40 Examples of Christian Privilege

01
It is likely that state and federal holidays coincide with my religious practices, thereby having little to no impact on my job and/or education.
02
I can talk openly about my religious practices without concern for how it will be received by others.
03
I can be sure to hear music on the radio and watch specials on television that celebrate the holidays of my religion.
04
When told about the history of civilization, I am can be sure that I am shown people of my religion made it what it is.
05
I can worry about religious privilege without being perceived as “self-interested” or “selfseeking.”
06
I can have a “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker or Icthus (Christian Fish) on my car and not worry about someone vandalizing my car because of it.
07
I can share my holiday greetings without being fully conscious of how it may impact those who do not celebrate the same holidays. Also, I can be sure that people are knowledgeable about the holidays of my religion and will greet me with the appropriate holiday greeting (e.g., Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, etc.).
08
I can probably assume that there is a universality of religious experience.
09
I can deny Christian Privilege by asserting that all religions are essentially the same.
10
I probably do not need to learn the religious or spiritual customs of others, and I am likely not penalized for not knowing them.
11
I am probably unencumbered by having to explain why I am or am not doing things related to my religious norms on a daily basis.
12
I am likely not judged by the improper actions of others in my religious group.
13
If I wish, I can usually or exclusively be among those from my religious group most of the time (in work, school, or at home).
14
I can assume that my safety, or the safety of my family, will not be put in jeopardy by disclosing my religion to others at work or at school.
15
It is likely that mass media represents my religion widely AND positively.
16
It is likely that I can find items to buy that represent my religious norms and holidays with relative ease (e.g., food, decorations, greeting cards, etc.).
17
I can speak or write about my religion, and even critique other religions, and have these perspectives listened to and published with relative ease and without much fear of reprisal.
18
I could write an article on Christian Privilege without putting my own religion on trial.
19
I can travel without others assuming that I put them at risk because of my religion; nor will my religion put me at risk from others when I travel.
20
I can be financially successful without the assumption from others that this success is connected to my religion.
21
I can protect myself (and my children) from people who may not like me (or them) based on my religion.
22
Law enforcement officials will likely assume I am a non-threatening person if my religion is disclosed to them. In fact, disclosure may actually help law enforcement officials perceive me as being “in the right” or “unbiased.”
23
I can safely assume that any authority figure will generally be someone of my religion.
24
I can talk about my religion, even proselytize, and be characterized as “sharing the word,” instead of imposing my ideas on others.
25
I can be gentle and affirming to people without being characterized as an exception to my religion.
26
I am never asked to speak on behalf of all Christians.
27
My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my religion.
28
My place of worship is probably not targeted for violence because of sentiment against my religion.
29
I can be sure that my religion will not work against me when seeking medical or legal help.
30
My religion will not cause teachers to pigeonhole me into certain professions based of the assumed “prowess” of my religious group.
31
I will not have my children taken from me from governmental authorities who are aware of my religious affiliation.
32
Disclosure of my religion to an adoption agency will likely not prevent me from being able to adopt children.
33
If I wish to give my children a parochial religious education, I probably have a variety of options nearby.
34
I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence and importance of my religion.
35
I can be sure that when someone in the media is referring to God, they are referring to my (Christian) God.
36
I can easily find academic courses and institutions that give attention only to people of my religion.
37
My religious holidays are so completely “normal” that, in many ways, they may appear to no longer have any religious significance at all.
38
The elected and unelected officials of my government probably are members of my religious group.
39
When swearing an oath, I am probably making this oath by placing my hand on the scripture of my religion.
40
I can openly display my religious symbol(s) on my person or property without fear of disapproval, violence, and/or vandalism.

Schlosser, L. Z. (2003). Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 31(1), 44-51

You can download a PDF of this list here.

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November 21, 2011  |  christianity, politics, religion, society

25 Comments


  1. Excellent list! I will definitely link to this in future posts.

  2. … “I probably do not need to learn the religious or spiritual customs of others, and I am likely not penalized for not knowing them.” …

    I don’t need to learn anything about my own religion except for some elementary myths. After that I can make up whatever I wish as long as it somewhat conforms to commonly held beliefs.

  3. “My religious holidays are so completely “normal” that, in many ways, they may appear to no longer have any religious significance at all.” — And this is a perk? In what world is having your religious practices watered down and made meaningless a *good* thing.

    • Interesting that you read it that way. The way I read it was saying some holidays—like Christmas for example—are so widely and universally accepted here (I live in the USA) that they are national holidays, despite the fact that we have a secular government and most businesses are also secular. This makes observing a religious holiday completely normal and not connected to one religion only. If it were simply a religious day of observance, this special nation-wide honor (companies closing, public institutions shutting down, stores everywhere selling good to commemorate the day, etc.) would not likely occur.

    • Despite the government’s observation of Christmas, and the “nation-wide honor” that is not the point of Christmas. It is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, which is more often than not overlooked by a great deal of the people celebrating Christmas, which I do not see as “good” thing. Easter also has nothing to do with a bunny or eggs. So I regard these celebrations as having very little to do with my faith.

  4. Much of this list rings true, although much of this list also paints broad generalizations that undermines your central point. I know quite a few people who have had several Christian experiences counter to what you claim here. There are too many statements with “likely” or “probably” for it to be considered unbiased and meaningful.

