Christian Privilege?

A couple of weeks ago a facebook friend showed me this link discussing Christian Privilege. I remember the first time I heard of this concept. I had just finished doing research systematically documenting the disadvantages conservative Protestants have in academia. So when I heard of this concept I literally Laughed Out Loud. I realize that my reaction was primed by my research findings and not the most appropriate one but it was hard to take seriously claims about Christians having privilege when I had just discovered that academics are willing to discriminate against them for their religious beliefs.

However, if my reaction was not appropriate, many comments that follow the article are at least as bad. It is fair to say that a great deal of Christian-bashing characterized these comments. Having done race/ethnicity scholarship, I am quite familiar with the discussions surrounding white privilege. Those discussions were usually not opportunities for white bashing but rather were forums to discuss unknown advantages whites have. The difference in reaction is a strong clue that attempts to link Christians to the same majority group status that we do for men and whites are not empirically sound. A more nuanced discussion of the social position of Christians is needed, one that is more sophisticated than my laughter or Christian bashing.

One clarification is necessary before diving more fully into this topic. When we discuss Christian privilege, we generally are discussing the possibility of privilege for conservative Christians. In the context of the culture war, we generally envision conservative Christians as the ones at war with progressive secular individuals. Christian privilege becomes a concern since this privilege may produce an advantage for conservative Christians in the culture war. Thus as I assess the possibility of privilege, I will be looking more at conservative Christians than other subsets in the Christian population.

Looking at Christian privilege helps us to develop some nuance for such a discussion. Some of the claims of Christian privilege simply are not true. For example, the first one is, “You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.” But as a professor, I am legally required to recognize the religious holiday needs of students no matter their religious tradition. I cannot allow a Christian student to miss a test for his/her religious ceremony but force the Muslim or the Jew to take a test on his/her religious holiday. No I will not let a student named Sam take the test off for worshiping the religion of Sam, but for any established religious holiday, a student can get the day off. Neither is it accurate that “It is easy to find your faith accurately depicted in television, movies, books and other media.” I would like to know the last time a conservative Christian was portrayed in the media without the accompanying stereotypes of them being either ignorant, intolerant, or hypocritical. I have little doubt that individuals in other religions perceive themselves misrepresented by the media, but Christians have just as much right as others to have such sentiments. In my unofficial assessment claims from statements 6, 8, 15, 17, 20, 31, 32 and 33 also are not accurate or apply to other religions as well while statements 9, 11, 19, 23, 25, 26, 27, and 29 are only sporadically accurate depending often on where one lives in the United States.

But this is not to say all of the Christian privilege statements are myths. Statement 2 is “Music and television programs pertaining to your religion’s holidays are readily accessible.” Clearly it is easier to find Christmas shows than Hanukah shows on television. Statement 12 is “Politicians responsible for your governance are probably members of your faith.” It is noteworthy that all of our Presidents have claimed to be Christians, including the present one. Claiming Christian belief certainly produces political advantages. These advantages are why in the past I have argued that Christians in the United States should avoid talking about being persecuted, although discussion of religious discrimination is clearly appropriate. An accurate assessment of the concept of Christian privilege is that it does operate in some instances but in other situations there is no privilege and there even can be disadvantages in being identified as a conservative Christian.

There are critical differences in white or male privilege when compared to the concept of Christian privilege. For example, it is fairly difficult, although not impossible, to consider ways in which whites or males have disadvantages. It is not that difficult to find institutional disadvantages for Christians. In addition to their potential disadvantages in academia, it is reasonable to assert that media images of Christians, particularly conservative Christians, are not very flattering. In addition to these institutional disadvantages, whites and males have higher levels of SES and educational attainment than people of color and women. The same is not true for Christians. One of the markers of having majority group status is the systematic ability to use that status for material gain. This is clearly not the case as it concerns Christians.

Here is another way to consider the relative status of conservative Christians. A few years ago I published an article indicating that the religious group rejected the most was atheists. The group suffering from the second highest number of rejections is Christian fundamentalists. But those who rejected Christian fundamentalists are more likely to be white, well-educated and male. One way to conceptualize this is that more people reject atheists than conservative Christians but those who reject conservative Christians have more per-capita social power than those rejecting atheists. This does not mean that conservative Christians are constantly at a disadvantage in society. The fact that those with anti-atheist sentiment outnumber those with anti-Christian sentiment indicates the sort of political advantage accounting for the lack of atheists, or other types of nonChristians, in political positions. But the tradeoff of numbers versus per-capita social status does account for the disadvantages Christians have in elite educational organizations. This sort of nuance has to be taken into account as we consider the social place of Christians in the United States.

Are Christians the majority group religion in the United States? Yes, but not in the same manner that whites and males are majority group members. In certain social dimensions, we still see that Christians have advantages of prestige and respect. To be a Christian can be a card one can use to create connection and trust. But it is a huge mistake to assume that Christians have the type of institutional advantages we associate with other majority group members. The creation of the notion of Christian privilege is an attempt to link conservative Christians to the same status as whites and males. Such linking is inappropriate. It also fails to account for sophisticated ways status as a Christian differs from racial and gender status. I do not laugh like I did when I first heard of the concept of Christian Privilege. But I still perceive it misguided in its attempt to link Christian status to racism or sexism. Similar to claims that Christians are being persecuted in the United States, assertions of Christian privilege stifle a sophisticated discussion on the status of Christians in society. In a society where Christians no longer have the type of dominant status they once had, it is important to have accurate assessments of Christian status not devolving into claims of Christian privilege or persecution.

  • http://msmith13.wordpress.com/ Mark

    You seem to be trying to narrow the scope of your argument to make it appear stronger. Instead of Christians in general, you’re talking about conservative Christians, and instead of society in general, academic circles. Then with those limits in place, you claim that Christian privilege isn’t the big deal it’s made out to be. But nobody who thinks it is a big problem has the option of taking such a narrow focus, because the bias is found literally everywhere.

  • georgeyancey

    My work on cultural progressive activists clearly shows that it is conservative Christians that is the target of ire of such individuals and so paying attention to them is warranted. Nonetheless, even if we look at Christians as a group my basic arguments stands. Some of what has been called Christian privilege is quite inaccurate but Christians do have advantages in society. A nuanced investigation is needed.

  • Donnie McLeod

    I differentiate Christian conservatives and conservative Christians. Christian conservatives are a threat to society. They sustain their faith by spreading fear, ignorance and want.

    • georgeyancey

      Hmmmmm. What do you mean a threat? If you mean that they want a society different than the one you want I understand but then people who disagree with you will see you as a threat as well. If you mean that they are violent or seek a theocracy then I fail to see evidence of this. People generally see those who disagree with them in the worst possible light but reality is almost always not that dire.

      • Donnie McLeod

        “Rick Joyner claimed the only way to save America from tyranny was with a military takeover and the implementation of martial law.”
        Dr. Robert Hare writes that every where among us are “Snakes in Suits, When Psychopaths Go to Work”. 1 in every 100 are born without any guilt about lying for God. Manipulating those who prefer to default to our system 1 thinking processs. pyscopaths who Without any remorse will impose God’s will on those of us who use our system 2 thinking processes. System 2 the essance of inquiry, reason, securalism and atheism. Ref. “Thinking, Fast and Slow”

        • georgeyancey

          Who is Joyner and Hare. I never heard of them before. Some gay rights activist a few weeks ago said that the aim of such activist should be the end of marriage as an institution. Should I take her word and assume that this is the motivation of SSM advocates? Finding an outlier or two is not very convincing.

          • Donnie McLeod

            One percent of any population are psychopaths. Psychopaths are repelled by liberalism. They find inquiry and reason harder to deal with than those who hold on to blind believe. Psychopaths have an natural affinity to authoritarians especially Christian conservatives. So while psychopaths represent 1% of any general population they represent 3% to 10% of leadership of Christian conservative organizations.

          • georgeyancey

            Where are you getting your numbers and what study says that liberals cannot be psychopaths. Provide me some data or else you are just talking out of your, well you know what you are talking out of.

          • Donnie McLeod

            I confused you. A liberal could be a psychopath. But it is less likely than the general population. So to find a psychopath in a crowd of liberals you need to have randomly selected 300 liberals.

