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White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America

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Exposes the invisible ways in which white Christian privilege disadvantages racial and religious minorities in America The United States is recognized as the most religiously diverse country in the world, and yet its laws and customs, which many have come to see as normal features of American life, actually keep the Constitutional ideal of "religious freedom for all" from b Exposes the invisible ways in which white Christian privilege disadvantages racial and religious minorities in America The United States is recognized as the most religiously diverse country in the world, and yet its laws and customs, which many have come to see as normal features of American life, actually keep the Constitutional ideal of "religious freedom for all" from becoming a reality. Christian beliefs, norms, and practices infuse our society; they are embedded in our institutions, creating the structures and expectations that define the idea of "Americanness." Religious minorities still struggle for recognition and for the opportunity to be treated as fully and equally legitimate members of American society. From the courtroom to the classroom, their scriptures and practices are viewed with suspicion, and bias embedded in centuries of Supreme Court rulings create structural disadvantages that endure today. In White Christian Privilege, Khyati Y. Joshi traces Christianity's influence on the American experiment from before the founding of the Republic to the social movements of today. Mapping the way through centuries of slavery, westward expansion, immigration, and citizenship laws, she also reveals the ways Christian privilege in the United States has always been entangled with notions of White supremacy. Through the voices of Christians and religious minorities, Joshi explores how Christian privilege and White racial norms affect the lives of all Americans, often in subtle ways that society overlooks. By shining a light on the inequalities these privileges create, Joshi points the way forward, urging readers to help remake America as a diverse democracy with a commitment to true religious freedom.


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Exposes the invisible ways in which white Christian privilege disadvantages racial and religious minorities in America The United States is recognized as the most religiously diverse country in the world, and yet its laws and customs, which many have come to see as normal features of American life, actually keep the Constitutional ideal of "religious freedom for all" from b Exposes the invisible ways in which white Christian privilege disadvantages racial and religious minorities in America The United States is recognized as the most religiously diverse country in the world, and yet its laws and customs, which many have come to see as normal features of American life, actually keep the Constitutional ideal of "religious freedom for all" from becoming a reality. Christian beliefs, norms, and practices infuse our society; they are embedded in our institutions, creating the structures and expectations that define the idea of "Americanness." Religious minorities still struggle for recognition and for the opportunity to be treated as fully and equally legitimate members of American society. From the courtroom to the classroom, their scriptures and practices are viewed with suspicion, and bias embedded in centuries of Supreme Court rulings create structural disadvantages that endure today. In White Christian Privilege, Khyati Y. Joshi traces Christianity's influence on the American experiment from before the founding of the Republic to the social movements of today. Mapping the way through centuries of slavery, westward expansion, immigration, and citizenship laws, she also reveals the ways Christian privilege in the United States has always been entangled with notions of White supremacy. Through the voices of Christians and religious minorities, Joshi explores how Christian privilege and White racial norms affect the lives of all Americans, often in subtle ways that society overlooks. By shining a light on the inequalities these privileges create, Joshi points the way forward, urging readers to help remake America as a diverse democracy with a commitment to true religious freedom.

30 review for White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I initially had no interest in reading this book but then I saw a review for it that, to me, felt like such a bad take that I just had to get the book and see for myself. This is written by a professor and reads like a textbook (in fact, I think it is a textbook), which doesn't exactly make it pleasure reading material, but it's such an important topic-- especially NOW-- that I honestly recommend reading it anyway. The only downside is t Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I initially had no interest in reading this book but then I saw a review for it that, to me, felt like such a bad take that I just had to get the book and see for myself. This is written by a professor and reads like a textbook (in fact, I think it is a textbook), which doesn't exactly make it pleasure reading material, but it's such an important topic-- especially NOW-- that I honestly recommend reading it anyway. The only downside is that the people who would actually benefit from this book the most are probably the same individuals who are going to rate it one star because of knee-jerk emotional reactions, which is a terrible shame. I come at this book from the perspective of being someone who is white but non-religious. I was not raised with religion in the home, and even though I know a little bit about Christianity, I'm really not all that familiar with it. In this book, the author, Khayti Y. Joshi, talks about the hegemony of Christianity in the United States, and how even people who are non-religious benefit from religious biases-- especially if they're white-- because people will typically assume you're Christian unless you tell them otherwise. The main assertions of this book are that (1) people often conflate patriotism with religious fervor-- specifically Christian religious fervor-- and the two should really be separate in order to have a more fair and just society because (2) there are now a number of individuals who identify as either non-religious or with religions that are not denominations of Christianity (Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, etc.) and (3) letting Christianity be the status quo for the United States results in either deliberate or accidental discrimination and failure to accommodate, whether it's forgetting to include a vegetarian option on a work function's menu or actively targeting and harassing members of a non-Christian religion (as we sadly saw in the post-9/11 atmosphere, onward). This book is definitely going to be a bitter pill for some people to swallow but I hope people read this and gain something from it. Most of the reviews I saw for it were quite positive and it made me happy to see many people who identified themselves as Christians reading this book and talking about how it made them think about how they could change and become more inclusive. As someone who is not religious, I can definitely see a lot of the ways that Christianity has seeped into the everday trappings of life in the United States, whether it's "God Bless the USA" signs, the "one nation under God" line in the pledge of allegiance (which I have never felt comfortable saying), the abundance of religious-themed cards at Christmas and cards with Christian iconography, and even the fact that our calendar revolves around Christian holidays, with things like Christmas and Easter being national holidays, but not things like Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, Diwali, Ramadan, or Hanukkah. Joshi talks, towards the end, about how some of her students find her classes divisive and take them to mean that she hates people who are different from her, which is a sad take. You can be critical of something you like or love, and taking issue with problematic facets of our country definitely does not mean that you hate the United States. I think the past four years have taught us all that we have LEAGUES of improvement left ahead of us, and just taking small steps to become more inclusive can lead to big changes for all of us as a whole. Whether it's giving employees religious holidays off (without forcing them to take their own PTO) or providing lists of ingredients and vegetarian alternatives at work and social events, you can make pretty big changes with very small steps. At the very least, this is a book that should make you stop and think. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rama Rao

