious consumers view kosher as a healthy food option: in the US over 60 per cent of kosher food consumption is linked to non-religious values associated with health and food quality. This book explores the emergence and expansion of global kosher and halal markets with a particular focus on the UK and Denmark. While Kosher is a Hebrew term meaning 'fit' or 'proper', halal is an Arabic word that literally means 'permissible' or 'lawful'. The book discusses the manufacture and production of kosher and halal meat (both red meat and poultry) with specific reference to audits/inspections, legislation, networking, product innovation and certification. It draws on contemporary empirical material to explore kosher and halal comparatively at different levels of the social scale, such as individual consumption, the marketplace, religious organisations and the state. It compares the major markets for kosher/halal in the UK with those in Denmark, where kosher/halal are important to smaller groups of religious consumers. Denmark plays an important role in biotechnology that is compatible with what we call kosher/halal transnational governmentality. The book explores how Jewish and Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice kosher consumption in their everyday lives. It also explores how 'compound practice' links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual.
It is increasingly accepted that
religion is a cause of many of the world’s violent conflicts. The
vast majority of contemporary conflicts are intrastate conflicts and
involve issues of religious, national or ethnic identity. Although
religious conflicts in general have been less common in the post-Second
World War era than nonreligious conflicts – or ethnonational