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Religion as a Predictor for the Support of Judicial Human Rights?

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An Empirical Study among German Youth of Different Religious Affiliation

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Human rights are the cornerstones of modern liberal democracies, but this does not mean that they can be taken for granted. Human rights need the support of the people. But how willing are people to support them? This question points to the problem of the legitimacy of human rights. This research paper focuses on judicial human rights such as freedom from torture, the rights of accused persons and the inviolability of the home. A quantitative, empirical survey was carried out among 2,244 German youth in the age group of 16 years, and this paper explores what attitudes these young German respondents have towards the rights referred to above. The assumption is that several other factors influence attitudes towards judicial rights; the paper considers human dignity, which is a constitutional right in Germany, but also religious beliefs, personality traits and society’s socio-political perception. The findings show that only two judicial rights (freedom from torture and the inviolability of the home) are positively valued by the respondents. From all predictors included in the research survey, the two strongest are sex (being female) and a low degree of authoritarianism. The comparison of religious groups shows that Muslims differ strongly from Catholics, Protestants and non-religious youth.

Affiliations: 1: University of WürzburgGermany


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