    Christian America: Inequalities in the sanctuary The white Christian privilege in the American society has been discussed by the author who teaches Race and Religion at the Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Education. The book focuses on societal and institutional issues and offers strategies to achieve the goal of religious pluralism. The author observes that Christianity has dominated over 400 years by setting the tone and establishing the rules and assumptions about who belongs here. Wh Christian America: Inequalities in the sanctuary The white Christian privilege in the American society has been discussed by the author who teaches Race and Religion at the Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Education. The book focuses on societal and institutional issues and offers strategies to achieve the goal of religious pluralism. The author observes that Christianity has dominated over 400 years by setting the tone and establishing the rules and assumptions about who belongs here. What is acceptable and not acceptable in public discourse. As a result, the "freedom of religion" enshrined in the pages of the Constitution did not translate into everyday life, says the author. This is a very narrow way of looking at a nation built by pilgrims who escaped the dominance of Roman Catholic Church in Europe. As you turn the pages, the author becomes very preachy, and her criticism of American whites almost equates to the intensity of the current Black Lives Matter rallies that blames white America for racism. No wonder some of her students complained to the school that she hates whites! The author discusses the Executive Order 13769 (now 13780), titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, politically labeled as a “Muslim Ban.” She attributes this to the institution of American white Christianity! How could that be? During 2016 campaign Donald Trump explained the effects of more Muslim migrants in this country would lead to more “no go zones” and strengthen the Islamic sharia as it is happening now in Western Europe. The author states that this is not an exercise in political correctness, but an exploration of challenges deeply held beliefs about religious freedom in U.S. I wished the author could have taken a broader approach to debate race and religious freedom in this country. Did she ever question how religious minorities, especially people of Indian religions are treated in Islamic countries? And how religious minorities are unfairly subjected to Islamic laws? Jews and people of Indian religions adapt to Western culture and integrate with the new society. They do not indulge in Jihad, Fatwa, Ummah (commonwealth of Muslim believers), and Sharia laws. And they do not violently react to the criticism of their religion. We are living in a pandemic of political correctness where anything you say about race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. would be soundly judged and condemned! Most universities and colleges have become a citadel for left-wing faculty who advance liberal and progressive ideals. Patriotism is old news and traditional values are replaced with fascism. Professor Joshi is no different from the rest of them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Krystelle Fitzpatrick

    This book gives a wonderful insight into the way that America centres the needs of the Christian religion in everything that the country does, and other religions are just thrown into the mix, generally tokenised or left out of all considerations. This is especially clear when it comes to holidays and other issues, and, speaking from experience, you learn to leave things out of considerations so it doesn't get awkward. I've had exams on Yom Kippur and just had to deal with it, classes when I sho This book gives a wonderful insight into the way that America centres the needs of the Christian religion in everything that the country does, and other religions are just thrown into the mix, generally tokenised or left out of all considerations. This is especially clear when it comes to holidays and other issues, and, speaking from experience, you learn to leave things out of considerations so it doesn't get awkward. I've had exams on Yom Kippur and just had to deal with it, classes when I should be lighting menorah candles. It's not easy, and I appreciate this book bringing this narrative to the forefront. I especially appreciated the final chapter which makes note that it is important to know when to send what wish for what holidays depending on religion and just considering other people's lives and beliefs is so important. This book also gave a disturbing insight into the way that American Christians see themselves as not just the default, but the oppressed default. It makes me so sad to hear those who have not faced bigotry to the level that others have seeing their issues as equal, as it takes away from those who face those issues in a far more realistic fashion. I also appreciated how this book covered the way that the judiciary and executive take a fundamentally Christian approach as 'one nation under G-d' and that public holidays, considerations, and laws all follow suit. This is an important conversation that needs to be had, and I appreciate this book drawing attention to these issues.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gretel

