Seeking to broaden the scope of psychological pathologies associated with conservatism, academics now turn their meta-analytical barrels on religion.
University of Southern California social psychologist Wendy Wood, in “Why Don’t We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic Review of Religious Racism,” delves into the “religion-racism paradox” and discovers that racism
is deeply embedded in organized religion which, by its very nature, encourages people to accept one fundamental belief system as superior to all others. The required value judgment creates a kind of us-versus-them conflict, in which members of a religious group develop ethnocentric attitudes toward anyone perceived as different.
The problem for those benighted followers of organized religion is their moral sense of right and wrong.
“Religion creates a very strong sense of a moral right and wrong within the group,” says Wood. “When you do that, members of the group will be more likely to derogate anyone who is not part of it.”
Wood and her co-authors Deborah Hall of Duke University and David Matz of Augsburg College focused their “study” on Christians, “mostly white and Protestant.” The problem, it seems, is that these white Protestants
are more likely than agnostics and atheists to rate conservative “life values” as the most important principles underlying their belief systems. / Those specific values — social conformity and respect for tradition — also most closely correlate with racism. In short, people are attracted to organized religion for the same reason some people are inclined toward racist thinking: a belief in the sanctity of established divisions in society.
So there you have it: White Protestant conservatives who respect tradition and have a strong moral sense of right and wrong “most closely correlate with racism.” This is not, however, an attack on Caucasian Evangelical Christians. No. No. No. According to Wood,
“I see this as more of an opportunity than a condemnation. And organized religion itself may be perfectly situated to address these kinds of issues.”
Nothing like producing a “study” declaring religious faith makes folks racists as a great way to create “an opportunity.” If a private institution wants to produce this garbage, I guess that’s there prerogative, but the question should be raised as to whether or not government grants were used to support “research” seemingly designed to malign and marginalize individuals of faith, particularly white Evangelical Christians.
Update: The post originally noted that the professors who produced the “study” were “public employees.” A commenter correctly noted that Harvard, Duke and Augsburg are all private institutions. Therefore these academics are not technically “public employees” like the UC Berkeley professors that produced the study effectively declaring conservatism a mental disease. However, it should be noted that Harvard, Duke and Augsburg college receive significant funds from the public coffers in the form of grants, student loans, etc. Directly or indirectly, the government should not be spending taxpayer’s money on what is clearly ideologically motivated “research.”