    • In fact, words like “likely” and “probably” are exactly what is necessary. As you said yourself, not everyone has these exact experiences. Using absolute language would be inaccurate.

  5. 01 It is likely that state and federal holidays coincide with my religious practices, thereby having little to no impact on my job and/or education.

    Many holidays are simply Monday holidays. Christmas went from being a very minor religious celebration to being a major commercial event embraced by many for cultural and financial reasons. Easter is not on a workday.

    02 I can talk openly about my religious practices without concern for how it will be received by others.

    Not really true. People don’t necessarily like my specific religion.

    03 I can be sure to hear music on the radio and watch specials on television that celebrate the holidays of my religion.

    Sort of a yes and no. Santa Claus and Rudolph aren’t exactly part of my specific religious beliefs.

    04 When told about the history of civilization, I am can be sure that I am shown people of my religion made it what it is.

    My specific religion doesn’t figure largely in such histories.

    05 I can worry about religious privilege without being perceived as “self-interested” or “selfseeking.”

    Not really sure about this one.

    06 I can have a “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker or Icthus (Christian Fish) on my car and not worry about someone vandalizing my car because of it.

    I wouldn’t actually have such things on my car and the willful, criminal destruction of private property often happens to any individual or group who someone decides to take a dislike to. A co-worker who was wheelchair bound had his home broken into and cruelly vandalized just because of his disability. Sad.

    07 I can share my holiday greetings without being fully conscious of how it may impact those who do not celebrate the same holidays. Also, I can be sure that people are knowledgeable about the holidays of my religion and will greet me with the appropriate holiday greeting (e.g., Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, etc.).

    I usually only respond with a greeting if someone greets me first.

    08 I can probably assume that there is a universality of religious experience.

    Not based on what I have encountered.

    09 I can deny Christian Privilege by asserting that all religions are essentially the same.

    I don’t actually think they are. And I often actually find it difficult to talk with Christians of other denominations because their religious views and mine can vary rather widely.

    10 I probably do not need to learn the religious or spiritual customs of others, and I am likely not penalized for not knowing them.

    I don’t think I would gain or lose here. I don’t participate in their services or celebrations nor do they in mine. I’m not sure why this matters.

    11 I am probably unencumbered by having to explain why I am or am not doing things related to my religious norms on a daily basis.

    Depends on the circumstances. Most things that might be different for me rarely come up in an everyday context and generally people understand when I tell them I don’t drink.

    12 I am likely not judged by the improper actions of others in my religious group.

    Not from what I have read. People seem to go out of their way to say how wrong we are when the subject of my specific religion comes up in a negative way.

    13 If I wish, I can usually or exclusively be among those from my religious group most of the time (in work, school, or at home).

    Wow! There were two others of my faith in my rather large high school. And why wouldn’t I be around my own in my own home?

    14 I can assume that my safety, or the safety of my family, will not be put in jeopardy by disclosing my religion to others at work or at school.

    I would hope this wouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Criminal behavior is criminal behavior.

    15 It is likely that mass media represents my religion widely AND positively.

    Absolutely wrong. Generally when my specific religion is reported on, it is for negative reasons.

    16 It is likely that I can find items to buy that represent my religious norms and holidays with relative ease (e.g., food, decorations, greeting cards, etc.).

    Not really. Christmas cards are often really hard because it’s difficult to find a greeting text that I feel religiously comfortable with. Food is not an issue and decorations are often cultural, not religious. (Wreaths, trees, and lights are not part of my worship practices.)

    17 I can speak or write about my religion, and even critique other religions, and have these perspectives listened to and published with relative ease and without much fear of reprisal.

    I’m not so sure about this one. People often take exception to what I believe in.

    18 I could write an article on Christian Privilege without putting my own religion on trial.

    I’m not sure how this relates.

    19 I can travel without others assuming that I put them at risk because of my religion; nor will my religion put me at risk from others when I travel.

    I guess it would all depend on what part of the world one travels to.

    20 I can be financially successful without the assumption from others that this success is connected to my religion.

    I don’t think I would have associated this with Christians.

    21 I can protect myself (and my children) from people who may not like me (or them) based on my religion.

    If I or my family was facing persecution of some sort, I would probably be approaching it through prayer.

    22 Law enforcement officials will likely assume I am a non-threatening person if my religion is disclosed to them. In fact, disclosure may actually help law enforcement officials perceive me as being “in the right” or “unbiased.”

    I guess this would all depend on how biased they were against my specifc religion.

    23 I can safely assume that any authority figure will generally be someone of my religion.

    You’ve gotta be joking here!

    24 I can talk about my religion, even proselytize, and be characterized as “sharing the word,” instead of imposing my ideas on others.

    I’m not evangelical.

    25 I can be gentle and affirming to people without being characterized as an exception to my religion.

    Most people have no idea what people of my specific faith are like.

    26 I am never asked to speak on behalf of all Christians.

    I would find it rather unlikely since I wouldn’t actually be representing their viewpoints very well.

    27 My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my religion.

    Probably not, but based more on the fact that I and my specific religion have not been behind any negative political actions.

    28 My place of worship is probably not targeted for violence because of sentiment against my religion.

    Once again, criminal actions are criminal actions. So far, nothing has happened to me and mine. But people are not necessarily friendly towards us.

