A recent study by two sociologists at the University of North Texas found that strong hostility toward Christians is held by a “small, but elite group” of Americans with considerable political and cultural influence, particularly in higher education.
After noting evidence of anti-Christian hostility among cultural progressive activists, sociology professors David Williamson and George Yancey took a “systematic look” at the qualitative data from an extensive national survey, the American National Election Survey, and conducted interviews with members of liberal advocacy organizations. They published their findings in their recent book, So Many Christians, So Few Lions: Is there Christianophobia in the United States?
Prof. Yancey recently sat down with The Christian Post to discuss the book. Yancey explained that they chose to conduct the study because despite all the literature on hostility toward groups in America, anti-Christian sentiments had been largely neglected. When they dug deeper, they began to find some troubling trends, including “unnecessary vitriol and fears within many of our respondents” and frequent justification of hatred of Christians in some progressive circles. They also found that the social status of many who harbored hostility toward Christians allowed them to “act on their anger and fears,” whether in subtle or direct ways.
One of the dominant tendencies Williamson and Yancey found was that many of these elites found ways to “justify their intolerance” of Christians:
Another aspect that drove me to work on this project was that while I consistently saw evidence of Christianophobia in other areas of my life and in our society, unlike other types of intolerances, those who exhibited Christianophobia do not tend to think that they are intolerant. Usually those who do not like blacks or Muslims admit that they are intolerant but simply try to justify their intolerance. Those with Christianophobia tend to deny that they are intolerant but rather that they are fairly interpreting social reality. Envisioning themselves as fair and free of intolerance allows them to blame those they detest rather than recognize how their emotions have distorted their intellectual judgments.
Yancey offered a summary of the perspective of Christians held by anti-Christian activists. Christians, said Yancey, were often seen by this group as “the great evil force” that “blocks” society from achieving the “progressive paradise”:
In the minds of many of the respondents Christians are ignorant, intolerant and stupid individuals who are unable to think for themselves. The general image they have of Christians is that they are a backward, non-critical thinking, child-like people who do not like science and want to interfere with the lives of everyone else.
But even worse, they see ordinary Christians as having been manipulated by evil Christian leaders and will vote in whatever way those leaders want. They believe that those leaders are trying to set up a theocracy to force everybody to accept their Christian beliefs. So, for some with Christianophobia, this is a struggle for our society and our ability to move toward a progressive society. Christians are often seen as the great evil force that blocks our society from achieving this progressive paradise.
The study also provided some stunning statements from progressives about Christians, including one male with a doctorate degree who said, “I want them all to die in a fire,” and a master’s degree-educated woman who declared, “They should be eradicated without hesitation or remorse.”
Read the full interview here.