“Human Rights in Christian Perspective”
A Seminar for the Overseas Ministry Study Center
March 5-8 2019
The idea of inherent, universal human rights, protected under international law, has come to represent the best hope of many for freedom from the suffering of injustice. Faith in human rights has given hope to historic struggles against colonial oppression and racist apartheid. The language and philosophy of human rights continue to empower movements to confront violent misogyny and xenophobia and to recognize the full humanity of ethnic and religious minorities.
Christian thought and leadership played distinctive and significant roles in the genesis and development of the idea of human rights, as well as the modern global movement to uphold these rights and freedoms. Human rights trace their origins to Christian natural law theology as well as liberal political theory, albeit with Christian origins that pre-date the Enlightenment by centuries. Although Christian theology has been invoked on both sides of pivotal struggles for justice—including struggles to overcome slavery, apartheid, and racial segregation—the Christian luminaries unanimously celebrated today are those who were moved by their faith to uphold the human rights of the oppressed.
Questions remain, however, about the relationship between Christianity and human rights today and in the future. Certain 20th Century Protestant theologians have debated whether the concept of “rights” is an appropriate idea for Christians to embrace. Various Christian traditions have reached diverse conclusions to questions of women’s human rights. Christian and post-colonial critiques challenge the human rights movement from their differing perspectives. Rising religious nationalism is a global force that resists realization of human rights.
Amidst this complex landscape, what can be said about the special relationship between Christian faith and human rights? Exploring this subject from theological, spiritual, historical, and legal perspectives, we will think together about what this relationship has been, what it is today, and what hopes we might have for this relationship tomorrow and beyond.
The cost for nonresidents is $150.
Visit the Overseas Ministry Study Center Website here for the complete schedule.