    29 I can be sure that my religion will not work against me when seeking medical or legal help.

    Practitioners of the law or of medicine shouldn’t actually be taking religious or non-religious viewpoints into account when helping others.

    30 My religion will not cause teachers to pigeonhole me into certain professions based of the assumed “prowess” of my religious group.

    I don’t think my teachers thought my group (assuming they even knew about us) had any prowess. And once again, is this something generally associated with Christians?

    31 I will not have my children taken from me from governmental authorities who are aware of my religious affiliation.

    Not necessarily.

    32 Disclosure of my religion to an adoption agency will likely not prevent me from being able to adopt children.

    Not necessarily.

    33 If I wish to give my children a parochial religious education, I probably have a variety of options nearby.

    Not at all true.

    34 I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence and importance of my religion.

    I don’t recall seeing a lot of Christian rah rah stuff in my history texts in the sixties.

    35 I can be sure that when someone in the media is referring to God, they are referring to my (Christian) God.

    Generally, God is the general name given when referring to the Christian, Jewish, and B’hai God. Allah is the name given when referring to the Muslim God. Other gods have specific names and are usually cited as such.

    36 I can easily find academic courses and institutions that give attention only to people of my religion.

    Not that I am aware of.

    37 My religious holidays are so completely “normal” that, in many ways, they may appear to no longer have any religious significance at all.

    Cultural celebrations are rather different than religious ones.

    38 The elected and unelected officials of my government probably are members of my religious group.

    So incredibly wrong.

    39 When swearing an oath, I am probably making this oath by placing my hand on the scripture of my religion.

    Actually, I’m not sure the Bible is used these days. The last time I was in court I was simply asked to sware that I would be telling the truth.

    40 I can openly display my religious symbol(s) on my person or property without fear of disapproval, violence, and/or vandalism.

    My specific religion doesn’t actually use symbols much for display. And people might still have an issue with us depending on what they had read.

    This list seems to assume people are religiously Christian mainstream and thus politically connected (privileged). When people are not mainstream (as my religion is) they do not not necessarily find themselves in a privileged position.

    • This list seems to assume people are religiously Christian mainstream and thus politically connected (privileged). When people are not mainstream (as my religion is) they do not not necessarily find themselves in a privileged position.

      Well, yes. This list is called “40 Examples of Christian privilege.” That was the point. I don’t see where you mention what religion you belong to, but if it isn’t Christianity, this list isn’t about it. If you are part of a small or more obscure sect of Christianity, then you are still a Christian.

      • I am definitely a Christian, just not mainstream. And as you may have noted in my comments about the 40 points, I don’t think they necessarily even apply very well to mainstream Christianity, much less my little non-mainstream branch.

        The point is, your list is actually talking about the major culturally privileged group in a society. Usually, the major group in any society is going to be privileged because the society has to acknowledge the realities of its population. For instance, I am quite certain the area I grew up in was largely Christian, but we also had a rather sizeable Jewish population. The end result? My school system had days off when the Jewish students had their holy days. It was purely pragmatic (not religious) in nature because the teachers wanted all the students to stay on the same page, so to speak.

        But most of the points on the list don’t really hit home for my religious group and many don’t strike me as applying to Christianity as a whole. Did you actually read my responses to the points? I am not saying a list of this nature might not have merit, but it strikes me as being not very well thought out.

        So are “outsiders” in a largely “Christian” population going to notice that Christians live there by the cultural artifacts they encounter? Of course! Businesses are simply going to cater to the cultural groups who form the largest number of consumers. When I visited southern California for the first time several decades ago, I was astounded by the vast display of various chili peppers in the supermarket. I realized that they were catering to their local consumer population. When Hispanics moved into my neighborhood on the east coast, the stores started displaying similar items where I live. I also see many more secondary labels on food items in Spanish rather than in French. Their festivals are growing in size and number, and more publications and media are being targeted to them. The local Wal-Mart 5$ bin of DVDs is usually littered with Spanish titles these days. Are Hispanics privileged? No, they are simply growing more numerous and therefore they are being sought out as customers and voters.

        So unless a person is living in a theocracy where rule is imposed from above, the main issues in a democratic society are dominated by those with monetary/consumer clout and political clout. That’s where the real issue of privilege lies.

  6. As an atheist, are you happy?

    do you find yourself dissatisfied with life all the time or do you deal with lifes troubles in a positive way?

    Do you get depressed due to a sense of lacking purpose?

    Please let me know . . the more I know about how happy/unhappy atheists are and WHY the better.

    • I’m very happy and content in my life, thank you. :) I handle troubles in my life like most people do: working through them the best way I know how. When I was religious, I thought that was praying and letting something/someone else tell me what sorts of decisions to make or how to make them. Or in the case of prayer, imagining someone is telling you these things. Now I make my own decisions based on my own values and judgments. I do not lack a sense of purpose.
      It seems like your questions stem from many popular, erroneous assumptions about atheists somehow lacking in joy, drive, and a reason to live. I hope you can realize this just isn’t the case.

    • As an atheist, are you happy?