    White Christian Privilege is about the visible and invisible ways of how White Christianity functions in the US by using and intersectional approach and showing how “Christianity” is oftentimes correlated to racial identity, namely Whiteness; nationality, US-American; and culture. As Joshi explains, “Christian”, “White”, and “American” are used interchangeably, showing the dominance of Whiteness within the Christian faith. Contrary to the theoretical equality of all religions, Christianity enjoy White Christian Privilege is about the visible and invisible ways of how White Christianity functions in the US by using and intersectional approach and showing how “Christianity” is oftentimes correlated to racial identity, namely Whiteness; nationality, US-American; and culture. As Joshi explains, “Christian”, “White”, and “American” are used interchangeably, showing the dominance of Whiteness within the Christian faith. Contrary to the theoretical equality of all religions, Christianity enjoys a great deal of understudied and unnamed privilege, which Joshi calls White Christian privilege, which leads to a structural advantage of Christianity through social, economic, and political power. This Christian normativity “makes Christian values intrinsic to [US] national identity, conveys the status of truth and rightness of Christian culture, and makes Christian language and metaphors and their underlying theology the national standard.” Some of these normative powers are overt while others remain subtle and ubiquitous, which makes it possible to claim that such privilege doesn’t exist despite the far-reaching spread of Christian culture. A subtle example would be that mentioning “God” would evoke images of a White, bearded elderly man instead of Hindu deity Shiva, Allah, or even Buddha. Because Christianity is historically defined by racial codings and Christianity was used to justify racist categories, it is imperative to understand Christianity not only from a religious standpoint but also a racial to explore the full extent of racism within Christian culture. Christians are not one homogenous entity but a diverse group of people and there is no denying that Black Christians still suffer from racist discrimination and are not seen as part of a Christian culture by many White Christians. In fact, Christianity is used to exclude Black people, including Black Christians, from Christian and therefore national identity. This is the reason why White right-wing terrorist, despite “fighting” for Christian values murder Black people: they are not seen as part of a Christian culture because Christian culture is tied to Whiteness and therefore to national identity. Because of this, Joshi introduced the term White Christian supremacy, which is the perfect way of describing the racial component of the dominant US American Christian culture, as it is, in fact, about white supremacy. Joshi marvelously shows how White Christianity functions by othering other identities, this includes, as mentioned above, other Christians, mainly people of color, but also US Americans that are not Christians, no matter their (lack of) religious affiliation. Every other identity – from Hindu and Buddhist, to Muslim and atheists – is the Other and the Otherness further strengthens when the person is an immigrant, a person of color, or from any other marginalized community. Already in the introduction, Joshi explains the history of White Christian supremacy, beginning with the Papal edicts that claim that any “heathen” land is free to conquer because only Christians could properly inhabit a land. This “Doctrine of Discovery” was the foundation of the colonization of Africa and later the Americas. Based on these edicts, politicians, intellectuals, and scholars would produce a large body of work by using Christianity and these edicts to establish a racial hierarchy to legitimize colonization and slavery. These ideas haven’t died out today because not only are they fundamental for the foundation of the US, they exist today as open discrimination, such as NIMBY or the Muslim Ban. Let’s also not forget how in the court of law, people swear on the Bible, children pledge allegiance to the US and God in school, God’s name is found on dollar bills, coins, and other slogans, and Christians can openly discriminate against millions of people and decline services and medical care. Despite the loud and tearful claims, White Christians are not under threat or being prosecuted. They are not the victims but they like to present themselves as such, even as martyrs, who fight against equality by claiming that equal rights are actually “an attack” and “taking their rights away”, when it’s just about a level playing field. Already in the introduction I was completely on board. The writing was eloquent, easily understandable, packed with sources and statistical data, and argumentatively sound. Joshi is able to immediately tell you what the book is about, bring excellent examples to underline her thesis, she explains concepts and terminology, and succinctly introduced the concept of the book and how she structured the chapters. The quality of writing is so outstanding that I couldn’t believe it was just an ARC except for very, very minor word repetitions. But otherwise, the introduction was the perfect example on how to immediately grasps a reader’s attention, introduce the topic and thesis, deliver a historical and theoretical overview, and explain what you’re about to read and how it is relevant to her thesis. Honestly, Joshi did a phenomenal job and I couldn’t stop myself from comparing her introduction with Jenkins’ from Comics and Stuff with was atrocious. Same publisher, yet vastly different writing quality between the ARCs. In fact, I’ve read a lot of ARCs published by New York University Press and only Jenkins’ was really awful. Joshi was so clear, her writing so elegant, her arguments so sound and scientifically backed up that I was excited to read this! The review is too long for GR. You can find the rest on my blog.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve Dustcircle

    A very hard to book, since I'm white, male, and having been religious. A must-read book for all Americans, especially the religious right. A very hard to book, since I'm white, male, and having been religious. A must-read book for all Americans, especially the religious right.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shelley B.

