Human Rights as Civil Religion: The Glue for Global Governance?

  • Julie Owen


The concept of human rights is often discussed in religious terms, although in and of themselves, human rights are hardly transcendental. The ideology of human rights is being embraced by the United Nations and academics, among others, as the moral foundation of global order, or the “glue” that holds the political project of global governance together by creating the common moral understanding necessary to legitimize global political authority. The definition of global governance adopted here is that of the Commission on Global Governance, which vaguely defines governance as “the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs” (1995, 2) and global governance as “a broad, dynamic, complex process of interactive decision-making that is constantly evolving and responding to changing circumstances” (4). Human rights and the “global ethic” are to be the ties that bind in the face of linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.


Political Authority Global Governance Moral Foundation Religious Freedom Global Citizenship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Markus Lederer and Philipp S. Müller 2005

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  • Julie Owen

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