      My lack of belief in gods has nothing to do with my happiness but yes, I do consider myself to be happy. I have a job, a family, somewhere to live and interests that I enjoy. I am healthy and physically able and wealthy enough not to starve. Things could be better, of course but things could also be an awful lot worse.

      do you find yourself dissatisfied with life all the time or do you deal with lifes troubles in a positive way?

      I do find myself dissatisfied from time to time. When this happens I try to change the thing that irks me and if I can’t change it I try not to let it bother me and avoid it.

      Do you get depressed due to a sense of lacking purpose?

      I have never really suffered from depression.

      Please let me know . . the more I know about how happy/unhappy atheists are and WHY

      I assume that you are a Christian? If so how do you answer these questions?

      In my view a Christian believes in a magical father figure who rewards and punishes people for their beliefs (and sometimes their actions) a bit like Santa. I’m simplified of course but if I believed in such a figure I would certainly feel stressed at the prospect of a supreme being examining my life, looking for faults and judging me. It would probably depress me and make me very unhappy even though I know that I do more good with my actions that harm. I make a point of it in the way that I live my life.

      I live my life in a way that makes me feel joy. I often feel joy when I help others or prevent a wrong from happening. It makes me happy when I solve a problem or explain something so that someone else is able to solve a problem. I have an unwritten social contract with the rest of society. I act in a way that is compassionate and accepting and expect society to do the same. I’m often disappointed by others but that doesn’t change my end of the bargain and I’m always happy to correct people who are on a path to self destruction.

      My only judge is my own conscience. When I make a mistake it is my fault and my responsibility to correct. Nobody keeps score but me and that means that I have to be careful. Nobody is going to fix things but me. When something bad happens I can’t blame Satan or demons or aliens or similar nonsense. I just have to pick myself up and carry on.

      In my view Christians don’t take responsibility and act as if they are the judge for their absent deity. There are exceptions of course but the faith itself is so infested with bad elements that it just doesn’t appeal to me. It wouldn’t anyway, not even if I could somehow convince myself that it was true.

    • I cannot help being an atheist. It’s not a belief, nor is it faith. It’s a chain of reasoning that end up in a conclusion. Therefore it has no bearing on whether or not I am happy.

      I prefer two questions: Are you an atheist? Are you happy? I answer yes to both. But there I suspect there is no direct causality. I would venture that I have more control of my own decisions and by not using subjectivism or what a silly book tells me what to do, I can make my own good choices based on what leads me to happiness rather than what a book tells me if I should be happy.

      This leads me to your second question. I am not necessarily satisfied with life because I always ask for more out of life. I am not content. That is not a bad thing. I always want better things.

      Lately I started having to take prescription medicine for genetic stuff that is aggravating. But I accept it as a scientific fact and not a curse that any spaghetti monster put on me. I work around my health situations and compensate for it. My medicine in fact is making me better.

      Your third question is an extremely loaded question. It presumes an atheist has a lack of purpose. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I do have a purpuse: To flourish, for one thing. I also like to improve the quality of life for humanity and profit along the way. I get a lot of enjoyment when I am told by my clients that they consider me a valuable engineer and they also tell my headhunters the same thing. I think part of my own purpose, which I define (very important), is to do my job very well in my profession, and I’ve been in my field for over 25 years and love it!

  7. If what you say is true . . . . then in fact the belief in God isn’t needed to have a sense of purpose . . what a strange world I live in. . .. seemingly designed . .. yet running on its own physics and limited free will.

    • Hi, Mike,

      I’m actually happier as an atheist than I was as a person of faith. I have the same life, the same joys and concerns, and the same coping skills; what is missing is the guilt over normal human emotions. For example, when things are rough I can be upset they are rough, instead of guilty over not trusting God enough. When someone dies I can feel my grief and anger and not try to make myself feel better that they are in a “better place.”

      The comfort I used to feel in prayer is now much greater in thought, reflection and quiet time; I know the answer is in me so I get to work to figure it out, not feel I’ve failed because prayer hasn’t helped.

      I have a very strong sense of purpose, maybe stronger now than when I was a person of faith. I used to wait to find out my purpose and hope I was following some mysterious purpose. Now I know there is no predestined, outside purpose; there is a purpose, but it is whatever _I_ say it is. My purpose is to make the world a better place, and to appreciate the life and resources I have by being respectful use of them and using them to benefit and not hurt others.

      I think this would be a very strange world if someone actually designed it this way, and it didn’t come together by chemicals combining to create proto-life and then environmental circumstances allowing some organisms to reproduce more than others.

      You’ve heard of the panda’s thumb, right? (It has a thumb, but not a thumb-bone – a wrist bone is elongated to be a thumb.) The giraffe’s larynx nerve? (It starts in the brain, goes all the way down the neck to loop around and go back up to the voicebox). Our own eyes? (There is a blind spot. Our brain fills in the missing information).

      None of this and million other observed facts make any sense if this were designed. For what possible reason would a deity design important body systems in a clunky and awkward way? However, if as soon as a small change in an organism is just good enough to give an edge in reproducing, then that gene spreads through the population, then these odd things make sense.

  8. anti_supernaturalist

    Disturbed by the shadows of “God”?

    Still playing god-proxies’ games?
    Theo-religio-philosophical conundrums that do not exist?
    Nietzsche calls them ’shadows of God’ — Gay Science sections 108-127.

