A study on American’s attitudes towards their own culture showed large divides in individuals' perceptions of issues regarding discrimination, immigration and the state of the nation.
The study was released on June 23 by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan and nonadvocacy private research group. The study sought to examine attitudes about race, religion and cultural changes in relation to the political shifts of the 2016 presidential election.
According to the study, about 77 percent of white evangelical Protestants and a majority of other Christians surveyed said they believed that discrimination against Christians is as big a problem today as discrimination against other religious groups. More than 70 percent of non-Christians surveyed disagreed.
Religious discrimination is a growing concern among American Christians, reports The Atlantic. Recent Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage, abortion, birth control and immigration have raised objections from conservative Christians, and religious liberty has become a prominent issue in the upcoming election, particularly for Republican voters.
“Orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us,” wrote conservative commentator Rod Dreher, quoted in the National Catholic Reporter. “We are going to have to learn to live with at least a mild form of persecution ... The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist.”
The study notes that there were also significant class and education-level divides in the responses to this question. For example, only 38 percent of college-educated whites said they believed discrimination against Christians was a significant problem.
When asked about discrimination based on race, about 57 percent of white Americans surveyed said they believed that discrimination against whites is as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Fewer than 29 percent of black Americans and 38 percent of Hispanic Americans surveyed agreed.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Janell Ross says, “There’s just no evidence to back that up,” citing data that she says shows white Americans tend to live longer, healthier lives with higher-quality jobs, education and housing.