    From the moment I learned of its existence, I was excited about Khyati Y. Joshi’s new book, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America. After being very disappointed by Christian Privilege in US Education: Legacies and Current Issues by Kevin J. Burke and Avner Segall, I was ready to find a book that actually discussed what its title said it discussed, and this time I was definitely not disappointed. Joshi thoroughly breaks down the deeply baked in White Christianit From the moment I learned of its existence, I was excited about Khyati Y. Joshi’s new book, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America. After being very disappointed by Christian Privilege in US Education: Legacies and Current Issues by Kevin J. Burke and Avner Segall, I was ready to find a book that actually discussed what its title said it discussed, and this time I was definitely not disappointed. Joshi thoroughly breaks down the deeply baked in White Christianity at the heart of Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, White Supremacy, and our systems of laws, ethics, practices, language, and more. She does not ignore the importance of intersectionality, social justice, colonialism, slavery, and the impacts of White Christian hegemony not only on religious minorities but on atheists as well. My copy has sentences, phrases, and paragraphs highlighted throughout, often with separate questions or comments written in the margins, which is something I rarely, if ever, do with hardcover books. Often those questions and comments reflect my thoughts about future research on Christian privilege in nursing education—for example, when Joshi wrote, “In addition to providing a religious ‘purpose’ for an economic and territorial subjugation of others, the church, as it sought to convert non-Christians, used the Gospel message to encourage indigenous populations’ obedience to European colonial powers,” I wrote “Religious ‘purpose’ to nursing?” in the margin as a reminder to look into that specific aspect of Christianity and nursing education. I also highlighted a lot in the last two chapters, which deal more with how to “dismantle the structures in place…to replace the very notion of privilege with a fulfillment of the ideals of equality.” I didn’t always necessarily agree with Joshi’s recommendations to always be willing to engage others, because I have been cornered and demanded to show some standard of proof for something to someone in the guise of “I just want to talk to you and understand where you’re coming from” a few too many times. Joshi says, “Striving for social justice means being willing to interact with all kinds of people. You have a decision to make: are you ready to engage.” I say, sometimes we need to pull back from engaging in order to protect ourselves and engage again another day (or with another person, one who’s willing to actually engage with us rather than just attack us). Like many others, Joshi reminds us that it’s difficult to do the work on our own privilege, that we have to be willing to be uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable, in a good way, at some points when reading this book. I don’t always engage with my own Christian privilege, because, while I was raised Christian, I stopped believing any of it when I was in high school. Still, I have always enjoyed Christmas; I love the traditions of our family and sing and listen to Christmas music almost non-stop from around Thanksgiving to just after the new year. I am, however, one who rejects the idea of religion, especially Christianity; I feel my own brand of atheist Buddhism is superior. I do see Christianity as oppressive and “inherently at odds with liberatory consciousness” and have a hard time seeing the other side of that—no doubt partially because of where I live (Texas) and when I grew up (seeing the rise of evangelical Christianity and the “moral majority” growing from my childhood—I was born in 1965—to its completely ridiculously outsized impact today). Still, I would much rather have someone wish me “Happy Holidays” in December than anything else, and maybe that does reflect some thinking I need to do on how that phrase might impact those of other religions. Then again, I would have preferred Joshi spent more time talking about the impact of White Christian supremacy on those of us who actively reject Christianity and any belief in any sort of god. There are moments here and there when she addresses the topic of atheism, but the vast majority of the book is focused on minority religions. I may have been raised Christian, and I certainly benefit from that, but I may well hate people offering to pray for me even more than someone who practices another religion. There were a few other issues I encountered with the book. I wanted more specifics, for example, of how it’s not just White Christianity, it’s White Christian heteropatriachy. I truly believe that heteropatriarchy is an equal part of everything Joshi discusses throughout the book; just as it’s vitally important to include both White supremacy and Christianity in any discussion of our history, our present, and our hopefully emancipatory future, we must not forget that heteropatriarchy is, if anything, even more baked into Christianity than White supremacy. That is key when talking about nursing in particular, of course—at one point I scribbled, “What about the confluence of white Xtian heteropatriarchy in nursing ed?” in the margin—but I’d argue that we have a braid here, with Christianity, White supremacy, and heteropatriarchy as the three strands that cannot be separated from each other without the kind of radical social change Joshi rightfully espouses. Of course, just as Joshi is writing from the perspective of “a brown Hindu” who grew up in the American south, I’m writing from the perspective of a white bisexual atheist. Intersectionality is a thing, after all, and I’m sure Joshi would never expect any two people to have the same reaction to her book. Let’s hope that the multiplicity of our perspectives can work to “[fix] the American social structure of Christian privilege and [replace] it with a nation where all may feel included and live freely with all of our histories, ancestries, and beliefs respected.” But I can’t help wondering if Joshi would write that differently on this day than when she submitted the final draft however many months ago, because there are a lot of histories, ancestries, and beliefs that are impacting this country right now in unprecedented ways. It’s one thing to deal with White male students complaining that a professor “hates white people,” as happened to Joshi, or “hates white men,” as has happened to me; it’s another to deal with the very real impact of White Christian heteropatriarchy on all of us in the United States today.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Summary: Discussion of the cultural and real privilege of being a White Christian (or at least conversant in Christianity) in America. I recently read Taking America Back for God, a book about Christian Nationalism, and when I was writing up my review, one of the books recommended was White Christian Privilege. I did not know anything about the book or author, but it seemed to fit in my recent reading, and I picked it up. The author is a second-generation immigrant from Southeast Asia. She grew up Summary: Discussion of the cultural and real privilege of being a White Christian (or at least conversant in Christianity) in America. I recently read Taking America Back for God, a book about Christian Nationalism, and when I was writing up my review, one of the books recommended was White Christian Privilege. I did not know anything about the book or author, but it seemed to fit in my recent reading, and I picked it up. The author is a second-generation immigrant from Southeast Asia. She grew up in Atlanta and now is a professor specializing in race and religion. The premise of the book is explained by the title well; religious liberty is illusionary in the US because it primarily is rooted in the freedom to be Christian. White (Protestant) Christians are the default state, and others tend to be religious in relation to Christianity. (Robert Jones' book The End of White Christian America tells the opposite side of this story.) White Christian Privilege is not going to be received well by many that believe that Christianity is under attack or persecuted. And there is some small sense that demographic change is impacting the dominance of White Christians to some extent (the demographic trends are the primary focus of Jones' book). But demographics do not show the privilege that Christianity has baked into the United States culture and history. There are legitimate arguments about whether the US was founded as a 'Christian country,' but culturally, Christianity was normative (the default cultural expression.) While there have been Native Americans, Jews, and Muslims from very early in US history, Christianity has been dominant. So Christian assumptions about how religion works have also been normative. Christian holidays are national holidays (and Hindu holidays are not, and often not even known). A Hundi woman that wants to celebrate Diwali will have to request time off from work, but Christmas is a national holiday, and the workweek is oriented around the Christian calendar. These assumptions are not consciously chosen or intentionally discriminatory, but they do have an impact. (Similar to the way that crash test dummies were modeled initially after adult males and only later have changes been made to