    Philosophical knots inherited from dead xian culture;
    Imported from teleology (Purpose) and cosmology (Design).
    Copernicus (unintentionally) killed Aristotle and Plato;
    Darwin killed both Purpose and Design in biology.
    (God-proxies hate creativity).

    Free will? Unfree will? There is no ‘will’, free or unfree.
    “The primitive sign of wanting is trying to get.” — Wittgenstein
    Minds and bodies? There are no ‘minds’; there are no ‘bodies’.
    “A nothing would be as good as a something about which
    nothing could be said” — Wittgenstein.

    Only persons using language, creating cultures, exist.
    There are no monads.

    Epicurus has a ‘swerve’ — QM indeterminacy is not analogous.
    Uncaused events explain nothing.
    Universal deterministic causation would not preclude novel events — Spinoza.
    Universal mathematical necessity does not preclude creativity.

    Very ancient notions of dead ‘body’ and ‘last warm breath = psyche/anima/soul’;
    Wishful thinking about post-mortem existence tarted up as a reward for good behavior.
    ‘Intention’ as a precursor to ‘willing’ is morality as social control by god-proxies.
    “When will these shadows of God cease to trouble us?” — Nietzsche

    the anti_supernaturalist

  9. 4. When told about the history of civilization, I am can be sure that I am shown people of my religion made it what it is.

    The plain fact is that Christianity has been a huge factor in the development of Western society. I don’t think that any thoughtful Christian would say it is the only factor, however. The Greeks and the Romans, and other things, are factors, as well. But to try and understand the history of Western civilization without including the large contribution of Christianity to many facets of Western life would be intellectually dishonest.

    And what’s more, I can recall no Christian (perhaps a lunatic on the fringe maybe, but no mainstream Christian) saying that Christians made Chinese civilization what it is, or Indian civilization what it is. So to say that Christians claim that they have made all of civilization what it is today is an unfounded generalization.

    Though it may seem like a “Christian privilege” that Christianity must be discussed in order to fully understand the history of Western civilization, I think that it is merely something that must be done in order to have the complete and an honest discussion about the development and history of Western civilization.

  10. Really what is the point of this list, besides to state that America was established on Western European Christian thought, so now the American experiment has traditions coming from such a background. If its founders had been Isalmic it seems rational to assume widespread traditions based, on said faith would come about. America for all it’s errors has been extremely tolerate in the 20th century in allowing it’s primary faith to be mocked, challenged and what not by followers of different viewpoints and letting one for the most part to practice whatever, within the content law.

    Being one that has practiced varying thought processes, and have assorted with a wide variety of people what has struck me about many devout Christians is their generosity, and family love. Being a latch key kid, because my parents where on their inner voyages might have given me insights, but not without a sense of puposeless. If I could believe a lie that would induce me to be kinder and happier, with a sense of belonging and reason for being – I’d join in a flash.

  11. To be honest I think many of the items on this list are misleading and not actually examples of Christian privilege so much as they are either instances representing the dominant culture and/or failures in our society living up to its responsibilities. Specific comments below:

    1. It is likely that state and federal holidays coincide with my religious practices, thereby having little to no impact on my job and/or education.

    The only two openly Christian holidays still on the books are Christmas and Thanksgiving, and the former has been co-opted to be mainly a commercial holiday nowadays (though yes, Christians can still celebrate it if they will). It also happens to coincide with the global solstice holiday, the Jewish Hanukkah and others. So while it may still be called Christmas it is actually celebrated for different reasons by different groups and is not restricted to just Christians. I don’t actually think the holiday issue is appropriate as an example of Christian privilege, but that’s JMO.

    2. I can talk openly about my religious practices without concern for how it will be received by others.

    I’m not sure that is true. As a Christian when I talk about my religious beliefs of late (and I do rarely) unless I know I am in a group of Christians it may or may not be received well. Just my experience anyway.

    3. I can be sure to hear music on the radio and watch specials on television that celebrate the holidays of my religion.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with privilege at all. After all, the dominant social group will see mainly shows, etc. that cater to it because they are put on by people of similar background. With 600+ cable channels and unknown radio shows it is up to any group, dominant or not to put on shows for themselves if they wish them. It is unrealistic to think that a Christian (or any other person/group) should be expected to put on shows for something in which they have no interest. Obviously there should be no discrimination in place, but I have not seen that either. For this item at least if you want it then you need to put it on yourself.

    4. When told about the history of civilization, I am can be sure that I am shown people of my religion made it what it is.

    While true to a certain extent (and yes, it can be viewed as an excuse), it is *very* impractical to teach children every single culture, religion, etc. across the globe in the name of “fairness.” Unless of course you wish to extend the school year which as a taxpayer I am not exactly in favor of doing. The origins of this country stem mainly from European immigrants and any history has to begin there. If we wish to include elements of Chinese history for them helping the west be built or African-American history (post slavery) then also good. Perhaps adding in Native American history (which actually my High School did teach to a degree) would be nice as well. But ultimately by adding things in you have to take other things out and what important elements would you have them choose? Can you actually teach “world” history over the course of say 6 years in High School? I don’t think so. I think from a pragmatic standpoint teachers and schools have to pick and choose which ones are most relevant to our society. Since America was founded initially from Europeans then teaching European history such as Rome, Greece, etc. would seem most relevant. At least for this particular issue I think expecting to teach things that people in this country need to know should outweigh the need to teach every possible cultural alternative or contribution. That’s what individual courses in college are for, to explore the other elements that could not be taught in a simple baseline.

