A meta-analysis of 55 independent studies carried out in the United States with more than 20,000 mostly Christian participants has found that members of religious congregations tend to harbor prejudiced views of other races.
In general, the more devout the community, the greater the racism, according to the authors of the analysis, led by Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at USC College and the USC Marshall School of Business. The study appears in the February issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review.
“Religious groups distinguish between believers and non-believers and moral people and immoral ones,” Wood said. “So perhaps it’s no surprise that the strongly religious people in our research, who were mostly white Christians, discriminated against others who were different from them — blacks and minorities.”
Most of the studies reviewed by Wood’s team focused on Christians because Christianity is the most common religion in the United States.
Her analysis found significantly less racism among people without strong religious beliefs.
You can read more of the report here. I agree with much of the study’s analysis, but its conclusions would’ve been strengthened had confounding factors like education and geographical region been controlled for.