Essays on Culture, Religion and Rights
Culture and religion are overlapping phenomena: cultures are normally understood to subsume religions, and religions are very often central to cultures. The two are particularly closely associated when we focus on the kinds of difference that generate issues for public policy.
The world has always been culturally and religiously diverse, but recent movements of population have intensified the internal diversity of societies. That increased diversity has presented societies with a number of pressing questions. How much should cultural differences matter? Can they and should they be treated impartially? Should they receive equal recognition and what sort of recognition might that be? Are cultural and religious differences at odds with human rights thinking or do universal human rights demand respect for those differences? When the demands of a religious faith clash with those of a society’s rules, which should take precedence? Should the religious have to endure whatever burdens their beliefs bring their way, or should they be accommodated so that their religious faith does not become a source of social disadvantage? Should they have to put up with unwelcome treatments of their beliefs or should they be protected from the offensive and the disrespectful? These are some of the many issues examined in Culture, Religion and Rights.