Human Dignity, Religious Freedom and Government

Historical Traditions, Philosophical Interpretations, Legal Implementation and Political Challenges

Human dignity, as the foundation concept in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the central and most fundamental reference point for an interpretation and an understanding of the modern human rights-ethos. This concept of human dignity is normative and universalistic. 

While human dignity is a central reference point for modern legal and moral systems, the notion is under intense discussion in academic as well as in political contexts. There is the notorious suspicion that human dignity is a distintictevly Western notion, articulation of the imperalistic attitude of Western philosophy and theology that functions as a legitimization of Western superiority, of imperialistic wars against the non-western world. Thus, human dignity has many legal and political implications and consequences which have to be studied scientifically by normative and empirical approaches. The right to religious freedom will form a test-case for the concept and role of human dignity in legal and political contexts.