Religious and Humanist Perspectives on Human Rights
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The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the best known comprehensive statement on human rights. The foundations of these human rights, however, can be manifold. There are several approaches to founding principles of human rights. This paper considers some of these perspectives: (1) a Roman Catholic natural law perspective; (2) a Protestant covenant approach; (3) a Muslim “umma” point of view; (4) an Orthodox understanding; and (5) a “humanist-humanitarian activist” approach. While discussing the various perspectives on “first generation” civil and political human rights, this paper makes some comparisons in regard to foundations, group versus individual approaches, relationship and influence on/from the State, and current developments. It is argued that each of these voices is needed in the ongoing development of the human rights discussion and implementation.
KeywordsFoundation of Human Rights Religion Roman-Catholicism Protestantism Christian Orthodoxy Islam Humanism
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