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Essays on Religion and Human Rights
Ground to Stand On

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  • Author: David Little, Berkley Center of Religion, Peace, and International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington DC
John Kelsay
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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107420977

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About the Authors
  • This collection of essays by David Little addresses human rights in relation to the historical settings in which its language was drafted and adopted. Featuring five original essays, Little articulates his view that fascist practices before and during World War II vivified the wrongfulness of deliberately inflicting severe pain, injury, and destruction for self-serving purposes and that the human rights corpus, developed in response, was designed to outlaw all practices of arbitrary force. He contends that while there must be an accountable human rights standard, it should guarantee latitude for the expression and practice of beliefs, consistent with outlawing arbitrary force. Little details the theoretical grounds of the relationship between religion and human rights, and concludes with essays on US policy and the restraint of force in regard to terrorism. With a foreword by John Kelsay, this book is a capstone of the work of this influential writer on religion, philosophy, and law.

    • Offers an overview of the historical settings and origins in which human rights appeared
    • Examines the theoretical grounds for belief in human rights, with special attention to the natural rights tradition as articulated by both secular and religious thinkers, and to the bearing of contemporary secular philosophy on the grounds of human rights
    • Discusses the application of human rights in law and policy, with special regard to the tensions between the right to free exercise of religion and conscience
    • Shows the history of rights in relation to the development of the modern state and the restraint of force in modern policy settings (response to terrorism on the part of the Bush and Obama administrations, a retrospective on Vietnam, and Obama's policies regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan)
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107420977
    • length: 420 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments
    Foreword John Kelsay
    Introduction
    Part I. In Defense of Rights:
    1. Ground to stand on
    2. Critical reflections on The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History by Samuel Moyn
    Part II. Religion and Rights:
    3. Religion, human rights, and the secular state
    4. Religion, human rights, and public reason: protecting the freedom of religion or belief
    5. Rethinking tolerance: a human rights approach
    6. A bang or a whimper?: Assessing some recent challenges to religious freedom in the United States
    7. Religion and human rights: a personal testament
    Part III. Religion and the History of Rights:
    8. Religion, peace, and the origins of nationalism
    9. Roger Williams and the Puritan background of the establishment clause
    Part IV. Public Policy and the Restraint of Force:
    10. Terrorism, public emergency, and international order
    11. The academic in times of war
    12. Obama and Niebuhr: religion and American foreign policy
    Afterword: ethics, religion, and human consciousness: further reflections on a 'two-tiered' or 'bifocal' approach to justification
    Appendix. Ethics and scholarship
    Index.

  • Author

    David Little, Berkley Center of Religion, Peace, and International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    David Little is a Research Fellow at the Berkley Center of Religion, Peace, and International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington DC. He retired in 2009 as Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard Divinity School and as an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, Massachusetts. He was a member of the US State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad from 1996 to 1998.

    Contributors

    John Kelsay

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