Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Terms Dealing with Religious Oppression

Religious Oppression: refers to the systematic subordination of minority religions (in the United States) such as Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Native American spiritualities, and Sikhs, by the dominant Christian majority. This subordination is a product of the historical tradition of Christian hegemony and the unequal power relationships of minority religious groups with the Christian majority. In the United States, religious oppression is supported by the actions of individuals (religious prejudice), social institutions (religious discrimination), and cultural and societal norms and values associated with Christian hegemony. Through religious oppression, Christianity and its cultural manifestations function to marginalize, exclude, and deny the practices and institutions of religious minority groups the rights, privileges and access held out for all U.S. citizens.

Christian Hegemony: refers to a religious worldview that publicly affirms Christian observances, holy days, sacred spaces, at the expense of those that are not Christian. Christian hegemonic culture normalizes Christian values as intrinsic to an American public and political way of life. Christian norms are termed hegemonic in that they depend only on “business as usual.”

The Establishment Clause: is the part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits the federal government from establishing or supporting any single religion or religious denomination or sect. It is generally referred to as
the separation of church and state.

The Free Exercise Clause: is the part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects the free exercise of religion.

Islamophobia: is used to refer to the fear or hatred of Islam and its adherents that translates into individual, ideological and systemic forms of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression of Muslims and those thought to be Muslims

(Above definitions from Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice.)

Antisemitism:  (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is prejudice against or hostility towards Jews often rooted in hatred of their ethnic background, culture, and/or religion. In its extreme form, it "attributes to the Jews an exceptional position among all other civilizations, defames them as an inferior group and denies their being part of the nation[s]" in which they reside.  A person who holds such views is called an "antisemite".  Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from individual expressions of hatred and discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, or even state police, or military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Extreme instances of persecution include the First Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms, the Dreyfus Affair, and perhaps the most infamous, the Holocaust by Nazi Germany.  While the term's etymology might suggest that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass ("Jew-hatred"), and that has been its normal use since then. (Antisemitism definition from Wikipedia)

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