A study led by a University of Illinois professor suggests that Americans who oppose same-sex marriage or adding LGBT classifications to discrimination laws want to maintain a sense of “Christian privilege and hegemony.”
The study, published in the American Journal of Community Psychology, surveyed over 1,015 heterosexual college undergraduates who self-identified as either Christian (68%) or nonreligious.
The respondents were asked a series of questions to determine their “thoughts and attitudes about Christian privilege and power in American society” as well as whether they support or oppose discrimination protections being extended to people who identify as LGBT.
The study was led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign psychology professor Nathan Todd, whose research interests include “how religion and Whiteness shape individual and group engagement with social justice.”
The study was released ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday ruling extending federal civil rights laws to include protections for gay, lesbian and transgender workers from discrimination. The decision came nearly five years after the court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
“Although same-sex marriage is now the law of the land in the U.S., there continue to be problems with employment discrimination, housing discrimination and other types of discrimination against sexual and gender minorities,” Todd said in a statement published by the university last Thursday.
“One of the key barriers to those rights has been opposition from some Christian and political conservatives. We wanted to know whether people’s ideas about political power explain some of this opposition.”
In the study, respondents were asked to rank how strongly they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements, such as whether they believed “to be Christian is to have a religious advantage in this country,” and if “Christianity is valued more in this society than other religions.”
The participants were also asked whether they think Christians “should have” a “religious advantage in this country” or if Christianity “should be valued more in this society than other religions.”
According to Todd, these questions differentiated participants’ awareness of advantages conferred to Christians in the U.S. from the belief that such advantages are right and should exist.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith