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Christian privilege leads to exclusion of other beliefs

Joseph Rogers

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Illustration my Trevor Moore

Some declarations of identity come with reduced status: identity with the LGBTQ community, a mental illness, a stigmatized physical illness or kinkiness in sexuality.

Some declarations grant increased status. Like doctors, professors, lawyers, marriage with kids and being Christian. It’s the latter, the Christian privilege checklist, that is a big problem.

  1. Christians can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
  2. Music and television programs pertaining to their religion’s holidays are readily accessible.
  3. It is easy to find stores that carry items that enable them to practice their faith and celebrate religious holidays.

And the list goes on.

When I first ran across the idea of Christian privilege, I was a little resistant to it. I identify as a Christian, have a church home and have participated in different areas and levels of ministry.

How is that privilege? It’s a lot of work, particularly teaching Sunday school.

Then I read the list and thought about it.

I decided to go to the great debating platform — Facebook.

Even my minister chimed in that he hadn’t thought about the privileges our religion grants us.

While this list seems simple, it carries profound implications for non-Christians.

I had never considered how readily available Christmas music is in retail stores but try finding Chanukkah or Mawlid music in December.

Gallup.com has done research into anti-Muslim beliefs. One particular graph stands out to me and it is included here.

religiousperceptionsofmuslim.png

It is amazing that 66 percent of Jewish respondents, 60 percent of Muslims and 54 percent of those who identified as having no faith agreed that “most Americans are prejudiced toward Muslim Americans,” yet Catholics came in at 51 percent, Protestants at 48 percent and Mormons at 47 percent.

Seems like I can add number 34 to the Christian privilege checklist. I can disagree that practitioners of other religions are unfairly treated, and I will most likely be supported by members of my faith.

There is also the idea that once someone says that they are a Christian, that it must mean they’re a good person, which is not accurate.

Christian church leaders, not to be confused with leaders of the Christian church, have had many problems such as arrogance and bullying, the infamous priest sex abuse cases or even gay sex cases.

These may be rare occurrences but take heed — just because someone claims a religious identity doesn’t mean that they follow the articles of that faith.

I have no doubt that some troll will pick this up and call me a bad Christian. That’s OK. I seem to remember this one guy that challenged the status quo, too.

Now I can add number 35 to the checklist.

I can write an article about Christian privilege without my religious affiliation being called into question.

Joseph Rogers can be reached at [email protected] or @JosephLRogers1 on Twitter.

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Christian privilege leads to exclusion of other beliefs