Special Issue "Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Ziebertz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Theology, University of Wuerzburg, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Interests: religious studies and empirical methodology; religious education in a pluralist society; tensions between religion and modernity, religion and human rights and religion and democratic citizenship

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human rights law is supposed to direct all social forces towards enhancement of the autonomy and equality of all citizens. Human rights law cannot function as a strictly neutral umpire or even impartial authority, but needs the support of various forces in civil society. These forces are called upon to prevent the subordination of human rights law to ideological interests and to improve its interpretation and application in order to promote the principles of human dignity, freedom and equality.

Religions are influential social forces in many societies. Like human rights, they have a universal concept of a just and good life. All religions claim that the ethical aspirations and moral duties they share contribute to the well-being and welfare of individual human beings, groups and communities. This applies particularly to the golden rule, which plays an important role in all religions, namely that one should treat everybody as one would wish to be treated. The principle of universal reciprocity underlying this golden rule can be seen as the very basis of all human rights law. However, one could ask whether and to what extent this principle is actually observed both within and between different religions, as well as in the secular world, both within and between nation-states. More specifically, one could ask whether and to what extent religions contribute to the realisation of human rights to legislate, positivise and universalise the moral codes they espouse, or at least help to prevent and counteract the violation of human rights. The question is legitimate, because religions can be requested and even required to abide by their own ethical and moral standards.

Theoretical and empirical studies from different disciplines are welcome that reflect certain aspects of the complex relationship between religion and human rights. Authors who are interested in submitting an essay to this special issue should send a 300-word abstract of his/her/their paper to the guest editor at <[email protected]> by 31 May 2020. Final manuscripts will be due on 31 October 2020. All essays will be peer reviewed.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Ziebertz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human Rights
  • Religion
  • Law
  • human dignity
  • equality
  • universalism

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Introduction to the Special Issue: Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary
Religions 2021, 12(2), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020109 - 06 Feb 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
Human rights law is supposed to direct all social forces towards enhancement of the autonomy and equality of all citizens [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
The Romanian Orthodox Church, the European Union and the Contention on Human Rights
Religions 2021, 12(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010039 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 780
Abstract
Since the 1990s, there has been conflictual interactions between Orthodox Christian churches and human rights in South Eastern Europe, especially during the process of European integration. In this work, I shall concentrate on the case of the Romanian Orthodox Church and explore its [...] Read more.
Since the 1990s, there has been conflictual interactions between Orthodox Christian churches and human rights in South Eastern Europe, especially during the process of European integration. In this work, I shall concentrate on the case of the Romanian Orthodox Church and explore its current position towards human rights that has developed within the context of EU membership. Focusing on the influence that European integration has had on the Romanian Orthodox Church, I hypothesise a re-orientation of the latter from a position of closure and a general rejection of human rights in the direction of their partial acceptance, with this being related to its attempt to develop a European identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
Article
Attitudes toward Civil Human Rights among Italian Students of Sociology: The Effects of Religion and Theology
Religions 2020, 11(12), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120643 - 01 Dec 2020
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Connecting with and building on the research tradition established by The International Empirical Research Programmes in Religion and Human Rights, this study explores the power of two measures shaped within empirical theology (the Theology of Religions Index that distinguishes seven ways in which [...] Read more.