include women and children when it became clear that the single choice of crash test dummies negatively impacted women and children). The narration of religious liberty cases from the Supreme Court was particularly striking because I heard several people recently talk about how the Supreme Court has ruled so clearly for religious liberty recently. But the choice of which cases to include as religious liberty cases in those recent articles has been biased toward Christian cases, and religious liberty cases for others were not counted as losses. One of the striking points here is that recently there has been a string of complaints about how the courts have narrowed their understanding of what it means to practice faith to the explicit worship based practices, but that is similar to how the Protestant based Supreme Court of the mid-20th century understood non-Christian religious traditions. Religious obligations like wearing a headscarf (Islam) or not cutting your hair (Sikh) have been viewed as optional, like wearing a Christian cross necklace instead of a more central feature like taking communion would be for a Christian. One of the crucial points here is that individual Sikh men would go through lengthy and costly legal battles to be permitted to wear turbans and beards, but there were no policy changes. This would then force other Sikh men to also go through individual lawsuits in the same way. From 1986 until 2017, the Army's official policy prevented wearing Turbans and beards despite winning repeated religious liberty cases. (Air Force did not change policy until 2019). This is despite the 2015 Supreme Court case ruling about wearing a hijab, written by Antonin Scalia. “The rule for disparate-treatment claims based on a failure to accommodate a religious practice is straightforward: An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions.” The 20th-century court precedents, written largely by protestants, that narrowly defined religious expression as explicit worship for non-Christians are now coming to impact Christians. Much of the value of the book is pointing out cultural assumptions that lean to Christian benefit but which many will complain that they are about culture, not Christianity. The hiddenness proves her larger point (because the religious roots of the example have been lost or because the examples are simply not seen). I found myself arguing with her on a number of occasions. Still, regardless of any particular example, the weight of the number and range of examples makes the case well that there is Christian privilege. The White portion of White Christian Privilege does matter, and one of the critical points is the discussion of intersectionality. She uses the phrase 'one up and one down' to talk about the difficulty in seeing privilege for those that have Christian privilege but are oppressed in other areas, for example, Black Christians, who want to work for culturally appropriate public Christmas displays but do not see that the public Christmas display has its own privilege. This morning, right before I typed this up, I saw this graphic in a tweet by Samuel Perry, sociologist, and coauthor of Taking America Back for God. The perception of oppression does have an impact on how we act in the world and how we treat others. While it is mostly overlapping, roughly similar percent of White Evangelicals believe that Christians are more persecuted in the US than other religious groups, and White people are now more racially discriminated against than Black people are in the US. Those distortions do matter, and I think books like this can help us Christians see otherwise invisible privilege. The book presents a 'social-justice' oriented model for addressing discrimination in the US. This is roughly similar to the type of antiracism that Ibham Kendi and others talk about regarding racial privilege and prejudice. I can see some reading this book and walking away dismissing not just Christian privilege but also racial and gender discrimination as well (several of the reviews on Amazon seemed to do just that). But at some point, we cannot orient ourselves primarily to those that are strongly resistant to issues of oppression but instead need to work understanding and to rectify those areas. I know that will just prove the anti-social justice point for some. And I do want to bring about some level of common ground. But the common ground cannot come about at the expense of the oppressed. (See Race and Reunion by David Blight  for an example of how that has gone badly in US history.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    5/10 Privilege is not a zero sum game, giving more to you does not reduce mine. The main takeaway here is the following: Christianity has advantages over other religions in America. It is clear when you attempt to look at it without bias, but if you were to "rank" religions in America concerning their respectability, there's little doubt which would come in first. Other religions do not have the same rights as Christianity. This is clear if for no other reason than Christians have their day of wor 5/10 Privilege is not a zero sum game, giving more to you does not reduce mine. The main takeaway here is the following: Christianity has advantages over other religions in America. It is clear when you attempt to look at it without bias, but if you were to "rank" religions in America concerning their respectability, there's little doubt which would come in first. Other religions do not have the same rights as Christianity. This is clear if for no other reason than Christians have their day of worship, and the calendar is built off of Christian Holy Days. Western culture more general sprung up from the milieu of Judea Christianity, allowing Western culture to bias itself towards that viewpoint automatically. Moreover, it is still nearly impossible to run a successful presidential campaign without being a 'Christian', whereas being a Muslim or Sikh would most likely be a distinct disadvantage. To a certain extent, animus cannot be assumed (though Joshi does of course). The issue is of course that people are more likely to vote for, marry, work with and live by, people who look and think like they do through the pseudo narcissistic process of seeing themselves in another, and liking that. Of course the problem of bias arises quickly, and can only be overcome by exposure to others who are different then you, and a willingness to put your own beliefs and biases under a critical eye. To that degree, both Joshi and I appear to be on the same page. It is possible however, that she misses the startling link between racism and religious freedom, which I find to be stronger than a bias against religions in general. Religion is simply used as another justification for Racism. It doesn’t matter that its religion specifically, as it serves as a proxy battle for the ongoing battle against white supremacy. She fails to convincingly delineate between bias against non-whites, and bias against other religions. Essentially, she fails to convince that a white member of a non-Christian religion would experience bias due to their religion. From that stand point, Joshi fulfils only half of their title. I guess that's my issue with the premise of the book as a whole, almost every example she gives of 'Christian' privilege actually come out as white privilege. That's not to say I don't believe there is a specific Christian privilege, only that Joshi has typically acted as if it is a separate category, more unique then it actually is. Moreover, she apparently does not have a great grounding in Christian history, as she misunderstands several base concepts like grace, which as it happens is notably absent from her perspective. She attempts to have her cake and eat it too in claiming that the Amish are both a protected and persecuted class in two separate examples. She is also conveniently fails to mention that Christianity though it was used to argue for the continuation of the slave trade, was also its downfall. Ultimately, I appreciate and can perhaps grow from Joshi's perspective, but the actual research and scholarship is sensationalized, as it does not appear that she has found any links that are more then either tenuous, or obvious.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This a deeply necessary book for our current moment in American history. In the book, Joshi traces the roots of White Christian privilege, examining the ways that race and religion intersect to impact all of our lives. Our laws, language, and culture have all been shaped by white Christian hegemony, despite our belief that we have a separation of church and state and that all people are treated equally under the law. In the book, Joshi does not condemn Christianity or whiteness; rather, she chal This a deeply necessary book for our current moment in American history. In the book, Joshi traces the roots of White Christian privilege, examining the ways that race and religion intersect to impact all of our lives. Our laws, language, and culture have all been shaped by white Christian hegemony, despite our belief that we have a separation of church and state and that all people are treated equally under the law. In the book, Joshi does not condemn Christianity or whiteness; rather, she challenges us to critically examine the structural ways that our country disenfranchises people who do not hold those identities. Our systems do not work equally for all citizens because they were not designed to, and that must change.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan Castrigano

