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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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Getting Rights ‘Right’

Getting Rights ‘Right’

(p.97) Chapter Four Getting Rights ‘Right’
Representing God

Méadhbh McIvor

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how human rights language is deployed at Christ Church. Although Christianity and human rights are sometimes genealogically linked, English law's replacement of the 'passive accommodation' of religion with the more robust 'prescriptive regulation' of a positive right to freedom of religion is experienced by some conservative Protestants as a dilution of their religious liberty. Drawing on comparative Melanesian ethnography, the chapter discusses the values of individualism and relationalism in global Christianities to argue that, for those at Christ Church, the perceived egocentrism of rights-based claims is thought to undermine the relationality necessary for a successful gospel encounter. For this reason, Christ Churchites encourage one another to forgo their rights for the sake of the gospel. This suggests that, even among those who embrace the interior, conscience-driven understanding of religion privileged by Euro-American law, there is little faith in the state's ability to protect religious liberty, with positive rights seen to privilege secular norms over Christian morality.

Keywords:   human rights, Christ Church, Christianity, English law, religious liberty, conservative Protestants, individualism, relationalism, secular norms, Christian morality

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