Intersection and Religious Discrimination

Intersection and Religious Discrimination

Intersectionality aims at describing how various factors of one’s life, like age, gender, sexual orientation, and religion, contribute to different forms of oppression. Religion has been in existence for many millenniums, and it has, in one way or the other, contributed to society’s growth. There are various types of religions like Christianity, Buddhism, and Islamism though Christians are the majority in this country. Despite its positive attributes, religions have significantly contributed to reinforcing sexism, classism, and racism (Adams et al., 2018). This paper will analyze religion’s roles in the reinforcement of sexism, classism, and racism. It will also look at how these issues can be addressed on a micro and macro level.

The Role of Religion in Reinforcing Sexism, Classism, and Racism

Christians are the majority in the United States. It is viewed as a default religion. Hence, people who belong to other religions get disrespected in one way on the other based on their religious beliefs and practices. For instance, the dreadful 11th September 2001 terrorist attack significantly contributed to the religious divisions in this country as the entire Muslim culture was blamed for the unfortunate terrorist attack.  In the ted talk Mogahed (2016) says, “There’s a problem in this country, and it’s called Muslim—what are we going to do about it? When are we going to get rid of them? So, some people want to ban Muslims and close down Mosques. They talk about my community kind of like we’re a tumor in the body of America, and the only question is, are we malignant or benign. You know, a malignant tumor you extract all together and a benign tumor you just keep it under surveillance. The choices don’t make sense because it’s the wrong question. Muslims, like all other Americans, aren’t a tumor in the body of America. We are a vital organ.”  Many Muslims have been brutally killed, verbally abused and harmed because of their religion.

Sexism is discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. It does not exist in limbo as it is deeply rooted in various religious beliefs, religious organizations, and even the holy books subtly support and promote sexism. The majority of religions tend to promote discrimination against the female gender in various forms. For instance, in the Christian culture, women are expected to dress conservatively, with various parts of their bodies well covered. Adams et al. (2018) say that the bible expects women to be subordinates while men lead their families, and in some Christian sects, only men are allowed to be preachers and leaders in the church. In Islam, women have limited dressing choices as they are confined to a specific attire that fully covers their bodies. Moreover, in some countries whose national religion is Islam, women have limited access to education. They do not have property ownership rights, and many activists have been arrested, detained and even killed while trying to champion for better or equal rights.

Classism is primarily discrimination based on one’s social class. Religion contributes to the reinforcement of classism in various ways. For instance, due to poverty, religion is famously hailed as the opium for the masses as socially deprived people tend to turn to religion as a rescue mechanism, hoping it will help them overcome poverty. This is why churches in deprived places are more likely to have higher attendance than churches in well-off areas. Phelp-Roper (2017) says that, in religious gatherings, people of a higher social class like celebrities, business people, and career politicians tend to be a higher priority by the church compared to those of a lower social class.

How to Address These Issues on a Micro and Macro Level

People who belong to other religions and atheists usually have a hard time, as they are oppressed and marginalized compared to those belonging to a default religion (Adams et al., 2018). Social workers have a significant role to play when it comes to addressing these issues on a micro and macro level. On a micro level, direct interactions with an individual can help them see the presence or absence of privileges in their lives. This primarily includes aiding the individual to identify their religious beliefs in a way that does not look oppressive. Moreover, those who are privileged by their religion in one way or the other can be trained on how to effect change in the society using their privileges (Adams et al., 2018). This can be done by them volunteering in various nonprofit organizations and local institutions.

On a macro level, these issues are addressed at a local, state, and federal government level. For instance, financial and nonfinancial resources can be solicited from the government, donors, and well-wishers. These resources can then be used to create awareness, advocate for social change, and address religious privileges at a national level. Moreover, social workers can contribute to forming new policies and evaluating preexisting policies meant to tackle oppression attributed to religious activities.


As discussed above, religion significantly contributes to the promotion of sexism, classism, and racism, and these issues can be addressed at a micro and macro level. Religion has promoted racism as some people have been discriminated against, racially abused and killed because of their religious beliefs.  Moreover, various religious sects give people who are well-off socioeconomically a priority compared to those who are socioeconomically deprived. These issues can be addressed at an individual or macro level through campaigns and policy formation.