          • georgeyancey

            Once again where do you get this info. Is this something you are making up or do you have any data on ratio of psychopaths per liberal/conservative?

          • Donnie McLeod

            All theories start with a proposition.

          • georgeyancey

            Theories need data or they are just arguments. And without any data I am unconvinced of those arguments. Let me know when you have some data.

          • Donnie McLeod

            As my proposition turns into my theory you will know.

    • Grotoff

      It would be more precise to say Dominionists. Many people with Dominionist beliefs may not use the label, but it helps to differentiate the actual dangerous crazies from people who just happen to value individualism over community welfare.

      • Donnie McLeod

        I prefer being imprecise. I will reuse your comment “value individualism over community welfare”. It opens up the mistaken believes that our species can confront the tiger alone. Search “confronting the tiger” “small unit cohesion”

    • up2herewithyall

      An adult who calls himself “Donnie” is hard to take seriously, LOL.

      • Donnie McLeod

        I used to worry about unimportant things like that. I suggest you read about “The 5 Regrets of the Dying” and “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Some of my friends call me Don some call me Donnie you can call me Donald.

  • RustbeltRick

    “Media images of conservative Christians are not very flattering.” Conservative Christians have every opportunity to shape their image in positive ways, but often choose not to. If your public image is continually linked to cutting food stamps, taking a hard line against immigrants, being offended on a monthly basis by Miley Cyrus-50 Shades of Grey-Modern Family-Dan Brown-rap music-most of pop culture, despising the President, and being angry about who is allowed to get married, it’s hard to turn around and ask the media to present you in glowing, positive terms. There’s a reason why Tom Hanks is considered likable, and Sean Penn is not. Your actions and attitudes can shape much of the coverage you receive, and this is true of individuals as well as subcultures.

    • georgeyancey

      The media can play on the stereotypes you just put out or it can try to respect groups. There are plenty of stereotypes of muslims or atheists that the media is careful not to put out there. Or if they do at least they also show these individuals in a positive light from time to time. The fact that you rattle off the stereotypes of conservative Christians so easily indicates just how little there is an advantage for Christians in the media and that makes my case that there is no Christian privilege beginning described with that statement. Thanks for making my point for me.

      • Sven2547

        There are plenty of stereotypes of muslims or atheists that the media is careful not to put out there. Or if they do at least they also show these individuals in a positive light from time to time.

        Are you implying that the media refuses to ever portray conservative Christians in a positive light? Come on now.

        • georgeyancey

          Name the last time that happened.

          • Sven2547

            You’ve got conservative Christian commentators on every cable news outlet (hosts and regular guests alike), to say nothing of the absolute domination of talk radio.

            I went and saw Riddick a couple weeks ago. Fun movie. Very violent, not very intellectual. There’s a conservative Christian character who is portrayed rather sympathetically. (Spoilers, he’s also one of the four survivors at the end of the film, along with the hero, the hot chick, and the Merc captain who is initially-antagonistic-but-really-is-a-good-guy.)

          • georgeyancey

            Talk radio is not portraying a character and so that is not relevant to the discussion. You can find a talk show host for any point of view. Have not seen the latest Riddiock so I have to take your word for it. I will say that they had a holy man portrayed sympathetically in the other Riddock movies but he was not a conservative Christian. In the second Riddock movie the villains symbolized religious fundamentalist and I interpreted it as a shot at conservative Christians (My wife is an English teacher so I have learned more about symbolism) so if this person is portrayed sympathetically and is a conservative Christian then it goes against the theme of the last movie.

          • Sven2547

            You serious? The death cult of the Necromongers (the 2nd movie’s antagonists) are so freakishly different from Christianity (both real Christianity and Hollywood’s portrayals thereof) I fail to see how you drew that conclusion.

          • georgeyancey

            Convert or die motive is just what a lot of progressives think of Christians. Kinda like the Borg in Star Trek. OK. That is enough nerdism but you see my point. If not conservative Christians then who are they suppose to represent.

          • Sven2547

            Who says they’re supposed to “represent” anyone? The Riddick movies aren’t exactly deep allegories.

            I always thought the Borg were more like sci fi zombies than a religious crusade, although they changed it up by adding the “borg queen” character

          • georgeyancey

            I am married to an English teacher. I have to think in those ways now. lol.

          • Sven2547

            Talk radio is not portraying a character and so that is not relevant to the discussion.

            Nowhere in your comment did you specify anything about fictional characters. You talked about stereotypes and positive/negative portrayals of these people.

          • georgeyancey

            The reason why media personal do not matter is because they basically only speak to those that agree with them. Looking at movies, TV shows and such goes to a larger audience. It does not have to be a fictional character as a sympathetic documentary would suffice. But just having some talk show person with his/he point of view will not have a wide ranging impact.

      • RustbeltRick

        I don’t know that I rattled off stereotypes so much as repeated the ignorant comments that my evangelical acquaintances (actual people who attended Christian college with me) regularly post to Facebook. I can find real flesh-and-blood evangelicals who think food stamps are the devil’s work if you think I’m presenting some kind of caricature. Also, I didn’t comment on the issue of Christian privilege at all; my comments were directed to public image, and how that is treated as some kind of conspiracy. As someone who has worked in the fields of PR and journalism, I can tell you that referring to “the media” as a monolith is rather silly (as though Reporter Jane will cover the story exactly like Reporter Bob, under orders from some global cabal). I suppose I agree with conservatives that you are responsible for your own life, including owning negative consequences. If you want good PR, then earn it. If the media changes course and starts running stories on how Bono is a “silly Christian,” then I’ll buy the idea that they’re all out to get people of faith, no matter what.

        • georgeyancey

          I just did a study of cultural progressive activists many of which said a number of stupid things such as Christians are trying to burn my at the stake, we should feed Christians to lions and we should not allow Christians to socialize their children. Any large group will have some people who will say stupid things. If you use your criteria then all of them should be slammed equally hard by the media.

          • RustbeltRick

            Stupid people (from any subgroup) are publicly slammed the moment they open their mouths. See The Soup, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, and all of YouTube.

          • georgeyancey

            So we should not judge and stereotype a group because of a few stupid comments. I think that should be true whether or not we are talking about conservative Christians. I fail to see how that is controversial.

          • RustbeltRick

            And my point is that bad press is typically self-inflicted. If the best-selling book among conservatives right now is a conspiracy tract by Glen Beck, don’t act surprised when you are collectively treated a little less respectfully than brain surgeons.

          • georgeyancey

            Is that the best selling book among Conservative Christians? I think not. Your merging of conservative Christians with very far right wing politics is a common stereotype that individuals like to play upon.

          • RustbeltRick

            My suggestion that conservative Christians tend to lean to the political right is no more absurd or innacurate than suggesting San Franciscans tend to vote Democrat. If you’re making the contrary assertion that Christian conservatives don’t lean right, good luck finding data to support that.

          • georgeyancey

            Depends on what you mean by lean. Remember that there are plenty of minority conservative Christians who vote for democrats and quite a few political progressives and moderates who are theologically conservative. If you mean that it is more likely that a conservative Christian will vote for a Republican then the data supports you but you seem to think that it is a politically monolithic group and there the data will not support you.

    • Funsize

      Actually, Conservatives have nothing against immigrants, it’s ILLEGAL immigrants they take a stand against.

  • Sven2547

    Are Christians the majority group religion in the United States? Yes, but not in the same manner that whites and males are majority group members.

    The US is 78.5% Christian, 72.4% “white”, and 49.2% male.
    It’s even more stark in government: more than 86% of Congress is composed of Christians.

    • georgeyancey

      You are not understanding the concept of majority group as social scientists use the term. It means disproportional power. And yes there are ways Christian have such power but there are key ways they do not have real majority status as I discussed above. This type of nuanced understanding is the main point of the blog.

      • Sven2547

        It means disproportional power.

        Thus my statistic about Congress, which you also discussed briefly in your posting. You seem intent on downplaying what is, let’s be clear, the complete and utter supremacy of Christians within American government and focusing on academia instead. That’s your “nuance”, ‘don’t look at that, look at this!’

