Thinking Anglicans

Religious faith and human rights

Last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered a lecture at the London School of Economics. The title was Religious faith and human rights.

You can read the full text of the lecture here.

Natalie Hanman has written at Comment is free about this lecture. Her article is titled Cross purposes. In the article she asks which comes first: gender equality before the law, or religious liberty?

This article also explains about the current UK legislation imposing a “public sector equality duty” and the proposals to extend this duty into more areas.

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JCF
JCF
12 years ago

The Priest-Who-Is-Mad noted this lecture, here: http://revjph.blogspot.com/2008/05/grand-tufti-argues-that-gay-people-are.html (my comment on it is there also. Basically . . . BALDERDASH!)

Spirit of Vatican II
12 years ago

The failure of the secular state to protect against torture is not an argument against the moral purpose and the moral authority of the secular state. In the past the Church failed even more drastically to protect human rights and the very idea of human rights had to be established in face of church opposition. The argument of Habermas, Nicholas Boyle and others that the Enlightenment vision of human dignity and human rights derives from Christianity is one-sided.

Spirit of Vatican II
12 years ago

The discussion of the body in this lecture is rather confusing. Human beings as such have human rights. What go into descriptions of what human beings are? Is it only to ensure protection for the embyro or fetus? If so, better stick to the old idea of the soul or find some modern equivalent for it. I also do not see the need for the ironic attitude to secular modernity and to the Enlightenment appearing at several points in the lecture, e.g. “The state is both the guarantor of rights – more clearly than ever with the emergence of the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“the very idea of human rights had to be established in face of church opposition” It still does. There will always be certain elements in the Church whose need to identify with the Christians of the early Church is so great they would find persecution in a sunny day. Such people will see any advance of the human rights of others as a diminishing of their own. Look what happened in Britain with the laws around same sex couples. People actually argued their rights were being infringed if they were prevented from infringing the rights of others. They even claimed… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
12 years ago

Here are some choice morsels of Vatican pharisaism that tell a lot about the unease of religious institutions with human rights: http://www.ewtn.com/library/Curia/CDFhomol.HTM “13. Including “homosexual orientation” among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action or preferential treatment in hiring practices. This is all the more deleterious since there is no right to homosexuality (cf. No. 10) which therefore should not form the basis for judicial claims. The passage from the recognition of homosexuality as… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
12 years ago

Alas, if this lecture gives clues, we cannot expect Canterbury to subscribe unambivalently any time soon – to an independent notion of global human rights which has its own authority to bear witness against abuse and meanness. Clearly, the thrust of these remarks is to claim that such authority must always be subservient to the alleged special religious roots from which any notions of human dignity and protection from abuse are claimed to spring. But this neglects the immense contributions of all the churches – with few exceptions? – to abuse, meanness, and violations of human dignity over long centuries.… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

“An individual’s sexual orientation is generally not known to others UNLESS HE PUBLICLY IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS HAVING THIS ORIENTATION OR UNLESS SOME OVERT BEHAVIOR MANIFESTS IT.”

The same could be said of one’s religion, surely? Is the Vatican opposed to legislation barring discrimination on the basis of religion?

Spirit of Vatican II
12 years ago

The gay issue has brought to light serpents of arrogance, manicheanism, disrespect for human rights, lying under the Rock of our Churches (both the Roman and the Anglican). It is a presenting issue indeed, a revealing catalyst. Now that our sickness is disgracefully exposed to our more enlightened secular contemporaries will we learn for it and seek healing in dialogue?

Merseymike
Merseymike
12 years ago

Human rights and Christianity are simply incompatible. Catholic beliefs, in particular, are the antithesis of human rights.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“The same could be said of one’s religion, surely? “ Exactly! Frequently, you hear people opposing protection of gay rights because we shouldn’t protect “lifestyle choices” in the constitution. Well, to profess a religion is certainly a choice. Religions, as our Evangelicals brethren are quick to point out, require a certain lifestyle. Indeed, certain religions are very detailed on what that lifestyle must be. So we already DO give constitutional protection to lifestyle choices. To be gay is merely to be gay. While stereotypical behaviour exists, the mere state of being gay does not dictate what one eats, when one… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
12 years ago

Another article commenting on the Pope and human rights is by Simon Barrow

http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2008/04/30/papal-authority-and-human-rights-thinking-aloud-by-simon-barrow/

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“Catholic beliefs, in particular, are the antithesis of human rights.”

Nonsense! Basic to Catholic belief is that human beings are valued by God merely because we ARE human beings, not because of what we do or do not do. Our inherent values as human beings is central. That cannot be said to be the antithesis of human rights.

Merseymike
Merseymike
12 years ago

No, Ford. You can’t have ‘rights’ if you are subservient to a controlling god, and are inherently sinful and requiring of repentance. Its entirely inconsistent.

Walsingham
Walsingham
12 years ago

In the same way that a state exists first and foremost to protect individual rights so that they may flourish, the Church exists for the same reason. Rights are irrelevant in anarchy.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“No, Ford. You can’t have ‘rights’ if you are subservient to a controlling god, and are inherently sinful and requiring of repentance. Its entirely inconsistent.” Are you saying you are perfect? If not, you are accepting the idea of being, as you put it, “inherently sinful”. You accept the doctrine of Original Sin every time you say “Nobody’s perfect.” Furthermore, it seems your issues are with authority. You come from an Evangelical backgroud. That explains a lot. I figure God was only ever presented to you as an authoritarain lawmaker who demands total obedience or He will reject you outright… Read more »

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