It’s not a secret that hate churches are on the rise in the US, the prototypical one being the Phelps clan; Westboro Baptist tends to castigate Homosexuals and other religions, such as Judaism.
The Phelps hate church is really just the tip of the iceberg however, and a convenient focus for media and others who would define hate churches – those who would point at the Westboro Baptist Church and say “See? We’re not as bad as them…”
However the reality belies that argument — from the Churches that pray for our President’s death to those that hate Islam and want to hurry a Civilizational apocalyptic war with all of Islam, to those that hate gays, to those fed by foreign lobbies with arcane goals, these hate churches are on the rise.
The two themes you find constant among these groups are hate for other religions (Judaism, Islam, etc.) and hate for Gays. Occasionally you will find racial prejudice fed as well, but that’s inconstant.
So why does religion sometimes foster hate? More importantly: why does a minority of church goers in the US pick a church that extolls hate? This is something I will be discussing and speculating upon over the next few weeks, since most people who are religious cannot begin to fathom where these fringers are coming from.
In the Baylor study, college students recruited from introductory psychology classes were primed with either religious-word letter strings like “Bible,” “faith,” “Christ” and “church” or neutral words like “shirt,” “butter,” “switch” and “hammer.” Researchers found that religiously primed students demonstrated “a slight but significant” increase in racial prejudice.
Previous studies show a complex relationship between religiosity and racial prejudice. Some dimensions of religion have been shown to increase levels of prejudice, while others reduce it. Those studies all rely on self-reporting, however, and are therefore skewed by the phenomenon of “social desirability,” meaning that some people report more positive racial attitudes than they actually hold.
The Baylor study is thought to be the first to test whether exposure to religious concepts may contribute to racial prejudice.