        Let’s look at real power, here: Same-sex marriage is banned in most of the US for no reason other than ‘because conservative Christians don’t like it’. Presidential candidates almost always attend the Pastor’s forum and suck up to Evangelicals (imagine Presidential candidates discussing secular issues?) The media has given conservative Christians the label “values voters”, as if non-conservative and non-Christian voters somehow don’t vote based on values. Every argument about teacher-led prayer in public schools is invariably regarding Christian prayer, because that is a privilege Christians believe they should have (other religious can sod off).

        • georgeyancey

          My nuance is that Christians do have power in certain segments but not in other ones. Look. I admitted in the blog that Christians are overrepresented in the government. There is no great gotta here. I think you are overplaying the degree of political power they have but I am not arguing that they are well represented there. But I also pointed out, which is not refuted that Christians have less power in academia. This notion that Christians have this all powerful influence is nonsense. There are plenty of avenues where Christians have less power than other groups and I have pointed out a prominent one in academia. As far as teacher-led prayer that is red herring since such prayer is illegal so it is not an example of Christian power.

          • Brian Westley

            As far as teacher-led prayer that is red herring since such prayer is illegal so it is not an example of Christian power.

            It certainly is when it repeatedly happens decades after it has been declared illegal, and many school administrators and much of the general public OPENLY APPROVE of breaking the law and imposing Christian prayer in public schools.

            When Christians can IGNORE the law with vast public approval, that is an example of a HUGE amount of Christian power.

            “I pray that one day we may live in an America where Christians can worship freely! In broad daylight! Openly wearing the symbols of their religion… perhaps around their necks? And maybe — dare I dream it? — maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or, perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.”
            – Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

          • georgeyancey

            And when they ignore the law they get sued. Every hear of the ACLU? And I am not talking about decades ago I am talking about today.

          • Brian Westley

            And when they ignore the law they get sued.

            Of course they do. But being able to ignore the law, sometimes for years, shows Christian privilege.

            Every hear of the ACLU? And I am not talking about decades ago I am talking about today.

            I’m talking about today TOO. Didn’t you bother to read what I wrote? Christians, today, blatantly violate the law by STILL having Christian prayers in public schools, and the ACLU has to keep suing them because massive Christian privilege allows a great many school officials to ignore the law.

            Why don’t you ever hear of the ACLU suing to stop Jewish prayers in public schools, or Muslim prayers, or any other kinds of prayers? Because they never happen, because only Christians have enough social privilege to get away with breaking the law like that.

            You can’t even see Christian privilege when it’s pointed out to you.

          • georgeyancey

            My wife is a high school teacher. Trust me when I tell you that Christians are not going around praying up a storm. they are fearful of the ACLU. I think you do not appreciate the type of social climate that is there right now because of the ACLU. You really are referring to an earlier time in our history. And while we do not hear stories about lawsuits on Muslim prayers there are stories about textbooks that ignore Christianity but praise Islam and other religions. So things are not as black and white as you make them out to be.

          • Brian Westley

            My wife is a high school teacher. Trust me when I tell you that Christians are not going around praying up a storm

            Ah, so ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE shows that it isn’t happening anywhere?

            http://www.christianpost.com/news/prayer-at-football-games-warning-issued-by-aclu-to-tenn-schools-106136/

            http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/26/kansas-school-board-votes-to-allow-student-led-prayer-over-school-intercom/

            http://www.nbc12.com/story/23617555/prayer-event-takes-place-at-all-richmond-public-schools

            http://coladaily.com/2013/09/25/lexington-richland-five-remains-in-negotiations-over-school-prayer-suit/

            PS: This just in from Hemant at Friendly Atheist on Patheos — Christian privilege in action (check all the links):
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/10/09/why-was-a-pastor-invited-to-this-public-schools-911-memorial-ceremony/

            These are all within the last three weeks..

            they are fearful of the ACLU. I think you do not appreciate the type of social climate that is there right now because of the ACLU.

            The ACLU sues when people break the law.

            You really are referring to an earlier time in our history.

            You are in denial.

          • georgeyancey

            I thought you were talking about teachers praying in class. But since you want to trade inequalities then take a look at Prentice Hall World History which devotes 36 pages to Islam Koran but not a single bible verse. But you are correct in that there is overwhelming Christian oppression in the schools. Look. All I am saying is let’s be more sophisticated about this. There are Christian advantages and Christian disadvantages. Let’s try to account for both.

          • Brian Westley

            I thought you were talking about teachers praying in class.

            That happens too. My cites included a coach praying with the athletes, which is the same issue.

            But since you want to trade inequalities then take a look at Prentice Hall World History which devotes 36 pages to Islam Koran but not a single bible verse.

            Oh, not this idiotic rightwing paranoia. If you dug into the actual course, you’d find that Christianity and Judaism were covered in 6th grade, and this is a 9th grade book that covers other religions.

            All I am saying is let’s be more sophisticated about this. There are Christian advantages and Christian disadvantages. Let’s try to account for both.

            You seem pretty oblivious to a lot of Christian privilege. It’s overwhelming in this country to the point where a lot of Christians actively complain if the playing field is made equal.

          • georgeyancey

            You act as if that is the only textbook. We can look at other History book. In History Alive Muslims get a whole chapter tell about their wonderful heritage. Great. No problem for me. What do Christian receive. The following paragraph.

            An analysis from a Christian (since you want to use atheist to look up cites for you do not go yelling bias when I use a Christian for info) can be found at http://christthetao.blogspot.com/2013/09/history-alive-pro-muslim-anti-christian.html

            “The Christian religion is one of the most important legacies of ancient Rome. Christians are followers of Jesus Christ,
            who was put to death on a Roman cross in the first century C. E. Christians believe that Christ was the son of God, that God sent him to Earth to save people from their sins, and that he rose from the dead after his crucifixion.”

            If you want to play the victim Olympics tell me what happens if a teacher talks about Muslims as “ragheads” and tell me what happens if the teacher talks about Christians as “bible thumpers”. And do not tell me that teachers do not do that as that happened when I was a student.

            Since you want to play the victim Olympics tell you what.. Christian professors no longer have to deal with religious discrimination is worst than hearing a prayer over the intercom. I will listen to many Muslim prayers so that I can have a job.

            Now we can do this but I do not want to. I actually have a pretty moderate position. My position is that there are advantages and disadvantages to being a Christian in our society. If you want to discuss Christian privilege then there is merit in such a discussion. But it has to be in context of a holistic examination and not a Christian bashing examination. If you wish to dismiss the concerns of Christians that is your right. But then why be surprised when your concerns are dismissed as well.

          • Brian Westley

            You act as if that is the only textbook.

            No, actually it was YOU who acted that way.

            If you want to play the victim Olympics tell me what happens if a teacher talks about Muslims as “ragheads” and tell me what happens if the teacher talks about Christians as “bible thumpers”.

            I don’t know — what happens? Real-life examples only, please.

            In the meantime, find me seven state constitutions that prohibit Christians (or Muslims) to hold public office, and find a recent case where the governor tried to enforce it and spent $300,000 and eight years in court to try and stop one Christian (or Muslim) from getting that public office. All of the above is true for atheists.

            Since you want to play the victim Olympics tell you what.. Christian professors no longer have to deal with religious discrimination is worst than hearing a prayer over the intercom.

            What am I traded for atheists not having to deal with religious discrimination in child custody cases?

            My position is that there are advantages and disadvantages to being a Christian in our society.

            You certainly didn’t write your article that way; you found it ridiculous that anyone would say Christian privilege even existed, and your initial reaction to examples of such privilege are to deny they exist.

          • georgeyancey

            Read the blog. I pointed out that there were situations where Christians had an advantage. But I did look for excesses of Christian privilege as well. Perhaps child custody cases are an area where being a Christian is an advantage. That is not in my area of expertise. But they certainly do not have advantages in education and probably not in the media. Those are two important areas to be concerned about. As far as a real life example of Chrsitian students being subject to abuse of their religions – http://www2.ocregister.com/articles/corbett-selna-farnan-2568223-judge-case

          • Brian Westley

            Read the blog. I pointed out that there were situations where Christians had an advantage.

            You also laughed at the concept of Christian privilege, as if it was nonexistent.

