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Few Christians Feel Responsible for Helping Discriminated People

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Few practicing Christians in the U.S. feel a personal responsibility to help people facing discrimination, according to a Barna Group report published Jan. 15.

When prompted with the question, “Whose responsibility is it to care for people who experienced discrimination?” only 22% said “me, as a Christian.”

Of the six possible choices, this was the most frequently selected.

Other responses were the people who see the suffering individual (19%), Christian organizations other than churches (16.5%), churches (16%), another person or organization (14.5%), and the suffering individual or their family (12%).

Barna defines practicing Christians as “self-identified Christians who say their faith is very important in their lives and have attended a worship service within the past month.”

White practicing Christians were slightly more likely than black practicing Christians to assume personal responsibility for caring for people facing discrimination, while black practicing Christians were slightly more likely to feel organizations or the individual and their family should be responsible.

When asked about the continued impact of slavery, significant disparities emerged based on political ideology.

“Though there are certainly many groups who might be victims of discriminatory attitudes or behaviors in the U.S., a primary example is racial or ethnic minorities. Thus, responses to this question are pertinent to broader discussions of racial justice or reconciliation,” the report said. “Views on racism, discrimination and the nation’s history are inextricably linked to our political realities, which are often in a state of unrest.”

A strong majority (76%) of self-identified liberal practicing Christians agreed that “the effects of slavery continue to be felt today,” compared to 57% of moderate practicing Christians and 38% of conservative practicing Christians.

This trend held when respondents were asked if they agreed that “ethnic minorities ‘always’ experience underserved hardships” – 32% of liberal practicing Christians affirmed this statement, compared to 21% of moderates and 11% of conservatives.

The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.3%.

The full report is available here.