White Christian Privilege - The Illusion of Religious Equality in America

Christianity’s overwhelming social power shapes America today, even when religious discrimination is mistaken for racism or obscured in debates over immigration or national identity. The United States’ most powerful and enduring myth is that it was created as a haven of religious freedom for all, and that the First Amendment makes people of all faiths, and of no faith, genuinely equal before the law.

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It is time for the world’s most religiously-diverse nation to understand that, in fact, Christian privilege has always been embedded in U.S. policy, politics, and society’s rules and assumptions about who belongs and who doesn’t. Drawing upon her decades of research and teaching, and on the literature in legal studies, history, sociology, religion, ethnic studies, and education, Khyati Y. Joshi maps the origins of Christian privilege and the entwinement of Christianity and Whiteness in American national identity. She traces these phenomena from their European orientalist roots, to the American colonial era and Westward expansion, through 19th-century immigration and citizenship policies, to present-day social movements. Using the voices of Christians and religious minorities, Joshi explores the effects of Christian privilege and White racial norms on how all sorts of Americans live religion in the present day. In doing so, she poses and begins to answer the most urgent question Americans may face today: How to become a "more perfect union" – a religiously pluralistic democracy that leaves White Christian supremacy behind.