AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Group rights in practice: The case of orthodox Protestants in Opheusden, the Netherlands

by D.A.W. Eggen

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2015
Keywords: individual rights; group rights; orthodox Protestant; religion; liberal democracy; multiculturalism; the Netherlands
Record ID: 1260811
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/312060


Group claims made by religious groups are nowadays topic of considerable controversy in many Western liberal democracies. The fear that certain religious denominations are incompatible with Western values and liberal democracy has led to an intense debate in both the public and political sphere. At the core of this there seems to be a crisis of values where freedom of religion, defended by religious groups and crystalized in religious group rights, is in conflict with individual rights like individual equality and the freedom of speech. In the Netherlands state support for religious pluralism has since long given group rights to religious groups. Among them are the orthodox Protestants, a native Christian denomination who adhere to a strict, absolute and universal interpretation of the Bible. As such they are a highly interesting case for the study of the relation between individual and group rights. In this research a case study of the orthodox Protestant community of Opheusden, the Netherlands, was undertaken. In what ways do individual and group rights relate in the case of orthodox Protestants in Opheusden? Do group rights strengthen or undermine the individual rights of both group and out-group members? The findings of this research show a mixed image and present different ways in which groups rights can both strengthen as well as undermine individual rights. Highlighting the importance of understanding how individual and group rights relate, as well as a thorough understanding of those involved, when granting group rights to religious groups.