    Good. Made me realize that I still have Christian privilege even though I'm an atheist now. I understand certain idioms and phrases that are based in Christian storytelling, like the phrase "Good Samaritan." So I have privilege in a predominantly Christian society. It also made me realize how our calendars revolve around Christian holidays - everything from Sundays off to not having to ask off for Christmas or Easter. This book reminded me of the End of Faith by Sam Harris. I still think that re Good. Made me realize that I still have Christian privilege even though I'm an atheist now. I understand certain idioms and phrases that are based in Christian storytelling, like the phrase "Good Samaritan." So I have privilege in a predominantly Christian society. It also made me realize how our calendars revolve around Christian holidays - everything from Sundays off to not having to ask off for Christmas or Easter. This book reminded me of the End of Faith by Sam Harris. I still think that religions do way more harm than good, especially Christianity and how it is used in America. (don't pay taxes, attack women's right to choose, etc.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Empress Audrey

    Thank you to NYU Press and NetGalley for providing my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! "Denial is a common reaction to having one's privilege pointed out, but it is not a productive one." This notion is buried in Part 4 of Khyati Y. Joshi’s White Christian Privilege, but it would be best served blazened in the first couple of pages. Make no mistake - this book deserves a spot amongst essential reading. This is not an opt-in, but a critical examination of American society. This Thank you to NYU Press and NetGalley for providing my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! "Denial is a common reaction to having one's privilege pointed out, but it is not a productive one." This notion is buried in Part 4 of Khyati Y. Joshi’s White Christian Privilege, but it would be best served blazened in the first couple of pages. Make no mistake - this book deserves a spot amongst essential reading. This is not an opt-in, but a critical examination of American society. This book belongs on AP US History required reading lists, explored in social studies courses, and digested as widely as a kitschy New York Times article. It is not welcome to the performative, nor the sand-laden book bag of a beach-read activist. This book is not easy: it takes effort to work through and digest. As an aspiring academic, it was a wakeup call for the complicit nature of “elite” universities in the continued oppression of those who frayed from a White Christian paradigm (another crucial note for academics in the book is that the division between ethnic studies and religious studies in many institutions is destructive, which, though not my field particularly, is certainly worth sharing amongst my peers). I’m unsure if that is or is not the author’s intention - this work is exceedingly academic in tone. It feels like a textbook, in a sense, with a few notes of less formalized reprieve: some of the most powerful parts are when Professor Joshi maintains her objectivity yet delves into personal circumstance, such as the search for a wedding venue that would allow her a havan. Despite my personal preference for these musings, there is a distinct advantage to a near painfully scholarly tone: concepts that can be hot-button emotional topics for my generation, such as the inappropriate romanticization, commodification, and appropriation of culture is treated with an academic dignity that can be hard to find for such a topic. Do not take this as the book being solely a contemporary exploration: the history Joshi explores, including the oft-ignored court cases for “Whiteness,” is crucial, as is the discussion of social justice concepts such as intersectionality of identity. We see the mistakes of the past through a lens of the present, a vision that can hopefully allow us to guide our future. The discussions in the book are broad - it addresses issues from the “minority-majority” panic, fears of Sharia law, American mythos and the lie of the “secular,” and the simultaneity of oppression of religion and prescribed race. The world is changing, and this book may have come out at the perfect time. My only hope is that it finds itself widely read, and Joshi’s message adequately spread.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This is a book that will take a lot of processing and discussion. It would be a great idea to have this discussion with small groups including people from different religions. The author takes a "social justice" approach to how to recognize "White Christian Privilege" and then how to change the paradigm. For the U.S., it would be a great model to follow for the most part. We need to reach an understanding, as Christians, that we are not the "majority" religion... we are NOT "persecuted" (though This is a book that will take a lot of processing and discussion. It would be a great idea to have this discussion with small groups including people from different religions. The author takes a "social justice" approach to how to recognize "White Christian Privilege" and then how to change the paradigm. For the U.S., it would be a great model to follow for the most part. We need to reach an understanding, as Christians, that we are not the "majority" religion... we are NOT "persecuted" (though we are maligned in certain sectors)... and we need to not be threatened by the plurality around us. A serious area of disagreement I have with the author regards communion, or the Eucharist. There are sacred acts in every religion that only those IN that religion can fully experience. For Muslims, it is the journey to Mecca. Mecca is only for Muslims. I am not familiar enough with Hinduism or Buddhism to point to their particular practices, but there are places or actions that are best ONLY in that tradition. She applauded her Episcopal church for allowing her to partake of the Eucharist as a Hindu. Being sacramental, I have a fundamental disagreement with that practice. Dialogue needs to happen. Christians need to be visiting Hindu temples and Muslim mosques and other sites. We would do well to listen and learn.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin W

    What a way to start off the new year! I gave this book 5/5 ⭐️. The overall analysis is excellent and I really appreciated the author's connection between white supremacy and Christianity throughout American history. I think this is such an important factor that we don't always consider when talking about white supremacy and why it's so pervasive in this country. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who grew up Christian or anyone who is interested in the religious context of America's "norms What a way to start off the new year! I gave this book 5/5 ⭐️. The overall analysis is excellent and I really appreciated the author's connection between white supremacy and Christianity throughout American history. I think this is such an important factor that we don't always consider when talking about white supremacy and why it's so pervasive in this country. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who grew up Christian or anyone who is interested in the religious context of America's "norms".

  14. 4 out of 5

    Molly Huff

    This book was a breath of fresh air. Full of undeniable examples of how exactly white, Christian privilege harms everyone in our "pluralistic" society, including those who are privileged. Everyone, from Christians to Satanists to everyone in between, should read this book. Joshi has, with stunning alacrity and conversationalism, given those of us who are religiously othered a touchstone from which to work. This book was a breath of fresh air. Full of undeniable examples of how exactly white, Christian privilege harms everyone in our "pluralistic" society, including those who are privileged. Everyone, from Christians to Satanists to everyone in between, should read this book. Joshi has, with stunning alacrity and conversationalism, given those of us who are religiously othered a touchstone from which to work.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    2020 raised many questions about the pervasive reality of White Privilege in the United States. Joshi's book, written in 2020, takes it even further, by addressing the challenges of White Christian (and specifically Protestant) Privilege that has so shaped the daily life and practice of virtually all aspects of American society. The challenge we face is that, when founded, our leaders were, for most part, white, male, protestants. Women did not vote. Non-whites did not vote. Native Americans, who 2020 raised many questions about the pervasive reality of White Privilege in the United States. Joshi's book, written in 2020, takes it even further, by addressing the challenges of White Christian (and specifically Protestant) Privilege that has so shaped the daily life and practice of virtually all aspects of American society. The challenge we face is that, when founded, our leaders were, for most part, white, male, protestants. Women did not vote. Non-whites did not vote. Native Americans, who already lived here, were viewed as pagan and savage due to the fact that they were not Christian. From these first days, there has be an inter-sectional relationship between race and religion in our culture, a relationship that is still so very prevalent and common in our own time, that many majority white protestants do not even recognize the privilege itself. Joshi does a nice job of raising the consciousness of the reader about these realities. Things really changed in the country with the Immigration Act of 1965. After this time, the influx of non-white, and non-Christians, increased exponentially in the America. So now there is a real friction between the words and values of our founding national documents which speak of equality and freedom of religion and the reality of Christian privilege that is woven deeply into our culture. Joshi flushes out some of these conflicts, and the realities of challenges faced by both racial and religious minorities in the country today. These challenges also connect with women, and those who are LGBTQ. Her solution, which she calls an ethic of Social Justice for transforming American culture, is laid out into 5 main areas. Each of these will require a fundamental change of mind and heart for the current majority white population and culture. The challenge must be addressed, because the tension will only continue to increase. By 1940 it is projected that neither whites nor Protestantism will be majority groups within our country. What will that mean for White Christian Privilege? It is clear that this book was first an academic paper; you can tell that by the language and style of writing. Nevertheless, as a book, it still conveys important ideas and realities that need to be addressed in American society so that, as a nation, we might truly live by the ideals laid out by the founding fathers. So, this is a challenging read for someone like me - white, male, and protestant. But it is a necessary read for all, and a call to enter meaningful dialogue and action together, as a country, to move forward into what must be a new era.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth SHULAM

