The language and ideas of “international human rights” have become seemingly ubiquitous in modern times. Indeed, within the United States, even many prominent evangelical Christian churches and leaders have sparingly started to use the language of human rights despite earlier misgivings. While there has been important academic discussion concerning the foundational role of Christian theology for the modern human rights regime, and literature discussing the acceptance of human rights within Catholic, mainline Protestant, and even Orthodox Christian circles, gaps remain in the literature concerning the relationship between general human rights norms, language, and culture and evangelical Christian theology.
This Article suggests that evangelical Christians have a greater connection to human rights than is often acknowledged (and greater than they often acknowledge themselves). But, it ultimately appears doubtful whether modern evangelical theology is amenable to a robust and deep understanding of human rights. Nonetheless, the recent rise in the number of evangelical non-governmental organizations and the attendant rise in awareness of human rights within evangelical discourse potentially serve as signposts that the uncomfortable dance of evangelicals and the human rights movement may become slightly less awkward over the coming years.