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From religious freedom to social justice: the human rights engagement of the ecumenical movement from the 1940s to the 1970s

Bouwman, Bastiaan (2018) From religious freedom to social justice: the human rights engagement of the ecumenical movement from the 1940s to the 1970s. Journal of Global History, 13 (2). pp. 252-273. ISSN 1740-0228

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S1740022818000074

Abstract

This article contributes to the historiography on human rights and (religious) internationalism by tracing how the ecumenical movement in the post-war decades sought to protect the religious freedom of its co-religionists in Catholic and Muslim countries, specifically Italy, Nigeria, and Indonesia. In co-operation with local actors, the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs sought to anchor international human rights in the domestic sphere through constitutional provisions. These activities constituted a significant strand of Christian human rights engagement from the 1940s to the 1960s, which intersected with the Cold War and decolonisation. The article then contrasts this with the turn to a more pluralistic and communitarian conception of human rights in the 1970s, animated by liberation theologies. As the World Council of Churches embraced a ‘revolutionary’ tradition and worked to resist military dictatorships, racism, and global inequality, it gravitated towards Marxism-inflected and anticolonial strands of human rights discourse.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of...
Additional Information: © 2018 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: International History
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Sets: Departments > International History
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2018 13:47
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 20:52
Funders: Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, VSBfonds, Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship, Department of International History of the London School of Economics and Political Science
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/87681

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