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Religion, law, and human rights

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Chapter Summary

This chapter briefly examines from a social constructionist perspective the development of the concept of human rights, focusing specifically on the evolution of the relatively new right of religious freedom. The social construction of religious freedom is delineated, building on the author's recent related work, and other writings on the topic of the religious freedom of minority and new religions such as that by Phillip Lucas. Lucas then discusses the internationalization of the anti-cult movement, using modern means of communication and travel to spread the message that NRMs, or ‘cults and sects’, are dangerous to individuals and to society, if left unchecked. The ‘clash of civilizations’ element in Lucas’ list seems applicable, particularly for new movements associated with the Islamic tradition in the West and with Christian movements in the Islamic world.

Keywords: Christian movements; human rights; Islamic tradition; NRM; Phillip Lucas; religious freedom



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