    5. I can worry about religious privilege without being perceived as “self-interested” or “self seeking.”

    Perhaps, but so what? Any minority, religious or otherwise will probably always be seen as such by the majority group(s). Until you reach a point where there is no majority I think expecting this to be otherwise is naive at best.

    6. I can have a “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker or Icthus (Christian Fish) on my car and not worry about someone vandalizing my car because of it.

    I would agree, but frankly this speaks of some very poor “Christians” who would think to do such things. Vandalism is vandalism no matter how you look at it.

    7. I can share my holiday greetings without being fully conscious of how it may impact those who do not celebrate the same holidays. Also, I can be sure that people are knowledgeable about the holidays of my religion and will greet me with the appropriate holiday greeting (e.g., Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, etc.).

    Really? I have never had anyone I know (Christian or otherwise) say something like Happy Hanukkah and not responded politely in return. If you take offense at someone expressing their sentiments then IMO it is on you. That is after all the most basic American right, the right of free speech (1st Amendment after all). As for the knowledge element, again it goes back to the dominant group whether it’s religious or otherwise. I don’t go to a Mosque and expect them to respond accordingly if I wish them a Happy Easter (though realistically they might since Islam includes Christ as a prophet, just one prior to Mohammed). What you are listing as privilege is to be expected any time you have a dominant social group. So while you may have a right to practice your own religion (or none at all), expecting the rest of society to know about yours is inappropriate IMO. I don’t have to go learn about Hinduism if I don’t want to/have a need to do so and I should not be expected to do so. I do because I have friends that are Hindus and I want to be polite to them in return. However, I don’t expect them to know about my beliefs if/when I am in India.

    8. I can probably assume that there is a universality of religious experience.

    Again, not restricted to Christianity. This is based on dominant/majority social groups and would be true if the majority were comprised of a different element. For instance, if I am in Iraq I would expect the universality of religious experience to be Islam, not my own.

    9. I can deny Christian Privilege by asserting that all religions are essentially the same.

    Is this really a privilege? Technically anyone from any religion could say the same and if you are talking eastern religions like Buddhism/Hinduism they actually believe that.

    10. I probably do not need to learn the religious or spiritual customs of others, and I am likely not penalized for not knowing them.

    And why would you be expected to learn a religion other than your own? As for penalizing you for not knowing, I don’t know what you mean. If you don’t understand or know anything about Christianity then how does that keep you from getting a job, getting a driver’s license, voting, walking down the street, etc.? This one makes no sense at all.

    11. I am probably unencumbered by having to explain why I am or am not doing things related to my religious norms on a daily basis.

    Ummm… I don’t know where you’re living, but in all the places I know of nowadays the “religious norms” are not questioned and unless you are a member of the church and you then don’t attend no one says anything if you aren’t there on a regular basis. This is pretty much totally false nowadays, though admittedly maybe 30+ years ago it was an issue.

    12. I am likely not judged by the improper actions of others in my religious group.

    If by this you mean along the lines of judging all Muslims by the actions of an extreme few then I would agree. That is a failing on the part of the individual as well as the demonizing that has gone on regarding Islam since 9/11. Christians by and large are not judged by the radical fringe within their own group (such as the Westboro Baptist Church for instance), though the amount of anti-Christian rhetoric in the Atheist community is pretty vehement as well. Based on what I’ve read in the past 2-3 years it seems this is becoming less and less true.

    13. If I wish, I can usually or exclusively be among those from my religious group most of the time (in work, school, or at home).

    Agreed, but as I said that’s a function of the dominant social group and would be true regardless who was the majority unless it happened to be your own.

    14. I can assume that my safety, or the safety of my family, will not be put in jeopardy by disclosing my religion to others at work or at school.

    Agreed.

    15. It is likely that mass media represents my religion widely AND positively.

    Again, it’s the dominant social group thing. You seem to think that such privileges are restricted to Christians and they are not. While it may indeed be a privilege, it is not an inappropriate one by any stretch of the imagination, yet posts like this one would attempt to lead others to believe that they should be. You seem to want to use these as a way to demonstrate that the Christian majority in this country should not have some of the privileges they have because they are unearned, yet that is a natural element of the social order, i.e. the majority will by default gain some privileges simply due to numbers. If the majority is made up of Christians and you assume a commensurate percentage in all segments of society then you will ultimately have that percentage of perspectives on the issue represented in the media. Again, this is not wrong, but you would seem to want to portray it as so.

    16. It is likely that I can find items to buy that represent my religious norms and holidays with relative ease (e.g., food, decorations, greeting cards, etc.).

    No offense, but this is simple business. If nothing else America is a capitalist/consumerist society and if a given population supports *anything* then some company will provide it in order to make a buck. If Buddhist cards make money then we’ll sell them at Walmart. That’s just who we are. If you cannot find them then perhaps your local community doesn’t have enough people of your ethnic group to support a large commercial presence. I guarantee you go to Chinatown in San Francisco and you can find all the Chinese items you ever wanted. Same with the Jewish neighborhood in New York. Being in a minority (religious or otherwise) in a free society means you may have to search a little harder for things that are exclusive to your culture. Expecting this to be otherwise means you want the majority to cater to your needs and that’s not right either. Your rights can and should be protected so that you can indeed operate freely here, but if you expect some help from the government to subsidize your minority status then that’s altogether wrong.