    I appreciate the author's tackling this subject of white privilege amidst the Christian religion. Gives this white American Christian many thoughts to ponder. Especially gives me more empathy towards other religions and their struggles within the American culture. I appreciate the author's tackling this subject of white privilege amidst the Christian religion. Gives this white American Christian many thoughts to ponder. Especially gives me more empathy towards other religions and their struggles within the American culture.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Muneer Uddin

    Khyati Joshi's White Christian Privilege is an important book. It takes one of the most embedded ideas, that White Christian norms should be American society's norms, and holds these beliefs up to the light. Some of the ideas she expresses will make people uncomfortable. Joshi demonstrates that White Christianity is assumed by most to be the norm. We get Christian holidays off. Public meetings begin with Christian prayer. Religious freedom as a concept is explored in a historical context. One thi Khyati Joshi's White Christian Privilege is an important book. It takes one of the most embedded ideas, that White Christian norms should be American society's norms, and holds these beliefs up to the light. Some of the ideas she expresses will make people uncomfortable. Joshi demonstrates that White Christianity is assumed by most to be the norm. We get Christian holidays off. Public meetings begin with Christian prayer. Religious freedom as a concept is explored in a historical context. One thing I was surprised to find was that what we know as religious freedom was a compromise between the white settlers to ensure that no sect became America's official religion. So, religious freedom didn't begin as the high minded concept we describe it as now. It was simply a case of "If I can't have it my way, neither can you." It's stories like these that really make you question the whole mythology around America's founding. Courts have also been hostile to any religious freedom that wasn't directed towards white men. There's discussion in the book of many court cases where courts explicitly shifted the goalposts on what constituted white and/or Christian so that they could deny rights to whatever petitioner was before them. These decisions helped keep legal immigration for non-Western European people at a minimum until LBJ signed the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965. The use of Christianity by whites to justify colonialism and genocide is also a big topic in the book. Manifest Destiny and the Doctrine of Destiny are two of the ideas explored. Both of these ideas constituted an explicit approval by church authorities on the subjugation and annexation of Asian, African and Latino countries. The fact that some people still think that these doctrines were correct shows how far we have to go as a society. Where the book shines is the personal stories and anecdotes Joshi provides as illustrations. She tells us of religious bullying and retaliation in schools, refusal to perform non-Christian weddings, and similar things. I really wish she'd given us more of these stories at the expense of the historical context. While it is important for the reader to know what happened in the past, what's more important is knowing how to address this privliege in the future. Joshi also uses the last chapter to provides some proscriptions on how we can better address privilege as a society. I would have preferred to have even more exploration of this content. The other reason the anecdotes rang so true to me is because I, as a non-white, non-Christian immigrant, have been subjected to the thoughtless actions of white Christians. In 2017, I went to a baseball game with friends. During the singing of the national anthem, one of them, a white, devout Catholic, thought it would be hilarious to yell, "Build the wall!" at the end of the song. When I confronted him, I was told I was being humorless and that he was only play-acting as a "jingoistic American". I did finally get an apology, but it was grudging and not at all genuine. The fact that this person thought this was fine shows how far the deck is stacked in his favor. I think people who want to begin to understand the challenges faced by people like me should read this book. Without this level of dialogue, it'll be impossible to begin changing society for the better. I hope to read more from Joshi and others like her in the future.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Drick

    Khyati Josi grew up in a Hindu family in Georgia and today is an educator and consultant on matters of religious discrimination and exclusion. Drawing heavily on her own experiences she clearly describes how White Christian Privilege is embedded in U.S. society from the holidays we celebrate, the monuments we have, the language we use, the assumptions we make about others, and the ways in which in the past and present we exclude from full citizenship in the country. Most revealing to me was her Khyati Josi grew up in a Hindu family in Georgia and today is an educator and consultant on matters of religious discrimination and exclusion. Drawing heavily on her own experiences she clearly describes how White Christian Privilege is embedded in U.S. society from the holidays we celebrate, the monuments we have, the language we use, the assumptions we make about others, and the ways in which in the past and present we exclude from full citizenship in the country. Most revealing to me was her review of court cases and laws beginning with the Doctrine of discovery to the Naturalization act of the 1790s and much more. She focuses on whiteness as often being conflated with Christian so that those who are not white but Chrisitan have often bee marginalized. She gives numerous examples of how minority religion's holidays are dismissed and not respected ins schools, workplaces and recognized holidays. Her unique approach is to see these issues as social justice issues, that is issues that have to do with societal structures and the power they wield in support of Christian values, view, and assumptions. As a White Christian who sees himself as open to people of other faiths, I found myself being"pinched" at many points even so. My one concern about Josi's perspective is that most of her examples are drawn from Southern Christianity and evangelicals. While she mentions more progressive expressions of Christian faith, she does not draw on many current efforts at addressing the issues she raised by progressive Christians. We are not without fault, but we are not as rigid and close-minded as other Christians are. Even so, her arguments apply across the board in many ways. She raised many important issues both in terms of doctrine and practice for Christian grojps to consider.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sunni C. | vanreads

