On the Receiving End: Discrimination toward the Non-Religious in the U.S.

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Journal of Contemporary Religion




The present study examines perceived discrimination faced by religious ‘nones’. After distinguishing between atheists, agnostics, and ‘nones’ who are deists or theists, we use nationally representative data from the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) to study the contexts in which these various types of religious ‘nones’ have reported experiencing discrimination. The strongest predictor of such discrimination was not theological atheism or agnosticism but self-identifying as an atheist or agnostic when asked what one’s religion is. Context-specific predictors of discrimination are age, region of the country, rural versus urban location, parents’ religious identifications, educational attainment, ethnicity and race. Results are consistent with the view that people who hold more pronounced views are more likely to report discrimination.