          • georgeyancey

            If you scrolled down you will see that I went on to realize it was the wrong response and talked about taking a balanced approach to this subject. Have you not read the entire blog. Really if you are going to make good responses to me you should do so. That way you can at least argue against what I actually say and not just the first few lines of the blog.

          • Andrew G.

            One case that occurred 6 years ago? When the FFRF alone deals with something over a hundred cases a year of school-sponsored promotion of Christianity?

            Compare your example with that of, say, Jessica Ahlquist, who had to have a police escort in school and was publicly vilified by the state representative of her district (who called her an “evil little thing”).

          • georgeyancey

            Never heard of that case. Got a reliable link. In my research I systematically show the academic prejudice against conservative Christians. The link is in response to Brian’s call that I show that such defaming does occur. I have sit in class when Christians were defamed, just not to the level when a lawsuit was required. But if our standard is that we cannot claim problems unless there is systematic evidence then Brian’s few examples fail that test as well.

          • Andrew G.

            Christian Post article on the case

            Cranston Patch article on one of the threats Jessica received

            Jessica’s Wikipedia page

            Brian’s “few examples” were just a handful of cases from a very long list; you can easily find a hundred more, ranging from church displays on school property to teachers or coaches leading prayers to graduations held in churches or with ministers leading prayers to religious homework assignments… the list goes on.

            Also, I find it telling that in the example you picked, the teacher was disparaging creationism not Christianity. How far can religion protect clearly nonsensical beliefs from criticism?

          • georgeyancey

            In that case the teacher attacked Christians and creationism. The teacher mention putting “Jesus googles” on. I can find plenty of examples if I use Christian organizations. I have found that in the past people blow off those examples saying that my source is bias. Let me know if you want examples from this “biased” source. But of course if you are using FFRF then are you not also using a biased source?

          • Andrew G.

            The trial court threw out the “Jesus goggles” quote (and 20 others, some of which had been deceptively edited in the complaint in order to slant them, for example by removing pro-Christian material – there are examples in the court papers).

            This of course shows the problem with relying on Christian sources for such things. Even the Christian Post article I linked above contains an interesting demonstration of bias, did you spot it? (The un-evidenced and false accusation from the state representative that Jessica was being coerced, when in fact she had spoken out against the prayer display entirely on her own initiative, was not merely unchallenged in the body of the article but was elevated to a sub-headline)

            Several recent cases illustrate the extent to which the actual events are distorted in complaints of Christian persecution. Notable examples are the “tread on Jesus” case at FAU, and the “rainbow ribbon” assignment case in Tennessee; compare the facts and the initial reports in both. Suspicion about the factual accuracy of Christian sources in such cases is therefore wholly justified by past experience.

          • georgeyancey

            So we should rely on FFRF as unbiased but not Christian sources. Exactly the approach I thought you would take. Look. I will make it simple for you. We should not rely on either as unbiased nor should we rely on a single case. So we can throw out the Corbett and Ahlquiest cases as proof of systematic bias (although your argument about Jesus google is unconvincing. Even if the judge did not see it as religious bias how should a Christian kid interpret that. If you do not want Christianity preached by Christian teachers then Christian students have the right not to have their religion denigrated by non-Christian teachers). What we can do is see if there is systematic evidence of bias. My research (see link in blog) demonstrated empirically that scholars openly state that they are less likely to hire someone if they are a conservative Christian. From where I sit that is religious discrimination and it is not aimed at atheists, Jews or Muslims. It is aimed at Christians. There is not systematic evidence of discrimination against these individuals in academic settings. I would be curious to know if you have any systematic evidence of this occurring in our high schools or junior high schools. Without that systematic evidence then using a single case or using the postings of an organization with an agenda is antidotal. On my side I have systematic evidence. Would you care to provide systematic empirical evidence to prove your point?

          • Andrew G.

            I referred to the FFRF because they have a long list of cases on their website which follow this general pattern:

            “We received a report that [state agency] was engaged in [illegal religious activity]; our legal staff wrote them a letter explaining the problem with this, and they agreed to stop.”

            I’m pretty sure that the majority of these cases never received any press attention, because in most cases (where the responsible official is actually trying to do their job rather than make a religious point) there is no benefit to anyone from making a public fuss.

            Given the number of cases involved, this goes well beyond mere anecdote. It is true that I am not currently aware of any survey statistics in this area – though I’m not sure how one would collect them reliably.

            If you think the FFRF is biased on account of being an atheist organization, then why not look instead at the corresponding case lists from AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) which is not an atheist organization – its executive director is an ordained Christian minister.

          • georgeyancey

            You miss the point. It is not the atheism it is the vested interest. I get it that you do not trust Christian sources. But I have no reason to trust groups that oppose conservative Christians any more than you do. If you believe that groups like AU, PAW or FFRF are any less likely to not spin information or leave out information that makes their position look bad then that smacks of confirmation bias. I am not going to draw a conclusion by listening to only one set of interest groups. Trust me that groups such as the ACLJ and Alliance Defending Freedom can put together a list of grievances that match what FFRF can put together. That is why before stating that something is widespread problem we do not rely on reporting from interest groups. Scientific studies can be examined for weaknesses and future work can support or refute previous findings. That is the only way to get out of dueling lists of complaints. If you have research I can be convinced that prejudice against non-Christians in academia is as bad or worse than prejudice against Christians. But I have done the research in this area and as it concerns higher education that simply is not the case. My research is systematic but even other research establishes the fact that conservative Christians can be systematically mistreated in academia is ways that escape atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc.

          • Sven2547

            And when they ignore the law they get sued. Every hear of the ACLU?

            You mean the ACLU that is routinely maligned and hated by Christian conservatives far and wide, precisely for upholding the law?

          • georgeyancey

            And the ACLJ is routinely maligned and hated by progressives for upholding laws for religious freedom. You point is?

          • Sven2547

            Are you joking?
            Go to Townhall or Redstate or The Blaze or Drudge or any other right-wing outlet and they’ll tell you the ACLU is a pack of anti-Christian liberals.
            Go to MoveOn or ThinkProgress or CrooksAndLiars or DailyKos and they’ll tell you the ACLU is a fair organization that defends equal rights for everybody. I’ve not heard the ACLU maligned by any significant left-wing outfit.

            The ACLU fights mandatory school prayer despite the best efforts of Evangelicals.

          • Brian Westley

            I think you misread ACLJ, Sven.

            However, it’s easy to show that the ACLJ hardly ever defends non-Christians. They do not support religious freedom and often defend outright Christian privilege.

          • Sven2547

            AHH my bad, I thought it was a typo. I hadn’t heard of the ACLJ before.

            Have the ACLJ ever ONCE represented non-Christians in a suit against Christians? If not, then acting like they’re some kind of equal counterpart to the ACLU is absurd.

          • txvoodoo

            You’re a Texas educator, and you don’t know about this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/03/court-lifts-prayer-ban-at_n_871194.html – really?

            Privilege – it’s an amazing thing.

          • georgeyancey

            The topic was on teacher led prayer. Please try to keep up if you want to be snarky.

      • txvoodoo

        This is the point that I was going to make: your false equivalency with majority and privilege.

        One need not be in the majority to have privilege. Conversely, the majority does not always have disproportionate power. One only has to examine the population stats of the US to realize this – women are in the majority, but surely no one could argue that they, as a class, have privilege over men.

        I think you’re demonstrating a basic misunderstanding of the term.

        • georgeyancey

          I am fully aware of the concept of disproportionate power. Never have I said that privilege was connected to larger numbers. It is always about power. Thus Christians have majority power in some situations but not others. It is in those others where they do not have privilege and actually are the victims of the privilege of others. How is anything I said a misunderstanding of that argument. You seem to have difficulty accurately portraying what I actually said and such strawman arguments are very unconvincing.

          • txvoodoo

            You know, I heard you on KERA Think. I listened to your whole show. You’re extremely defensive and biased. I picked that up during the show, and to me, it paints your entire premise in a negative light. Nothing you’ve said in the comments here has changed my impression.

            You accuse me of strawmanning, but you yourself throw in ad hominems. Pot, kettle, black.

