News & Politics

Where Is Reality, as Fundamentalist Christians Think They Are More Discriminated Against Than Muslims?

White evangelicals comprise the only major religious group to think that Christians are discriminated against.

Photo Credit: Jarle Refsnes / Flickr

The degree to which discrimination exists in American society is in the eye of the beholder, apparently. According to the latest poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, a white evangelical in the U.S. is more likely to think that Christians experience a lot of discrimination as compared with Muslims.

The survey found that 57 percent of the white evangelicals polled said they believe that Christians face a lot of discrimination in America, while only 44 percent considered that same level of discrimination exists for the Muslim community. White evangelicals were the one major religious group to indicate that Christians faced heavy persecution. In contrast, roughly 75 percent of the religiously unaffiliated Americans and the nonwhite Protestants surveyed said that Muslims face the most discrimination, according to the poll.

Perceptions of discrimination are strong America. Nearly half of white Americans said they believe that black Americans experience racial discrimination, while 87 percent of black Americans have come to that same conclusion, the poll found.

Lately some members of the Republican Party have become concerned about Christian persecution and religious freedom. Republicans recently crafted the First Amendment Defense Act, federal legislation mirrored after the “religious freedom” laws that have popped up across the country, including in Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana.

President Donald Trump’s executive order, which barred entry of travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, failed its judicial test in part because it excluded religious minorities in those countries, such as Christians. The administration appeared to have a preference for a certain religious group. Meanwhile, the GOP has long focused on the plight of Christians in nonsecular countries in the Middle East.

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Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_.