RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGE

Benefits For Some

 

This construct is often very challenging for most people to accept or understand, and frequently results in rigorous pushback or denial as individuals grapple with the contrast between their personal convictions and empirical research.  Understanding the importance of this construct helps us to be more aware of all forms of discrimination.  Religious privilege may be defined as a wide array of unearned, invisible privileges which bestows religious and cultural dominance upon the majority religious group.  


As the overwhelming majority faith in America, Christianity enjoys a privileged status which dominates many levels of daily life, continually broadcasting and reinforcing an ethnocentric view of Christianity as the religious norm, conferring upon its believers a host of unearned benefits and privileges which are denied to members of religious, spiritual, and nonreligious minorities.  This domination through religious privilege frequently results in the unintentional oppression, subordination,  or marginalization of individuals and groups who adhere to or practice non-Christian expressions of religious, spiritual, or nonreligious beliefs.

Christian privilege impacts every aspect of American life, affording Christians the unchallenged and ubiquitous ability to successfully broadcast Christian-centered social values and religious beliefs upon others while unintentionally subjugating individuals who embrace a different set of religious, spiritual, or nonreligious ideologies.  Christianity, as a non-conscious ideology, often manifests in a lack of awareness or a denial of privileged religious status among believers, principally, because religious prominence and power are all that Christians have ever experienced as the dominant religious group in America.  


Manifestations of Christian privilege include implicit or explicit forms of religious or spiritual oppression, microaggressions, marginalization, or prejudices and biases toward the beliefs and religious cultures of others. 


In other parts of the world where Christianity is not the dominant religious group, they are subjected to the same negative effects of religious privilege as non-Christians experience in America.