    17. I can speak or write about my religion, and even critique other religions, and have these perspectives listened to and published with relative ease and without much fear of reprisal.

    Perhaps, but frankly I don’t think most people care in this country. If you want to speak/write about your beliefs then by all means do so. That’s why we have the 1st Amendment.

    18. I could write an article on Christian Privilege without putting my own religion on trial.

    Provide an example here. I have read some good thoughts on Christian privilege by a variety of authors and segmenting out the bias is sometimes difficult. It seems some people think that because by our Constitutional Republic we have rule by the majority, but protection of the minority that we should artificially inflate the influence minorities have in our culture, thus penalizing the majority simply for being the majority. That would just be altogether wrong, but that seems to be what some people would like to happen (mainly because they are unhappy they aren’t in the majority if you ask me).

    I am not denying there are elements of Christian privilege in the US. I do not, however, think most of them are inappropriate because they could change the moment Christians are no longer in the majority. I am not in favor of artificially inflating the influence *any* minority has on a society.

    19. I can travel without others assuming that I put them at risk because of my religion; nor will my religion put me at risk from others when I travel.

    True, but this has more to do with the current xenophobic reaction westerners have to the militant Islamics who have demonstrated the willingness to harm others in the name of their religion. No matter what you say about Christians, we mostly don’t go around strapping bombs to our bodies and blowing up airplanes filled with innocent passengers or cutting off the heads of prisoners on video and then sending it to be broadcast on CNN (yes, there are exceptions, but the ratio is negligible in comparison). In my opinion this is as much the fault of Muslims as anyone else because they have done a very poor job distancing themselves from the fringe. If you won’t distance yourself from radicals then there is some basis in others not wanting to trust you. Just my opinion anyway.

    20. I can be financially successful without the assumption from others that this success is connected to my religion.

    Huh? This one is patently false. I work with Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Americans, Europeans, etc. in my job and I have *never* seen anyone claim that someone else was successful because of their religion. There have been allegations of favoritism depending on who hired who, but it was more culturally based comments rather than religion. Short of the anti-Semitism of the Nazis I cannot think of a recent instance in western history where a religious group was deemed to be successful because of their religion. The only exception I may make is the Mormons, but frankly that’s because as a group they tend to help each other and work together. Other groups could take a lesson from them in my opinion.

    21. I can protect myself (and my children) from people who may not like me (or them) based on my religion.

    I don’t understand? Are you prohibited from protecting yourself because of your religion? As far as I know every citizen is allowed to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. If you talking about your children being bullied in schools, then yes, I can see that. Unfortunately kids can be horrible to one another, though there are always options to force the school to act, improve education, etc. I know not all of them work as well as they should though.

    22. Law enforcement officials will likely assume I am a non-threatening person if my religion is disclosed to them. In fact, disclosure may actually help law enforcement officials perceive me as being “in the right” or “unbiased.”

    I think it is an assumption that you think telling the cops you are Christian will help you be viewed as “unbiased.” I know several cops and frankly, working with the worst elements of our society on a daily basis makes you distrustful of pretty much everyone. Religion would seem to be the last thing they care about nowadays. Most I know of are more concerned if you are illegal, running drugs, gang member, etc. Just my opinion anyway.

    23. I can safely assume that any authority figure will generally be someone of my religion.

    Again, majority population percentages are representative throughout any given society. This is not restricted to religion.

    24. I can talk about my religion, even proselytize, and be characterized as “sharing the word,” instead of imposing my ideas on others.

    Perhaps, but from my experience *NO* religion views other religions proselytizing in a positive light. In fact, there are countries where they still execute you for doing so. At least in this country you have a right to speak as you wish on any topic, religion being one of them. Unless you are experiencing outright discrimination then I think that’s the best you can hope for really given the nature of religion in general. After all, people have a right to disagree with you as well. In that regard our Constitution is working as designed.

    25. I can be gentle and affirming to people without being characterized as an exception to my religion.

    Short of Satanism, I have never heard this -ever- and I’ve studied a great number of religions over the years. If you are a good person then people treat you as just that, *especially* in this country.

    26. I am never asked to speak on behalf of all Christians.

    This has more to do with the aforementioned knowledge of other religions that Christians often do not have. If I were in a Muslim country and had a question about Islam I would ask someone to explain it to me. Heck, I’m not Catholic so when I have a question about Catholicism I ask a friend of mine. This is just people who don’t understand asking to understand. So while you can perhaps not speak for everyone in your religion, you can speak to what you personally believe. Do you know how many evangelicals would kill (figuratively speaking of course) for such an opportunity?

    27. My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my religion.

    I do not know what criteria the police use for investigations. However, whether you like to believe it or not, the threat of terrorism is real and if you come from somewhere known to harbor them then you will be investigated more heavily I would hope. That is just the cold hard reality of what we are up against today. If it changes sometime in the future then great. Until then I think it is a necessary evil in order to protect everyone in this country, *including* those who may be from the same culture as those who would try to harm us.

