In America, people with a Muslim or atheist faith are more likely to face religious discrimination, especially compared to those with a Christian faith, new research in Public Administration Review suggests.
For the study, a team of researchers at the University of Washington sent out an email to more than 40,000 public school principals in over 33 U.S. states during 2016. The email was religious-themed and constructed as a note from a family new to the community.
In the email, the researchers asked the participants to meet in-person, randomly assigning the religious background of each family.
According to researchers, either the participant’s responses or a lack of response toward their attempt at communication led to the conclusion that substantial discrimination exists against Muslims and atheists.
“The findings show evidence of substantial discrimination against Muslims and atheists on a par with, and sometimes larger than, the racial discrimination found in previous studies,” the co-authors stated in their findings.
“These individuals are substantially less likely to receive a response, with discrimination growing when they signal that their beliefs are more intense.”
From the results, the co-authors noted that Catholics in particular face no discrimination, only until they indicate the intensity of their religious beliefs.
“For Muslims and atheists but not Protestants and Catholics, we document sizable discrimination even when they do not mention their beliefs in the text of their emails at all,” the co-authors concluded.
The study was authored by Steven Pfaff, Charles Crabtree, Holger Kern, and John Holbein.