Wednesday, July 11, 2018
I recently came across a new study by doctoral student Lindsey Disney exploring the question of whether a person's Christian affiliation was correlated with her othering and humanitarian attitude, including toward Muslims.
The findings are troubling and warrant further exploration. Disney found that "participants who reported that Muslims are incompatible with Western ways were nearly 1.4 times more likely to identify as Christian."
Below is the abstract to her paper, which you can find here.
Associations Between Humanitarianism, Othering, and Religious Affiliation
-- Lindsey Disney, Social Work & Christianity. Vol. 44 Issue 3, p 60-74 (Fall 2017)
"The Christian church in the U.S. has historically played the roles of both advocator and oppressor of the disenfranchised. Christian views on advocacy, justice, social welfare, and social services are often intertwined with the mainstream opinions of the time. Yet, some groups of Christians have also been at the forefront of human rights movements, convicted by their religious beliefs. Currently, in the wake of 9/11, mass migration, and the rise of populism in the U.S., there is a collective anxiety in the U.S. against immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.
Attitudes of othering--"us versus them"--have targeted these internationally vulnerable groups. This study examined whether othering attitudes and humanitarian attitudes could predict Christian religious affiliation, using the 2012 Chicago Council Survey on American Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, a representative national sample of adults (N = 1702). Logistic regression analysis examined the relationships between othering attitudes (belief that the U.S. is inherently greater than other nations and attitudes towards immigrants, refugees, and Muslims), humanitarian attitudes (importance of defending and promoting human rights and combatting world hunger), and religious affiliation (Christian or Non-Christian).
Results showed humanitarian variables were not significant predictors of religious affiliation. However, othering variables were significant predictors of religious affiliation. This study offers insight into the increased need to address the subtle discrimination that may be negatively affecting Christian community engagement with disenfranchised immigrant, refugee, and Muslim groups."
-- Read the full article here.