            You really do not understand privilege. Oh, you might know the definitions, but “It is always about power” demonstrates your misunderstanding, and your oversimplification. And look at *your* strawman: “Thus Christians have majority power in some situations but not others” – where is this magical situation where they don’t have majority power in the US? I’ve lived all over the US, I’ve worked in corporate, non-profit, and academia since 1980. I’ve yet to see this mystical void of Christian power and privilege.

            What is even more fascinating is how you, as a person of color, don’t seem to understand these things. Surely intersectionality would enlighten you? We all of us experience some for of privilege and lack thereof. You, as a person of color, lack privilege in some areas, and yet, as a man, you experience it in others. As a Christian, you experience privilege in almost every facet of U.S. society. As a white woman, the “white” extends privilege to me, where the “woman” removes much.

            I won’t be returning here, because luckily, your opinions aren’t influential enough that you can do much damage. We are fortunate that you seem content to stay within your narrow circle.

            Live in peace.

          • georgeyancey

            You are hilarious. You make accusations of me with no proof whatsoever and do not even seem to read my comments. Give me the comment where I say that privilege is tied to numbers or stop making the accusations. That is strawmanning. I have pointed out that academia is a position where Christians are at a disadvantage. I have pointed to empirical research to prove that case. You only point to your own bitterness for evidence. I guess nuance seems to escape you so that you cannot understand that there can be advantages and disadvantages to holding a certain status. Nice to accuse me of being bias in my radio presentation and once again providing no example or evidence of this. But I guess you do not need evidence for your assertions. Unless you provide some evidence for any of your assertions about me this will be my last post to you as I prefer to deal with rational individuals.

  • Lynn

    Quote: “The creation of the notion of Christian privilege is an attempt to link conservative Christians to the same status as whites and males.”
    Hmmmmm. I can’t speak for anyone else, but that is most certainly not MY aim when I try to get people to see ways Christians are advantaged / privileged in society. My aim is to help people see that they might take certain things for granted, as part of the religious majority, that can cause them to stumble in their relationships with others and do unintentional hurt.
    As someone who deconverted from Christianity (now atheist), I can assure you Christian privilege exists. I have no desire to persecute Christians because of this, but I would like for them to spend some time imagining what it might be like for people who don’t identify as Christian, to better inform their interactions with others.

    • georgeyancey

      And I wish at times that atheists would see what it is like to be a Christian academic and listen to the jokes about bible thumpers. There are spheres where atheism is an advantage as well.

      • Lynn

        George,
        If that is your concern, then perhaps you should write a post about that particular topic. Educate your readers on how those jokes break community and dehumanize people. Have at it.
        To write a post denying Christian privilege in general, though, is hurtful to the rest of us who see it and are hurt by it.

        • georgeyancey

          So pointing out that Christian privilege is not as accurate as people make it out to be is hurtful? Sorry but I call it like I see it. If people are going to claim that Christians have privilege in the media then I have a right to show how that is not true. If people are going to claim how the Christian perspective is taken into account in academia I know that is not the case. If pointing out inaccuracies in claims of Christian privilege hurts feelings then why are you willing to hurt the feelings of Christians by pointing out truths? If you are concern about hurt feelings then that concern should go to everyone whether they are a Christian or not. Remember that I do agree that some aspect of Christian privilege exists. I just do not accept that it is in all of the areas of the list and in fact I know that some of those claims are bogus.

          • Lynn

            The thing is, you’re arguing against a strawman. You’re saying Christian privilege isn’t as pervasive as “people” make it out to be–but who are these people?
            And see, you’re doing the strawman thing again with this very response. I didn’t say pointing out inaccuracies is hurtful. I said there are ways Christian privilege can influence interactions with those of us who don’t share that privilege, that can be hurtful. So writing a post that basically denies Christian privilege is a big deal is hurtful.

          • georgeyancey

            If you go to the link I provided you will see that I am answering specific claims make about Christian privilege. And once again I never said it did not exists but that many of those claims are wrong or exaggerated. Claiming that I totally dismiss it is not evident in the blog I wrote. I am asking for a more nuance approach than either the yelling of persecution by some Christians or the other extreme of seeing Christian privilege where it aint.

          • Lynn

            George, this is what you said:

            “The difference in reaction is a strong clue that attempts to link Christians to the same majority group status that we do for men and whites are not empirically sound. Amore nuanced discussion of the social position of Christians is needed, one that is more sophisticated than my laughter or Christian bashing.”
            You took ONE CONVERSATION via your link and then said, based on the reactions in that conversation, “attempts to link Christians to the same majority group status that we do for men and whites are not empirically sound.”
            In other words, you came to a conclusion–Christian privilege isn’t that big a deal–and used that one conversation (plus the treatment of Christians in academia), to support that conclusion.
            THAT is what I am reacting to, here. You didn’t say, “The people in that conversation are exaggerating Christian privilege and attacking Christians in the process.” You said, “Christian privilege isn’t as a big deal as people make it out to be, if it were, these people wouldn’t respond that way.”
            Frankly THAT method of coming to your conclusion is what’s empirically unsound. You can’t say “this one conversation proves that Christian privilege isn’t as a big a deal as white privilege or male privilege.” It’s ludicrous.
            Your entire blog post comes across as dismissive. If you didn’t mean it to, fine, but the way it’s written now, it does.
            Dismissiveness is hurtful.
            So you’re getting pushback.

          • georgeyancey

            If you read my post you can see I am striving for a balanced approach. I am pointing out that some of the provisions in that link are exaggerations and I provide my evidence of it. I stand by my statement that some people, like the ones that link, blow Christian privilege up more than it really is, without ever denying that there are advantages. If you look at the comments in that link you will see a great deal of Christian bashing. It is not in the original post but it definitely is in the comments. You seem concern about feelings getting hurt because some of us do not buy all of the stuff pushed our way. Do you not think that Christian bashing is pretty hurtful as well? Yet exaggerating the incident of Christian privilege does just that.

          • Lynn

            I give up. You win.

      • Sven2547

        I wish at times that atheists would see what it is like to be a Christian academic and listen to the jokes about bible thumpers.

        Atheists are persona non grata in virtually any political office, but science professors don’t make fun of them, so it kinda evens out? Please.

        • georgeyancey

          It is more than that. I have shown that people are less likely to discriminate against atheist than Christians when it comes to academic hiring. There is a real advantage in academia to being an atheist and it is not merely because of being made fun of.

          • Sven2547

            But is it BECAUSE they are Christians or is it, say, that they want to teach the failed hypothesis of Young-Earth Creationism?

          • Jakeithus

            I can’t speak for the author or his results, but given that academia involves far more than simply biology and geology, my guess is there is more to it than simply Young-Earth Creationism.

          • Sven2547

            Is it through all subjects, or is the disparity greater in the sciences?

          • Jakeithus

            That will require a more informed explanation of the results than I have, although a quick look at the summary of the book the findings were published in mentions sociology and political science, along with biology.

            My complete guess; the issue would be more pronounced in the sciences, but exists to a lesser degree in other fields.

          • georgeyancey

            In my research I look at the sciences and humanities. The degree to which scholars exhibit a willingness to discriminate against conservative Protestants, and not just young earth Christians is less in the hard sciences but it is still there.

          • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

            The TRULY disadvantaged are Christians at Christian churches or institutions where a change of one’s beliefs (in inerrancy, Genesis, evolution, hell, or converting to a rival denomination), may lead to your being persecuted or fired, as has been proven many times over in the past few decades and even moreso in centuries past. See my much fuller comment about that matter made today.

  • John W. Morehead

    My friends in minority religions would disagree with you, particularly Mormons and Pagans. I tend to agree with them in so-called “Judeo-Christian America.” Perhaps its a matter of being so immersed in it that we can’t see it as Evangelicals. For a different perspective see the essay by Rabbi Seth Goren at “Sojourners” at http://sojo.net/magazine/2013/07/recognizing-christian-privilege#.Ub_C_V0VcrA.facebook.

    I think the privilege is there, and Evangelicals need to be aware of how this factors into how we are perceived, and our interactions with others. How might this also factor into our increasingly pluralistic public square? What about the decline of Christianity’s credibility and influence in a post-Christendom but not post-Christian environment?

