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5 Religion and Human Rights with Special Reference to Judaism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes three dilemmas for the citizen, for secular government, and for the religious authorities: (1) the citizen wants to do right by Caesar and by God, but Caesar and God's representatives may issue conflicting orders; (2) secular government, which by definition rejects claims to infallible knowledge of God's will, must oppose the claim of any religious authority to impose its norms on the public at large; and (3) the religious authorities, because they lay claim to special knowledge of right and wrong, seek to control the behaviour of their adherents. The chapter illustrates the dilemmas with reference to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The author draws religious material from the Jewish tradition; but almost everything what is said is equally applicable within other religious traditions. It is clear that there are areas in which religious demands conflict with universal human rights.

Keywords: Judaism; religious authority; secular government; UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

10.1163/ej.9789004152540.i-273.24
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004152540.i-273.24
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