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Does Religion support or limit Human Rights?

Religion has held back human rights

Its values protect minorities

 Getty: Omar Havana / Stringer

Particularly in Africa, religious beliefs and groups have led to the deterioration of human rights, asserts Achieng Maureen Akena of Open Democracy. Introduced in colonial times, they have maintained archaic views that have hurt groups, such as women or homosexuals. Religion has contributed to the marginalization and oppression of minority groups. It can be linked to Ugandan legislation that, at one point, made homosexuality an act punishable by death. Human rights groups understand that education, not religion, is needed to further equality. Religion has contributed to antiquated views, violence and inequality.

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Human rights and religious values are inherently intertwined, suggests Dr. Rowan Williams in Archbishop of Canterbury. Religion inherently transcends boundaries, such as skin color, sex or ethnicity. It can offer a source of communal solidarity that unites societies like few factors can. The pursuit of Christian values, such as compassion and respect for one another, support human rights. Equality is essential in religion, which can champion it in a universal way beyond cultural barriers. Religion decries the kind of violence that doesn’t respect human rights, providing an outlet for frustration and condemnation of crimes.

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