    • georgeyancey

      Once again I do not deny that there are certain Christian advantages but there is a need for a more nuance conversation and there is Christian disadvantage in certain ways which many of the posters here do not want to acknowledge. That is the key point. I acknowledge Christian advantage in some ways but they do not acknowledge any Christian disadvantage.

  • Grotoff

    So because educated people look down on superstition, Christian privilege doesn’t exist? Color me unimpressed.

    • Jakeithus

      Way to totally misrepresent the author’s point. No where does he say or imply that Christian privilege doesn’t exist. He is simply stating that reality is far more nuanced than people like to admit, which your post seems to be a prime example of.

      • Grotoff

        It’s really not. In some arenas, like academia and the entertainment industry, Christians face discrimination. As my comment pointed out, this is not for some immutable and irrelevant characteristic, like race, but for actual belief. It’s perfectly reasonable to question the suitability of an employee if they were to profess that the great Pickle of Eternity would soon come to Earth and drown it in brine. Or if they treated gays or evolution with ignorance and disdain. That makes perfect sense.

        It certainly doesn’t counterbalance the cultural and political dominance of Christianity in this nation. As the majority faith, Christians actually get upset when I say Happy Holidays to them. As if not privileging them equals discrimination. As if not letting them cement their religion in and around every public edifice means that they are being persecuted. If nothing else, it’s insulting to actual Christians being actually persecuted around the world.

        • Jakeithus

          You make it sound like academia and the media are ultimately inconsequential. I would assert that facing discrimination in those 2 spheres ultimately does more to influence the status and way particular groups are perceived by society at large than any sort of political actor could accomplish.

          I’m not going to argue with the majority of your second paragraph. I have very little tolerance for Christians who cry persecution at every little thing. But those cases certainly don’t counterbalance the the areas where Christians are not privileged.

          Christian privilege is a real thing, I don’t think the author would dispute that. It’s simply more nuanced and complicated than most people realize. You, and others, try and gloss over this for whatever reason.

          • Grotoff

            Again, you have to differentiate between discrimination based on identity and discrimination based on beliefs. I graduated from a Christian university and our leading physics professor is an expert on galaxy formation. He recently published a paper with NASA about it. He is an Evangelical Christian whose motto is “God created the heavens. I’m just trying to figure out how.” If he were a YEC radical then obviously the academia would have problem with him. Not his identity but his specific beliefs that clash with getting work done in the real world.

            Similarly, there are plenty of Progressive Christians in entertainment and Hollywood. Gay people have long had more respect and more opportunities in entertainment, particularly the famous gay hairdresser stereotype. In that environment, Christian homophobia is detrimental to everyone trying to get work done. Homophobes have no place in that realm. It’s not being a generic Christian that results in discrimination; it’s specific beliefs.

          • georgeyancey

            Nice Grotoff. Let’s paint Christians with some stereotype and then we can justify discrimination against Christians. Wow. We can just call blacks stupid and then we do not have to hire them for jobs. By the way read the piece. I never said Christian privilege does not matter at all. I said that it is not the same as white or mail privilege in the same all encompassing way. Right now I take no stances on whether the Christian advantage is more or less than the Christian disadvantage. To be honest I have not thought about that very much. But to dismiss religious discrimination as if it is nothing is pretty scary.

          • Grotoff

            It is very important to discriminate against people who will fuck up your operation. You can’t hire creationists to teach science or bigots to work cheek by jowl with gay actors and stylists, etc. It’s not about what you call yourself. It’s about behavior.

            There are plenty of Christians in both education and entertainment; they just aren’t the sort of people YOU consider Christians. But then maybe YOU are the one peddling stereotypes.

          • georgeyancey

            Thank you Grotoff. Utilizing crass stereotypes to justify religious discrimination makes my point that Christians can operate at a disadvantage in a more powerful way than any words I can write.

          • Grotoff

            Cry me a river Bible-thumper. YEC radicals and anti-gay bigots aren’t stereotypes or even minorities within the Christian community. I should know; I was a part of it for two decades. They are discriminated against based on their behavior, which is completely legitimate. Christians who reject fundamentalism face no such barriers.

          • georgeyancey

            Since you trade in this religious bigotry this is my last post to you on this topic. Your attitude of cry me a river is exactly what people like you decry when people do not take Christian privilege seriously. You do not want your concerns dismiss but you are eager to dismiss the concerns of those you hate. A little self introspection may be in order.

          • Grotoff

            I hate all who practice evil and call it righteousness. No matter the label. Call yourself a Christian or a Zoroastrian, creationism and homophobia are poison doctrines that must be stamped out. I will always full throatily endorse discrimination on that basis.

          • Jakeithus

            It’s not so easy to differentiate between discrimination based on identity and belief. I get where you’re coming from; that to discriminate on belief is ok given that beliefs are changeable, but for me deeply held beliefs are as much a part of my identity as some other factor like my race. I would maintain that neither identity or belief are reasons to discriminate against anyone, but that actions should be the only determining factor.

            While certain beliefs might make certain actions more likely, it’s not guaranteed and unless the actions manifest themselves in a harmful manner, it’s really no concern of anyone else what the beliefs are. To use your example, conservative Christian does not automatically equal homophobe, and to equate the 2 on the basis of a stereotype is grossly unfair.

  • Jakeithus

    Considering most of the comments are negative pushback, I wanted to say I greatly appreciate the post.

    Reading through the list of examples of Christian privilege, I too had a laugh out loud type of reaction to a number of points that were brought up, specifically the idea that it would be easy to find accurate depictions of my faith in popular media. Like you said, I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way when they see what is supposed to be a depiction of themselves in the media, but it was funny nonetheless.

    • georgeyancey

      Thanks Jakeithus. Good to have some support. Sometimes I do not know why I do this to myself. I should just blog on something noncontroversial. But I am one of those who strive for balance and have a hard time with some of the rhetoric I see from time to time. But I will probably need a rest after this blog so my next blog will be on making a delicious chicken soup (lol).

      • Jakeithus

        From time to time it’s good for all of us to step out even when we know we will be challenged. I hate discussing issues like abortion, but I know it is good for me personally at least to have to defend my position and articulate exactly why I believe what I do.

        Coming from a social science background myself, I know there is nothing more dangerous than challenging the status-quo and predetermined narrative. I appreciate it when it happens, and have found this blog to be enjoyable and informative on several occasions when it has done so.

        • georgeyancey

          The funny thing is that I am too liberal for my conservative Christian friends and too progressive for my non-Christian friends. I just have this bad habit of challenging establishment thought.

  • Donalbain

    As a Christian, you dont have to WORRY about getting the time off for an exam. Easter Holidays are built into the system. Christmas is built into the system. A Muslim or a Jew has to approach a member of staff and ask for a re-organisation, and that can have knock on effects on other parts of their study. The fact that you don’t see that is part of your privilege.

    • georgeyancey

      The comment was that I can expect time off because I am a Christian while those of other faiths will not get that time off. I simply pointed out that this statement is inaccurate. If the author had a more nuanced statement about expectations then I would have treated it differently. By the way, I will give you Christmas but Easter comes on a Sunday. I fail to see how that is part of some sort of rigged system for Christians.

      • Donalbain

        You fail to see how having the Christian holy day as a day off on a regular basis is a rigged system for Christians?

        And Easter Holidays are longer than just one day.

        • georgeyancey

          Really. I just celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday. Now the commercials for Easter yeah they run for quite a while.

      • michelle

        We don’t have to ask off because Easter comes on Sunday- isn’t that actually evidence of the rigged system?

        • George Yancey

          So because the holiday was put on Sunday the system was rigged. People already were getting Sunday off.

        • georgeyancey

          The original comment was that Christians get holidays off and other do not. Since you want to go down this path my university has not let people off for Good Friday the past few years now> that is an important holiday for some Christians. I guess they are in the same boat as other religions on that holiday.

          • michelle

            But, isn’t the fact that Sunday, our day of worship, is a presumed day off from school and from work evidence of Christian privilege in academia?

