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11 Triumphalism and Respect for Diversity

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Chapter Summary

Religion and human rights have plenty of similarities. This chapter first describes some of the similarities, then draws attention to some of the tensions between the two, and finally addresses, in the context of those tensions, some of the points that have been raised. According to the author, there is in human rights, as there is in religion, a slightly universalist triumphalism. The point is that there are indeed, at certain levels of generality, elements of cultural imperialism here. Human rights in the post-modern era tries to say: 'Let's focus on personal flourishing, on personal growth, on personal development in the private sphere. That may involve sexual orientation being fully reflected in practices. It may involve degrees of departure from the prevailing norm. It does not have to do so, there is no compulsion about it, but the human rights agenda does require respect for difference.

Keywords: diversity; human rights; religion; triumphalism

10.1163/ej.9789004152540.i-273.59
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