Is America Becoming Hostile to Christians?

by Sean McDowell

When I first picked up Hostile Environment: Understanding and Responding to Anti-Christian Bias, I assumed it was going to overstate the level of cultural hostility against Christians today. After all, if you want to sell a book, it is probably an effective marketing strategy to scare Christians today in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage. And yet the author, George Yancey, warns against two common misperceptions. First, those who exaggerate anti-Christian bias and make claims of persecution. Second, those who minimize or even ignore it. He takes a firm and yet refreshingly non-alarmist view of anti-Christian hostility, and provides practical steps for what we can do about it.

Yancey spent much of his career studying racial issues, in particular as they relate to the African American community. And yet he began to notice increasing anti-Christian hostility in academia and decided to study it formally. He conducted social research on religious bias in America and found that evangelicals and fundamentalists are the groups most likely to face negative bias by academics (p. 13, 15). In fact, as an African American, he claims to have experienced more barriers in academia because of his faith than his race.

The term Yancey uses to describe the hostility against Christians in academia is Christianophobia, which is defined as “an irrational animosity towards or hatred of Christians, or Christianity in general.” Those with Christianophobia are more likely to be white, wealthy, and well educated, and to hold more social power than those who typically hold other types of prejudice (sexism, racism, Islamophobia.). Since he is an academic, Yancey focuses primarily on higher education, showing that there are a substantial number of individuals in our institutions of higher education that stated a willingness to religiously discriminate.

According to Yancey, there are three principles for understanding the desires of those with Christianophobia. First, they prefer measures that disproportionately hurt Christians, although they are not obvious in their intent to do so…

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Is America Becoming Hostile to Christians? Book Review. – Sean McDowell