          • georgeyancey

            First, Jews worship on Saturday which is also a day off. Second, I guess new religions can come along with other days of the week and we can have a conversation about origins of this country and the role of early Christian influence which makes it hard to give everyone the whole week off to accommodate all possible holidays. That might actually be a useful conversation to have. But the original Christian privilege statement is that Christians can have their holidays off but other religions cannot. That is a gross exaggeration which I think intends to make Christians look like oppressors. It is also an inaccurate statement as I have pointed out. A more accurate statement that does not exaggerate the advantages Christians may have can produce a conversation on historical influences but the original statement as stands does nothing of the sort.
            As far as Christian privilege in academia there is no such thing. I would clearly give up having Sunday as an automatic day off if it means that Christians do not have to endure religious bigotry as seen in some of the posters here and do not have to face religious insults in ways that do not apply to other religious groups.

          • Brian Westley

            I would clearly give up having Sunday as an automatic day off if it means that Christians do not have to endure religious bigotry as seen in some of the posters here and do not have to face religious insults in ways that do not apply to other religious groups.

            Like threats of burning in hell? Oh right, that’s one that Christians inflict on non-Christians.

            Your original article said that Christian privilege didn’t compare to white or male privilege — I think Christian privilege is at least on par with both of these. It isn’t hard to find discrimination against whites or males, either.

          • georgeyancey

            Really Brian. So only Christians insult others and that is your evidence of Christian privilege. Because we know that non-Christians never insult Christians. Furthermore if Christians have all of the advantages over nonChristians than Whites do over nonwhites and men over women then why are not Christians wealthier and better educated than their religious outgroups? The comparison does not seem to fit.

          • Brian Westley

            Really Brian. So only Christians insult others and that is your evidence of Christian privilege

            Stop lying about what I’ve said.

            Because we know that non-Christians never insult Christians.

            Stop lying about what I’ve said.

            Furthermore if Christians have all of the advantages over nonChristians than Whites do over nonwhites and men over women then why are not Christians wealthier and better educated than their religious outgroups? The comparison does not seem to fit.

            As I and others have pointed out before, Christian advantages include things like overwhelming representation in government. Religious belief has a rather high correlation with both poverty and lack of education, but that doesn’t prevent voting.

            Atheists and gays are a bit wealthier than average, but that doesn’t mean it’s due to atheist or gay privilege.

            You continue to cherry-pick data to support your predetermined conclusion.

          • georgeyancey

            Actually I just point out info that is inconvenient for your thesis of a Christian advantage that is like the advantage of Whites and males. I never said that the higher wage proves atheist privilege but as an African American I can tell you that SES advantages are quite meaningful in racial issues. So naturally you like to ignore that. You brought up the rudeness argument and I have just pointed out that it is not a unique advantage for Christians. Finally you have not even read my entire blog when you stated that I think that laughing was the reaction I was arguing for. But I did not accuse you of lying, just sloppiness. I know that the argument is won when my opponent resorts to ad hominem insults.

          • Brian Westley

            But I did not accuse you of lying, just sloppiness.

            Nope, you dishonestly characterized what I said.

            I know that the argument is won when my opponent resorts to ad hominem insults.

            And I know I’ve won when my opponent starts lying about what I said.

            PS: I never use accusations of lying as an ad hominem or an insult; I always use it when I consider someone to be lying.

          • georgeyancey

            I guess by your standard I should accuse you of lying when you said that I advocated for laughing at Christian Privilege when any fair reading of my blog would show that to be untrue. But such accusations are generally done by those without good arguments and want to use ad hominum attacks. I have shown myself to be more than willing to engage others but I only wish to engage in logical discourse and not name calling. So have a pleasant day as I am done responding.

          • Brian Westley

            I guess by your standard I should accuse you of lying when you said that I advocated for laughing at Christian Privilege when any fair reading of my blog would show that to be untrue.

            You might, but you’re still lying about what I’ve said.

            Here’s the closest I can find that I actually wrote:
            “You also laughed at the concept of Christian privilege, as if it was nonexistent.”

            I didn’t say you advocated for laughing at Christian Privilege, I said you laughed at the concept as if it didn’t exist.

            But such accusations are generally done by those without good arguments and want to use ad hominum attacks.

            As I’ve said, I call people liars when I think they are lying. You deliberately mischaracterized my statements. I call that lying. If you don’t like it, I suggest you not deliberately mischaracterized my statements.

          • michelle

            Actually, my original response was to this statement:

            “I will give you Christmas but Easter comes on a Sunday. I fail to see how that is part of some sort of rigged system for Christians.”

            Here you seem to be saying that always getting Easter off isn’t evidence of Christian privilege, because Easter falls on Sunday and most everyone has Sunday off anyway. Doesn’t that prove Donalbain’s point?

          • georgeyancey

            The original statement is in the article I linked to. Refer to that if you want to know what I am reacting to.

          • michelle

            Sorry, I’m new and didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to respond to your response.
            Is there a more proper way to respond to a response, or is it just generally frowned upon?
            Thanks!

          • georgeyancey

            Of course you can respond to my response. I am just pointing out that I the original blog I included a link to the list of “Christian privileges” and that is what I am critiquing.

  • Thursday1

    For example, it is fairly difficult, although not impossible, to consider ways in which whites or males have disadvantages.

    This may be true for whites, but it is definitely not true for males. See here. Book length treatment here

  • BillYeager

    Wow. What a truly awful piece of desperate statistical mangling. Your argument is akin to a Millionaire complaining that his housekeeper keeps calling him a Billionaire.

    As for allegations of ridicule from the scientific and academic communities, that’s like complaining that the Human Resource guy at NASA smirked at you during the job interview because you earnestly told him you were a ‘moon-landing denier’.

    • georgeyancey

      Thanks for the gratuitous stereotyping and Christian bashing. Gee all of us Christians are so stupid it is a wonder we can even tie our shoes the right way.

      • BillYeager

        That wasn’t Christian bashing in any way whatsoever. It was a criticism of your article and the position you take in it. But, sure, you go right ahead and claim otherwise, that bit of dishonesty won’t do your argument any harm at all, will it? /sarcasm
        Seriously, in what Universe does my comment equate to ‘bashing’ Christians and calling them stupid?

        • georgeyancey

          When you say that Christians are not hired on as scientists because they are ignorant then that is Christian bashing and I will call you on it. Ah “moon landing denier” Come on. If you have serious objections to my call for a more nuanced approach to the concept of Christian privilege then let me have it. Just calling it awful without any sort of thoughtful critique is something that lands students a “C” in my class.

        • georgeyancey

          “moon-landing denier” is Christian bashing implying that Christians are either stupid or ignorant. People can Christina bash all they want but I will call them out on it. If you have real objections to my call for a more nuanced approach to the concept of Christian privilege then I would be interested in what they are.

          • BillYeager

            You see, that sort of knee-jerkery is exactly why people who complain about Christian ‘persecution’ (outside of countries where they actually are persecuted) are dismissed so readily.

            Let me clarify my ‘moon landing’ reference. Do you see the part where I talk of being in a job interview for NASA? Well, that bit is where I am equating it to your complaint regarding lack of respect for your entirely non-scientific (as I am sure you will agree) theist belief from science-and-reason-based academic communities. I doubt very much you were talking about theology when you referred to “potential disadvantages in academia”.

            Your article shows you to be clearly scrabbling around for routes and methods with which you can claim to be on a par with social groups that actually *are* routinely discriminated against. Not that where there may actually exist unfair and unreasonable discrimination against Christian believers there shouldn’t be action taken to remedy such injustice, but, surely you have to admit, you live in a country that is widely discriminatory *in favour* of Christians.

            It just smacks of sour-grapes at the fact you are slowly losing unwarranted privilege, rather than experiencing widespread anti-Christian sentiment.

          • georgeyancey

            Read the blog. I actually criticize US Christians who claim persecution. The fact that you automatically associate Christians applying for a job at NASA as denying the moon landing smacks of religious stereotyping I am surprised you do not see that.