    28. My place of worship is probably not targeted for violence because of sentiment against my religion.

    If *any* place of worship in this country is targeted by violence then that is wrong and the police need to address it. I would point out though that so-called ‘hate crimes’ by definition cannot happen to Christians either. It’s only a hate crime if it’s a minority who is harmed, religious or otherwise.

    29. I can be sure that my religion will not work against me when seeking medical or legal help.

    Specific examples please. I don’t know of anywhere that would turn away someone for medical help based on religion. And Lawyers, well, they are not exactly known for turning away anyone with money in my experience.

    30. My religion will not cause teachers to pigeonhole me into certain professions based of the assumed “prowess” of my religious group.

    I cannot speak to what teachers do or do not do. However, a person’s profession is their own choice, not that of a teacher.

    31. I will not have my children taken from me from governmental authorities who are aware of my religious affiliation.

    Specific examples please. I know of absolutely zero instances where a person’s children have been taken from them based on their religious affiliation. My best friend works in social services and they take children away when there is risk of abuse, neglect, etc. Religion plays zero part in their decisions or actions and they take children from families of all religious beliefs, including Christians. I claim complete falsehood on this statement.

    32. Disclosure of my religion to an adoption agency will likely not prevent me from being able to adopt children.

    I do not know of adoption agency policies, but frankly, I smell a red herring here. Please provide examples of discrimination based on religion if you wish to promote this as fact.

    33. If I wish to give my children a parochial religious education, I probably have a variety of options nearby.

    Again, social majority. If you are in a minority religion and move away from somewhere where there are other people who share your beliefs, expecting to have support services for those beliefs is hardly grounds for claiming unjust/unearned privilege against those who do.

    34. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence and importance of my religion.

    Last I recall religion is not a taught subject in K-12 except in private schools. If we are talking about the history of America then you cannot get away from the fact that the Founding Fathers left Europe for religious reasons. No offense, but non-Christian religions didn’t exactly play a large part in the first 50 yours of this country’s existence and if they are not taught because of that then I’m okay with it. I want actual *history* taught to our children, not some hodge-podge of random information that has no coherent train of progress in learning. What good does it do to teach people about Buddha for instance if you cannot relate him to the development of early American society? None, just like if I were in India and trying to relate Native American tribal society to the caste system. The more I read these supposed “privileges” the more it seems like just a list of things the majority gets because they are the majority and almost none of them are the unearned or inappropriate situations some people would like to believe about America. When you talk unearned or inappropriate then you need to focus on things unfairly given to a particular segment of society by the government, not those things that happen as a result of demographics. I’m not saying there aren’t elements of Christian privilege in our society, but of the ones you list almost none of them are societally wrong.

    35. I can be sure that when someone in the media is referring to God, they are referring to my (Christian) God.

    True. But then the term “God” is the one used by Judeo-Christians. Other religions tend to use their own word for Him/Her/Whatever. What exactly would you have them refer to a deity by, some random name? Again, social demographics issue, not a Christian-centric one. I expect in Egypt the term is probably Allah on most of their networks.

    36. I can easily find academic courses and institutions that give attention only to people of my religion.

    Social demographics.

    37. My religious holidays are so completely “normal” that, in many ways, they may appear to no longer have any religious significance at all.

    If this is a privilege of Christians then I fail to see it. If it were Christian-centric then Christmas would actually feature Christ more often than does the Great American Holiday to Consumerism that it has becomes. If anything this is a perfect example of how to destroy a religious holiday by making it into a secular one.

    38. The elected and unelected officials of my government probably are members of my religious group.

    Social demographics. People vote for those who look like, act like and believe like they do.

    39. When swearing an oath, I am probably making this oath by placing my hand on the scripture of my religion.

    You are not required to use the Bible to swear oaths anymore, nor are you required to use the phrase “So help me God.” You have that option, but you are free not to do so. Is this not fair to all involved when you have a choice?

    40. I can openly display my religious symbol(s) on my person or property without fear of disapproval, violence, and/or vandalism.

    Vandalism is vandalism and is a crime. If that is happening go to the police plain and simple.

    There are some really good books and information about Christian privilege out there, but realistically I think pointing out that societies favor the majority population is just trying to get emotional support for the fact that someone is not in that majority and trying to obtain actual unfair advantages for said minority. I am all in favor of eliminating discrimination. I am not in favor of artificially propping up minority elements so that they have more influence than they should. As I said earlier, rule by the majority while protecting the minority. The way you protect is to prevent discrimination. It is not to tell people they have to vote in a Muslim now because we have enough Christians in government, or that we have to shop at the local Chinese supermarket because too many Christians have already shopped at Walmart. The latter is patently ridiculous.

  12. Two replies missed the point so badly its almost irritating. Should have started the post with an explanation of what privilege is. These dissections remind me of MRA responses on a feminist site.

  13. In my opinion(I cristian): if you want to wear a symbol of your religion, do it. If you want to bow down in Times Square, do it. I love freedom of religion! But when you take my freedoms is when I stand my ground. It is a CRISTMAS tree, it is ok on private property to have a manger seen, I can pray in school (my school you can get detention if they catch you!). I have Jewish friends, Hindu friends, atheist friends (no Muslims at school :( ). Go fûçk yourself if you do this cr@p!

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