Religion and Rights

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures

Edited by Wes Williams

Religion and Rights


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8255-9
  • Pages: 176
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: September 2011
  • BIC Category: Religion & beliefs, Human rights, civil rights, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Human Rights, Society & social sciences / Human rights, Humanities / Religion & beliefs
  • Series: Oxford Amnesty Lectures


Rights were once thought to derive from the God-given nature of man. But today human rights and religion are sometimes in conflict. The universal claims made for rights can put them at odds with the revealed truths from which religions derive their authority. Many people's sense of human worth and dignity nevertheless depends on recognising the divine in each of us. Where rights and revelation diverge, how can the differences be negotiated? How should we measure individual claims to freedom against the demands of religious traditions?

In this volume, eminent theologians and anthropologists set out the terms of religion's holds on its own truths, while historians, philosophers, and activists set out their vision for a society in which the competing truths must be accommodated not peacefully but without violence. Their respondents join the debate with fierce conviction, indicating their doubts and concerns in relation to the often compatible but sometimes competing claims of religion and rights.


Introduction. Rights and religion: spaces for argument and agreement: Wendy James
1. Race, faith and freedom in American and British history: Simon Schama
Response to Simon Schama: Matthew Spooner
2. Pentecost: Learning the language of peace: Stanley Hauerwas
Response to Stanley Hauerwas: Pamela Sue Anderson
3. Human rights and the Roman Catholic tradition: Charles Curran
Response to Charles Curran: Nicholas Bamforth
4. Worldviews and universalisms: The doctrine of 'religion' in Islam and the idea of 'rights' in the West: Hisham Hellyer
Response to Hisham Hellyer: Chris Miller
5. Terror and religion: Ronald Dworkin
Response to Ronald Dworkin: John Tasioulas
6. Can human rights accommodate pluralism?: Chantal Mouffe
Response to Chantal Mouffe: Stuart White
7. Symposium: Freedom of belief, freedom from belief
7.1. Asma Jahangir
7.2. Anthony C. Grayling
7.3. John Pritchard
7.4. Andrew Brown
7.5. Emma Cohen
Preface and acknowledgements


Wes Williams is University Lecturer in French at Oxford University and a Fellow of St Edmund Hall.

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