21 February 2009

Is there a "Christian" Privilege in America?

From the Ames (IA) Tribune...
Three professors from Iowa State University have co-authored a book on the "Christian privilege" prevalent in America.  They contend that technology is bringing the world (and its 15,000 religions) together and forcing Americans to notice the prevalence of Christianity in their culture and evaluate whether it is good for all.

But, according to the authors, this isn't "anti-Christian":
Hector Avalos, ISU professor of religious studies, who wrote a chapter in the book, stressed that pointing out Christian privilege isn’t the same as being “anti-Christian.”

In fact, it invokes the very Christ-like quality of being willing to give up something to benefit another person.
The article then gives educators instructions for detecting the offensive "blurry Christianity" present in their schools.
Joanne Marshall, assistant professor of educational leadership studies and policy studies published an article last May in “The School Administrator,” describing the shift from the Christian majority in U.S. demographics and its implication for public education.
“What I call a ‘blurry Christianity’ continues to have a place in some public schools,” she said, even though a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows an increasing number of people claim different faiths or no faith affiliation.

Marshall proposes four questions to help educators dismantle Christian privilege:

• What religious-related practices are in place in our district?

• What educational purpose does this school practice serve?

• Does that educational purpose violate anyone’s religious or nonreligious belief?

• How can we reconcile majority and minority religious viewpoints when they conflict?

Blumenfeld has a few suggestions for Christians.

“Educate yourself about other religions and our nation’s history. Don’t feel threatened by non-Christians,” he said. “Look at our nation as a lovely tapestry. On the backside, the threads are knotted and messy. On the front, it forms a beautiful image. And finally, ‘love thy neighbor’ is the creed to live by.”
There is no tolerance for what is true in the dialectic and it is not Christ-like to give up the very truth that saves for someone's short-term benefit.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Oh man..... wow... that post sounds a LOT what I have heard in my HDFS classes. White privilege and now Christian privilege are very much talked about in the university. For example, one girl did a wonderful activity making wreathes with the preschoolers who attend the on-site center. She shared this in a mid-term paper, and the professor really tore into her for doing so. I, being a TA added a comment that people in academe don't like this because it promotes only 1 culture. Yet I also added that the activity seemed well planned out, and the children did seem to enjoy it (from her description). I felt so bad for her. If she were to have done a non-Christian themed activity, her professor would not have added such harsh comments to her paper.

    Pray for academe and the Christian students within! Thanks for the post!