RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
To many observers of contemporary world politics, the relation between religion and human rights appears to be fundamentally antagonistic. As challenges to religious tolerance have persisted and religious tensions have increased in the world in recent years, it has become harder for any but the most idealistic to sustain without significant qualifications an alternative vision of religion as primarily an ethical inspiration and an energizing force in human rights thinking and practice. That vision, frequently evoked in the decades following the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was based on an underlying confidence that, despite cultural differences and ethnic and religious tensions, there might be found in the world's religions some common denominator of respect for human dignity and a shared commitment to the wellbeing of all human beings. While such a confidence has not altogether disappeared from recent discussions, it has come to be jostled, and all but crowded out, by a variety of views, spanning the political spectrum, that emphasize the potency of cultural differences over common values and the prevalence of conflict over consensus.
One of the stronger statements of what might be called the "conflict model" is found in Samuel P. Huntington's provocative essay, "The Clash of Civilizations?" published in the Summer 1993 issue of Foreign Affairs. Huntington argues powerfully that in the coming century, "The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics" and that the prime mover behind the