          • BillYeager

            What? Your group deletion of the initial comments I gave notwithstanding, your attempt to associate the analogy I made about your claims of ‘systematic mistreatment’ in academia and the absurdity of such being that you are protesting that ‘science and reason’ based fields reject your utterly-non-scientific theological assertions, with ‘religious stereotyping’ and ‘christian bashing’, is so wildly incorrect one might suspect it to be intentionally misleading.
            It’s a bit like when theists write articles that are objectively critiqued by non-theists and their response is to delete the ‘offending’ comments and ban the non-theist from being able to comment any further. That seems to happen a great deal when challenging Catholic assertions, please don’t follow their dishonest lead.
            Look, you’re a Christian, you wrote an article you believe defended/excused/highlighted issues you thought were relevant to your faith and the problems you believe it faces. Your assertions were, at best, weak and, to be honest, wildly ridiculous when compared to people and groups that actually do suffer as a result of discrimination.
            Your complaint of experiencing ‘discrimination’ in academia is only valid if you have proof that you have been discriminated against solely because of your personal faith, *not* simply because non-theist intellectuals refuse to show you ‘respect’ for your religious beliefs and its irrational doctrines.

          • georgeyancey

            I actually have evidence that conservative Christians face job discrimination simply because they are conservative Christian and it is published in a peer review book. I guess you do not think religiously based job discrimination is a big deal but we just have different values. I mean if you think that occupational discrimination is weak and having to ask off for your holiday vacation is strong then I do not know where to go from there. As for the deletions I messed up with the technology and tried to delete some of my extraneous comments. I may have deleted one of yours by accident. For that I do apologize. But I think whatever you think of me that it is fair to say that when you look at this blog that I have not shyed away from debating my position or ran away from any arguments and certainly do not feel threaten by your argument.

          • BillYeager

            Fair enough on the mea culpa about the erroneous deletions.
            Ok, if you have valid data to support your assertion that conservative Christians face job discrimination *solely* for professing their faith and nothing more, let’s have it.
            Can you provide objective evidence, or is it reliant on subjective anecdote from conservative Christians who claim they didn’t get a promotion just because they are known to be conservative Christians, when the truth may well be more to do with them having voiced morally repugnant homophobia or trying to shoehorn creationism into scientific academia?

          • georgeyancey

            I document. My work in t he book “Compromising Scholarship”. In my erase arch I directly ask academics if they will be less likely to hire a professor if they find out that the person is a conservative Protestation. No other info is given. A significant number of these state that they would use the candidate’s religious status in the hiring decision. I also asked about if the candidate is an atheists and that had little or no effect. If you want the details of this research then you need to get the book but the evidence is right there.

          • BillYeager

            Hmmm, not so sure about the reliability of your data. The following observation was made by Bruce Chadwick about your research:
            “Response rates below 30 percent cast serious doubt about generalizing the findings obtained from the respondents to the larger populations of scientists. The author discusses the low response rates and attempts to minimize their impact on his findings. He claims that scientists were too busy to complete the brief questionnaire, and this reduced the response rate. In spite of such arguments, strong concerns about generalizability linger.

            One final limitation of the blog study is that the majority of the blogs were posted during the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, during which time there was considerable venting against the Bush administration.
            The anti-Bush brush may have tainted conservative political and religious groups as well as created bias that no longer exists.”

          • georgeyancey

            The response rates are a little problematic but I dealt with that in the book. The issue is whether the social/demographic composition of the sample differs so significantly from the general population so that the results are thrown off. However I tested all of the subpopulations and found that the results did not differ. Thus if there is a realistic compositional makeup in which these differences, which are huge in statistical terms, would not be found I do not see it. In fact the best that can be said is that perhaps the differences in the treatment of the religious and racial groups is not as large as the final results but there is little doubt that scholars are more willing to state that they will discriminate against conservative Protestants than other social groups measured. I would challenge anyone who makes a different argument to discuss why the composition of my sample bias the final results and not just make an argument of response rate.
            The argument of timing is easier to dismiss. Actually Republicans fared better than conservative Protestants so if this was a political protest than we would expect Republicans to do much worse. Furthermore my results were somewhat replicated by Inbar and Lammer in a 2012 article so I am pretty confident that this is not a time effect,.

        • georgeyancey

          When you state “moon-landing denier” you are Christian bashing. You are stating that Christians are either stupid or ignorant. If you have a coherent point to my main argument for a nuanced approach to the concept of Christian privileged then I love to hear it.

  • georgeyancey

    For some reason the program is not allowing me to see my comments go through. Sorry for this but I do not know how to fix it. I will just have to reply and go on faith that they went through.

    • Brian Westley

      That can happen if you reply to a comment that you got to by clicking a link that has “/#comment-123456789″ at the end of the URL (it won’t show up unless you reload the page without the #comment anchor). I think there can also be problems if the comment is below a “load more comments” bar at the bottom of the page.

  • NEWalls

    There is a great manuscript by Rev. Dr. Julie Todd titled “Confessions of a Christian Supremacist” which is one of the most honest reflections on Christian Privilege by a Christian writer/academic. It is found in Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping.

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

    Dear Mr. Yancey, For the first 200 years in North America every college and university founded was Christian and sectarian (many such institutions began of course as seminaries and added other forms of learning later, after the 1600s), so good luck to anyone who was non-Christian, non-religious, or of a rival Christian sect or denomination finding a job at THOSE institutions for a couple centuries. But around the late 1800s and early 1900s secular institutions of higher learning began to arise in the U.S. And of course conservative religious people expressed their disdain at the formation of such institutions.

    Even today, many colleges and universities remain linked either strongly or weakly to Christianity or a particular denomination of Christianity, so non-Christians,or the non-religious still have difficulty finding jobs in those kinds of places.

    Meanwhile, many conservative Christian institutions of higher learning have been firing professors for taking more moderate/liberal views toward Genesis 1, evolution, for doubting inerrancy, for doubting eternal punishment, or even for moving to a different Christian denomination like a prof. at Wheaton who was let go after converting to Catholicism. In fact I would say that you could make a more convincing and shocking film about CHRISTIANS DISCRIMINATING AGAINST CHRISTIANS that would shock more people than a film about Christians being poo-pooed at today’s secular academic establishments.

    FOR INSTANCE…

    The N.T. scholar, Larry Hurtado, asks, concerning the current state of Evangelical Christian academic institutions:

    “What kind of ‘academic’ institution handles matters in such a disgracefully unfair, unreasonable and unreasoning, and dictatorial manner? What kind of ‘Christian’ institution is so narrow, so ungracious, so unkind, so Stalinesque as to handle things this way? What does it say about the ‘faith’ held, how nervous, uncertain, jittery, and reactionary it must be? (As someone once said about such matters, ‘With “friends” like these, Jesus doesn’t need enemies!’).” https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/academic-injustice-and-shameful-cowardice/

    Hurtado was speaking about some scholars whose question of inerrancy or some other conservative doctrine got them fired from Christian institutions. But plenty of other discriminatory cases arise when a pastor doubts hell, or evolution…

    Pastor loses job after questioning hell’s existence
    DURHAM, N.C. — When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job.The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls. Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow’s Chapel in Henderson.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42248810/ns/us_news-life/?fb_ref=story_text&fb_source=home_oneline

    What has happened to some professors and/or state officials for teaching or accepting evolution:

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted Richard Colling (Olivet)

    1 persecuted for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Also I rec’d an email from David L. Wilcox, a Christian and biology prof who said: My guess is we have about 5000+ “theistic evolutionists” of various stripes teaching science at the 100-odd schools of the “Council on Christian Colleges and Universities”–but most of us keep our heads down–hoping to ‘pass’ as “real” Christians (in lieu of our fellow brethrens’ suspicions to the contrary).

    See also this list with more details concerning the above cases:

    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626

    • georgeyancey

      You seem to focus a lot on evangelical colleges and such today. They are a small percentage of colleges and universities. Surely you are not arguing that most colleges today are heavily influenced by conservative Christians. There is plenty of research indicating that this is correct. I do not know the cases you speak of but assuming they are correct they are antidotal. I produced systematic evidence of discrimination against Christians in not a few religious school by systematically throughout academia. I have heard many antidotes about Christians losing jobs or being harassed at one of the vast majority of schools that are not Christian. To me that is more powerful evidence than case studies. To put this another way whites clearly may face discrimination attending predominately black institutions. Yet we do not see such antidotes as reason to ignore the systematic evidence showing that racial minorities still operate at a disadvantage in our society.


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