10 Forms of Christian Privilege

This is a US-centric view. Not all of these privileges apply in other western nations.

As a Christian:

  • your religious observances, both special holidays, and Sundays throughout the year, are likely to be available as work holidays with no special arrangement or employment difficulties;
  • you don’t need to fear that your children will be prevented from playing with their friends because of your religion;
  • you can identify your faith online, using your own name, without fear of repercussions to your job or business;
  • you can list your church involvement on your resume and expect it to be a positive indicator of your community spirit and moral integrity;
  • you can stand for public office without fear that a majority of the electorate will not vote for you on the basis of your Christianity;
  • you can fail, or do bad things, without those around you seeing this as caused by, or an indictment of your religion;
  • you can move to a new city and expect to find a broad range of Christian churches, open for you to attend and join;
  • you can form a new Church with others and expect have it granted tax exempt status without having to engage in complex litigation;
  • you can access local Christian schools and universities that will see your children through their entire schooling in a context that promotes your faith;
  • you can expect to see media reports discuss Christian prayer and the actions of God in response to unrelated incidents.

Of course there are many more. These are simply the ones I’ve encountered, or my non-Christian US friends have.

And, of course, to head off the criticisms of those who want to minimise privilege: these privileges vary in severity in different areas; there may be examples where the opposite happens (remember non semper ergo numquam); and in some cases some minority forms of Christianity may find themselves on the wrong end of these privileges too. It is important to remember that privilege is large scale, systemic and complex. That these privileges can be nuanced is not evidence they do not exist.


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8 responses to “10 Forms of Christian Privilege

  1. Not as major addition: You can identify your religion by actual brand name (Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.) and not just brand category.

  2. LOL — when I saw your comment listing these in your last post I thought, “Wow, perfect list. So many Christians are so clueless about all this. I should put these up on my blog.” But here they are again — well done, Ian.

    I’ve not read Greta Christina’s book “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”, but I wonder if it will have a lot of overlap — not to mention all the other stuff.

    Thanx Ian.

  3. Ian

    Thanks. I think the other list overlaps a little. Because I think as a Christian minster there are privileges you enjoy that other ministers wouldn’t. Your job in ministering to people is made a little easier.

  4. associatedluke

    “That these privileges can be nuanced is not evidence they do not exist.”
    -Well stated. And way to make this concept concrete!

  5. Ian

    @orange (really sorry it took a while to approve the comment, for some reason it got flagged) – yes, that’s another interesting angle.

  6. I was just pondering that as I filled out a visa application form to travel. As a non-Christian, do I tell the truth? It can’t be verified one way or another (I am not a member of any formal religious congregation), but will what I write make a difference?

  7. I agree, filling out “religious” preference on forms is a huge exposure in a Christian biased world — or, in any other world where perhaps different religions are detested.

  8. Ian

    I certainly would think twice about identifying as a muslim if I were applying for a US visa. I don’t think I would worry too much about being a ‘none’ though. As for your point, Sabio, yes, the very idea of it being a question at all is bizarre, if you think about it.

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