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Representing GodChristian Legal Activism in Contemporary England$
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Méadhbh McIvor

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691193632

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691193632.001.0001

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Broken Cisterns

Broken Cisterns

(p.75) Chapter Three Broken Cisterns
Representing God

Méadhbh McIvor

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on one aspect of Britain's contemporary legal culture: the rise of rights-based discourse. It argues that by framing their cases as conflicts of rights, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) aims to undermine the universalism of human rights language. By constructing themselves as a marginalised counterpublic whose rights are frequently 'trumped', they hope to convince their fellow Britons that a society built upon the logic of competing rights cannot hope to deliver human flourishing. By contrast, only a society based on the foundational Truths of the Bible can achieve the utopian vision sought after by rights proponents. The chapter concludes that although the CLC has been successful in highlighting the inconsistency of human rights idealism, the use of rights-based claims to undermine a rights-based legal framework leaves them open to the charge that they are reinforcing the very system they hope to challenge.

Keywords:   Britain, rights-based discourse, Christian Legal Centre, human rights idealism, rights-based legal framework, conflicts of rights, marginalised counterpublic

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