    What an interesting book. In Khyati Y. Joshi's White Christian Privilege, she breaks down how Christianity and whiteness are both privileges in the United States, and in many cases they go hand-in-hand in upholding white supremacy. As a Christian and person of color, I often feel that Christianity in evangelical churches are very white. I've often felt neglected and misunderstood as a person of color. However, reading this book has been really enlightening in seeing how I hold privilege in societ What an interesting book. In Khyati Y. Joshi's White Christian Privilege, she breaks down how Christianity and whiteness are both privileges in the United States, and in many cases they go hand-in-hand in upholding white supremacy. As a Christian and person of color, I often feel that Christianity in evangelical churches are very white. I've often felt neglected and misunderstood as a person of color. However, reading this book has been really enlightening in seeing how I hold privilege in society as someone who identifies as Christian. Joshi touches on many examples in America where the Christian faith is normalized, and thus an isolating experience for those of different religious backgrounds. One experience she mentions is looking for a wedding location for her Hindu-Christian wedding and being questioned on the "safety" of certain practices in her Hindu background. This is something that I would have never even thought of as being a barrier as a Christian. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who identifies as Christian or who grew up in an evangelical home. This book is in no way an attack on Christianity. In fact, she touches upon different faiths in a very delicate manner. What she is addressing in this book is the particular privilege that being a Christian in the United States (as someone in Canada, I believe this can apply to Canadians too!) holds. Being aware of this privilege and making an effort to dismantle it is really important so that we do not become complicit in upholding white supremacy and dismissiveness of other religions and those who do not align with a particular religion. P.S. Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read and review this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex Stewart

    I do not envy those who feel compelled to write nonfiction of any kind, though especially titles like this that fall into categories like persuasive nonfiction. There is a seemingly impossible line to walk between sharing all the facts while also putting a human face(s) to the issues that are being discussed. On one end the writing can become unbearably dry though perfectly factual and devoid of logical fallacies. On the other end the writer may rely on anecdotal evidence and personal narrative, I do not envy those who feel compelled to write nonfiction of any kind, though especially titles like this that fall into categories like persuasive nonfiction. There is a seemingly impossible line to walk between sharing all the facts while also putting a human face(s) to the issues that are being discussed. On one end the writing can become unbearably dry though perfectly factual and devoid of logical fallacies. On the other end the writer may rely on anecdotal evidence and personal narrative, which while more emotionally compelling and effective may not be completely factual or logically sound. On the whole I felt the author did a superb job walking that line. The text was rich with references to cited sources while also sharing their own experiences as well as others they know to drive home points. Being so used to internet trolls, I walked into this book worrying that this would end up boiling down to a biased screed against x, y, or z, revealing in some ways my own biases and predispositions. To the contrary, I found this book to be exactly as it sets out to be per its statements in the introduction about not enforcing political correctness but rather illuminates “how Christianity in the US has served the needs of the dominant religious, ethnic, racialized majorities with historically greater access to institutional and cultural power than other groups.” I also appreciated how it was made clear that none of this is cut and dry, simple, nor easy. Again quoting the intro: “Open and honest conversations are messy and difficult, but they are necessary if we are to advance as a nation.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin S

    A must-read for Christians of all colors in the US who are engaged in social justice or interfaith work. Dr. Joshi is thorough and nuanced in her examination of the systemic, cultural, and individual ways that the US treats Christianity as normal or default and other faiths (or the absence of faith) as deviant. She points the way to the possibility of an America where the first amendment is accurately descriptive rather than proclaiming an unrealized ideal. Her approach is intersectional and com A must-read for Christians of all colors in the US who are engaged in social justice or interfaith work. Dr. Joshi is thorough and nuanced in her examination of the systemic, cultural, and individual ways that the US treats Christianity as normal or default and other faiths (or the absence of faith) as deviant. She points the way to the possibility of an America where the first amendment is accurately descriptive rather than proclaiming an unrealized ideal. Her approach is intersectional and compassionate. She seeks, not an America where Christians are marginalized, but one where all believers and non-believers benefit from the same legal and social considerations. I listened to the audiobook, which was great and allowed me to get through the whole book in a little over a day.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    Even if I'm not American it's a book that made me think and appreciated the analysis as it can be applied to a lot of countries. As I belong to a minority religion but was brought up Catholic I know the difference between being part of a privileged majority and being a minority. The plurality is something that can enrich us all but people have to accept it and stop feeling entitled only because you're white or Christian. An interesting read that I strongly recommend. Many thanks to the publisher an Even if I'm not American it's a book that made me think and appreciated the analysis as it can be applied to a lot of countries. As I belong to a minority religion but was brought up Catholic I know the difference between being part of a privileged majority and being a minority. The plurality is something that can enrich us all but people have to accept it and stop feeling entitled only because you're white or Christian. An interesting read that I strongly recommend. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  23. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Adamson Stars in Her Eye

    Beautifully written, Joshi calls out the Christian paradigm that is cemented in everything we do in America. Her perspective allows white Christians like myself to see what our COuntry is actually like. The tone is respectiveful. This isn't a Christian bashing book, but a guide to make the country a more inclusive place and therefore a better place. I encourage any Christian to read this. It will open your eyes. I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own. Beautifully written, Joshi calls out the Christian paradigm that is cemented in everything we do in America. Her perspective allows white Christians like myself to see what our COuntry is actually like. The tone is respectiveful. This isn't a Christian bashing book, but a guide to make the country a more inclusive place and therefore a better place. I encourage any Christian to read this. It will open your eyes. I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shannan Harper

    I enjoyed reading the author's perspective of American Christians and the privilege they receive. Although I'm sure that a lot of privileged Christians won't like the book, a lot of what was written is true. It is a book that you will need to take your time with. You won't be able to speed through it. I really enjoyed reading the book. I enjoyed reading the author's perspective of American Christians and the privilege they receive. Although I'm sure that a lot of privileged Christians won't like the book, a lot of what was written is true. It is a book that you will need to take your time with. You won't be able to speed through it. I really enjoyed reading the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sam Mason

    The book does a nice job outlining the history and depth of Christian privileges. A little repetitive but definitely worth a read. The end of the book gives specific action items on how to combat some of these privileges and injustices.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jaylani Adam

    I like how the author does her work on this topic especially how it affects on communities that are non-White Christians and non-Christians, both White and non-White.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rohan Katpally

    I think it's an excellent explanation of the ways in which Christian hegemony has penetrated even so-called "secular" areas of life in the USA. I think it's an excellent explanation of the ways in which Christian hegemony has penetrated even so-called "secular" areas of life in the USA.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eric Miller

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

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