Taking God Seriously: Why Religion Is Essential to the Defense of Religious Human Rights

Kristine Kalanges, Notre Dame Law School


The immediate challenge is to transform the “difficult choice” between religious liberty as a universal human right and peaceful coexistence of diverse legal political cultures. The development of a world legal tradition is an important component of that transformation. World legal tradition emphasizes the comparative moral and historical bases of law in the subject spheres of study. Its integrative jurisprudence necessitates consideration of the contributions made by religion, politics, and historical circumstance to the evolution of law. While the elements of a world legal tradition are to be found in the intellectual and institutional resources of the Western and Islamic worlds, the emergence of such a tradition is not inevitable. Cultivating sustainable pluralism, while protecting religious human rights, will require a theological jurisprudence rooted in love of God and love of neighbor and informed by reason.