Religion is an act of devotion towards the existence of a true God. There are some aspects of faith, which make it susceptible to being a potential source of discrimination. As stated by Adams et al. (2013), every religion has its accepted dogma, which followers must accept without question. In the face of other beliefs, the inflexibility of faith creates intolerance. Privileges arise from belonging to a particular religion function in a way that discriminates against people who profess a different religious faith.
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Principally, all ways of marginalization, including racism, classism, and sexism, are intertwined since they all take in deleterious predetermined judgment meant to control and exert power. Standardized and individualized violence backs up the systemized process of judging others, enabling the alleged superior religion to oppress the inferior ones. Pehl (2016) explains that Christian domination has been used as a social justice tool that can both support and reject oppression. Religion has a lasting impact on the corroboration of racism, sexism, and classism.
The conviction that distinct races have diverse physiognomies, qualities, or abilities, mainly to differentiate them as superior or inferior to another is racism. As a social worker, I have experienced discrimination personally due to my skin color, which amounts to racial discrimination. According to Adams et al. (2013), illogical views arising from the entitled race have contributed precisely to the falsification of the society’s position as regards oppression. A practice that involves discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping, usually against women, based on sex, is known as sexism (Wilcox, 2013). Religion propagates the denigration of women as the source of evil is a lie that has tainted all three patriarchal faiths throughout the world. Until we thoroughly disprove and abandon this particular lie, no religion deserves a hearing.
Additionally, religion propagates the human nature of believing in personal truth and categorizing the faith of others as false and evil. The tendency to have a belief hinders our ability to reason. An indisputable view launches us against all those who doubt “our” doctrines or call “our” God into question. According to Adams et al. (2013), we may talk of mutual tolerance and freedom of religion as good, charitable goals, but there is no freedom where women, the mothers of the race, are suppressed or abused.
As a social worker, I have often observed that the system restricts women from venturing into specific fields of society, which amounts to sexism. In line with Adams et al. (2013), religion discourages females from taking active roles in synagogues, churches, or mosques. As such, religion catalyzes sexism in that it limits the female gender from fulfilling themselves through faith and belief. Additionally, religion cements the notion that women are inferior to men; thus, they have to submit to men, for harmonious living, which leads to domination.
Further, religion creates a class of two different groups: the haves and the haves-not. Religiosity is the foundation of charity’s idea that creates two social levels of the needy and the affluent (Wilcox, 2013). Systematically wealthy groups pity the historically disadvantaged group and justify deliberate misfortunes hurled at them as God’s punishment for their wrongdoing. Charitable works as orchestrated by the wealthy few have brought about the stratification of the haves and have-nots classes, hence championing classism. Religious convictions have reinforced racialism by labeling persons who do not believe in supernatural powers as inferior (Pehl, 2016). Members of three dominant religious religions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, have become socialized into viewing those without faith-based religion as either degenerates or societal misfits that do not have a place in the world.
Discrimination against people that belong to a specific social class is classism. First, to give classism superhuman identity is to treat them as a cause instead of symptoms of an organic dysfunction of the body politic. Second, to provide them with superhuman power is to decide that there is nothing we can do to move past them. As stated by Wilcox (2013), religion sustains and promotes class inequalities and divisions contrary to their traditions and values. Belief creates discourses on social structures and social order. The majority of churches, synagogues, and mosques are engineered to include both the first and middle classes but exclude the lower level.
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The norm in our culture and particularly amongst religious individuals is to see sexism, classism, and racism as manifestations of original sin. On the word of by Adams et al. (2013), there is eventually no revitalization except through the mystical intervention of a God who has neither a timetable nor strategy. We salve our consciences by converting individuals through consciousness-raising, bypassing resolutions on inclusive language, and begging those who monopolize power to move over so that the rest can have some (Mallett & Monteith, 2019). In the meantime, the gap between poor and rich upsurges; the difference between men’s and women’s incomes broadens; individuals’ capacity to control their environment reduces; and the arms race heightens to ever more perturbing levels.
Roles of Social Worker
I have experienced how the system restricts individuals perceived to be needy from accessing services from specific places, which amounts to classism. Social workers have an essential place in the intersectionality of religion and discrimination. At a micro-level, as a social worker, I will address the overlapping nature of faith by first getting to understand that there’s no morality in faith-based oppression. Discrimination of all sorts begins with the creation of opposing groups, groups with historically dominant views, and groups with systemized inferior positions. It is by understanding the foundation of domineering beliefs and oppressors that working with people who face such forms of oppression will be emancipated. Racial justice is at the heart of social work practice. We can reduce discrimination by reducing economic and social injustice through improving citizens’ access to services. Social workers must get involved with lawmakers to address organizational and personal forces that limit citizenship.
As a social worker, I have to understand how the privilege of belonging to a particular religion functions. Social workers can analyze the different biases their clients face, thus, are critical in proper awareness creation activities. Addressing the impacts of religion on other forms of discrimination at a macro level requires a global-wide equality campaign for all individuals around the world regardless of religious affiliation. As a social worker, I will involve policymakers at both organizational and governmental levels to factor in the interest of all groups despite their class, race, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.
I intend to cooperate with organizations that champion for equality of humans to conduct awareness programs that may slowly fix the discrimination problems. Social workers must also unite in informing the general public of the need to live in non-discriminate environments. There is also the need to run a campaign against historical myths that fuel hatred between different races and genders. I will also petition for banishing out of all the illogical followings of individuals that are out of touch with modern reality. I will raise awareness that discrimination persists and should be countered both in daily practice and law.
Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). Routledge Press.
Mallett, R. K., & Monteith, M. J. (2019). Confronting prejudice and discrimination: The science of changing minds and behaviors. Elsevier
Pehl, M. (2016). The making of working-class religion. Baltimore University of Illinois Press.
Wilcox, M. (2013). Religion in today’s world: Global issues, sociological perspectives. Routledge Press.