Connecting with and building on the research tradition established by The International Empirical Research Programmes in Religion and Human Rights, this study explores the power of two measures shaped within empirical theology (the Theology of Religions Index that distinguishes seven ways in which religions may be viewed and the New Indices of God Images that distinguishes between the God of Grace and the God of Law) to predict individual differences in attitude toward civil human rights among students of sociology under the age of thirty who had lived in Italy all their lives, after taking into account the effect of baptismal status (Catholic or not Catholic) and frequency of mass attendance. Data provided by 1046 participants demonstrated that more positive attitudes toward civil human rights are associated with being male, with not being baptised Catholic, with not attending mass, and with the God of Grace, but not with the God of Law. Five of the positions identified within the framework of the theology of religions are significant predictors of attitude toward civil human rights: the most positive attitude is associated with atheism and the least positive attitude is associated with exclusivism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
Article
Drivers of Development in a Romanian Context: An Empirical Study of the Potential Impact of Religiosity and Individual Values on Core Human Rights Relevant to the United Nations’ Agenda 2030
Religions 2020, 11(11), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11110626 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 705
Abstract
The aim of this study is to analyse the complex interplay between religiosity, individual values, and support for human rights relevant to development, in a Romanian context marked by high levels of religiosity and low levels of socioeconomic development. The study employs a [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to analyse the complex interplay between religiosity, individual values, and support for human rights relevant to development, in a Romanian context marked by high levels of religiosity and low levels of socioeconomic development. The study employs a quantitative empirical research project involving high school students (N-681) in all the capital cities of the regional development areas of Romania. The results of hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicate that some dimensions of religiosity (religious belief and faith) are positive predictors of support for socioeconomic rights, universalism, and human dignity, and thus are conducive to sustainable development attitudes and practices. However, other dimensions, such as theism, positively predict traditionalism, while negatively predicting universalism, which may indicate a lower propensity towards supporting development. Hence, it can be inferred that for this sample, religiosity has a real but limited role in supporting some human rights and individual values conducive to a culture of development relevant to the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda. Individual values such as self-direction and universalism seem to play a more important role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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Article
Perceptions of the Functions of Religion and Attitude toward Religious Freedom: Introducing the New Indices of the Functions of Religion (NIFoR)
Religions 2020, 11(10), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100507 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 576
Abstract
This article proposes, tests, and introduces the New Indices of the Functions of Religion (NIFoR) and explores their relevance for explaining individual differences in attitude toward religious freedom. The theory being tested is that openness to the principles of religious freedom is related [...] Read more.
This article proposes, tests, and introduces the New Indices of the Functions of Religion (NIFoR) and explores their relevance for explaining individual differences in attitude toward religious freedom. The theory being tested is that openness to the principles of religious freedom is related to perceptions of the functions of religion in society. A review of extant literature on the functions of religion identified eleven conceptually distinct functions. These functions were operationalised by thirty items. Drawing on data provided by 1035 students in Northern Italy, factor analysis reduced these thirty items to seven latent functions of religion. Regression analysis employing these seven latent functions demonstrated that a more positive attitude toward religious freedom was associated with conceptualising religion as primarily concerned with offering meaning and moral guidance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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Article
Religion and Socioeconomic Wellbeing—Empirical Study of the Impact of Religion on Socioeconomic Rights in the Pluralistic and Democratic Context of Tamil Nadu, India
Religions 2020, 11(9), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090454 - 05 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1109
Abstract
There is no gainsaying that in a globalized world, economic and technological development greatly determine human wellbeing. In the Indian context, the dialectics between socialist and capitalist economy, while giving way to the latter since 1991, has progressively led to the enlargement of [...] Read more.
There is no gainsaying that in a globalized world, economic and technological development greatly determine human wellbeing. In the Indian context, the dialectics between socialist and capitalist economy, while giving way to the latter since 1991, has progressively led to the enlargement of the middle class, yet widened the gap between the rich and the poor. Such a situation points to the importance of socioeconomic rights for guaranteeing human flourishing. The question that we pose is whether religions can play a significant role in favoring these human rights, given their own specific vision of human life and of its socioeconomic facets, such as work, wealth, leisure, health, and education. In other words, can personal and contextual religious attitudes and religious socialization contribute to socioeconomic wellbeing? The empirical research undertaken in the pluralistic and democratic context of Tamil Nadu, India, seeks to verify among 1215 Christian, Muslim, and Hindu students, the impact of religion on their attitude towards socioeconomic rights. The emerging results reveal that some aspects of religious attitudes and socialization have a significant impact on students’ agreement with socioeconomic rights, particularly in the case of Christians and Muslims. We conclude with a discussion on the salient findings and their implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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Article
Religion at the Margins: Resistance to Secular Humanitarianism at the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh
Religions 2020, 11(8), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080423 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
This paper joins the growing body of work on Human Rights and Religion and examines the impacts of religious practices in protecting the socioeconomic and cultural rights of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh. Based on an empirical study at eight different camps in Kutupalong, [...] Read more.
This paper joins the growing body of work on Human Rights and Religion and examines the impacts of religious practices in protecting the socioeconomic and cultural rights of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh. Based on an empirical study at eight different camps in Kutupalong, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, this article documents how the refugees, through different Islamic religious activities and practices, protect their cultural identities, negotiate with the local governing agents, and maintain solidarity with the host communities in their camp lives. This article also describes how, in these camps, many secular humanitarian projects often get challenged, resisted, or rejected by the refugees since those fail to address their networked relations with religion. Drawing from a rich body of literature in forced migrations, socioeconomic human rights, and religious studies in the Global South, this article investigates how religion and religious activities cushion the refugees from different forms of marginalization that are often engendered by secular development agencies. This article further offers several insights for practitioners and policymakers to ensure socioeconomic and cultural integration in human rights activities in refugee camps in the Global South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
Article
The Impact of Religion and National Origin on Attitudes towards Refugee Rights: An International Comparative Empirical Study
Religions 2020, 11(6), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060303 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
This paper is concerned with the rights of refugees. The refugee issue has been an acutely charged item on the political agenda for several years. Although the great waves of influx have flattened out, people are continually venturing into Europe. Europe’s handling of [...] Read more.
This paper is concerned with the rights of refugees. The refugee issue has been an acutely charged item on the political agenda for several years. Although the great waves of influx have flattened out, people are continually venturing into Europe. Europe’s handling of refugees has been subject to strong criticism, and the accusation that various actions contradict internationally agreed law is particularly serious. It remains a question of how to respond appropriately to the influx of people fearing for their lives. This paper examines empirically how young people from different denominations in Germany (n = 2022) and how Roman Catholics from 10 countries (n = 5363) evaluate refugee rights. It also investigates whether individual religiosity moderates the influence of denomination or national context. The results show that there are no significant differences between respondents from different denominations, but there are significant differences between respondents from different countries. However, religiosity was not found to moderate the influence of denomination or national context. These findings suggest that attitudes towards refugee rights depend more on the national context in which people live rather than on their religious affiliation or individual religiosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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Article
Augustine and Xunzi on Human Dignity and Human Rights: The Worth of Being Human and Its Entitlement to Institutional Measures for Protecting the Access to Human Flourishing
Religions 2020, 11(5), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050264 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 1010
Abstract
While some human rights theorists suggest that the universalistic project of human rights can be consistent only with an individualistic conception of dignity aligned with liberal regimes, there have also been some voices of discontent raised from Christian and Confucian thinkers in favor [...] Read more.
While some human rights theorists suggest that the universalistic project of human rights can be consistent only with an individualistic conception of dignity aligned with liberal regimes, there have also been some voices of discontent raised from Christian and Confucian thinkers in favor of incompatibility. I refer to the universalistic position of approaching cross-cultural human rights by focusing on Pogge’s contextualistic universalism and Joas’ universalistic emphasis on the sacredness of person. I show how it is possible to ground the religious foundation of human dignity on self-transcendence (Joas) and the institutional foundation on the capacity for the pursuit of a worthwhile life as flourishing (Pogge). This idea of dignity grounds human rights as the entitlement to institutional measures for securing the access to basic goods for human flourishing (Pogge). When reinterpreting Augustine and Xunzi in light of human dignity and human rights, I tackle two questions, following Pogge and Joas. First, I reinterpret Augustine and Xunzi by showing how human dignity rests on the relative worth of pursuing one’s flourishing distinct from animals and the absolute worth of pursuing flourishing open for self-transcendence, which also entails different ranges of social conceptions of flourishing. I also tackle how this sense of dignity leads to the entitlement to institutional measures for protecting the access to basic goods for human flourishing as the issue of human rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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