In February, pollsters at the Public Religion Research Institute asked Americans about their impressions of discrimination in the United States. Two religious groups were included on the list of those who might face bias: Christians and Muslims. Depending on who was answering, the responses were wildly different.
Overall, people were twice as likely to say Muslims face discrimination as they were to say the same thing about Christians. Democrats were four times more likely to see Muslim vs. Christian discrimination, and non-religious people more than three. White Catholics and white mainline Protestants were both in line with the American average: Each group was roughly twice as likely to say Muslims face discrimination compared to how they see the Christian experience.
The people who stuck out, whose perceptions were radically different from others in the survey, were white evangelical Protestants. Among this group, 57 percent said there’s a lot of discrimination against Christians in the U.S. today. Only 44 percent said the same thing about Muslims. They were the only religious group more likely to believe Christians face discrimination compared to Muslims.
White Evangelicals See More Discrimination Against Christians Than Muslims
Historical data suggests white evangelicals perceive even less discrimination against Muslims now than they did a few years ago—or before the election. When this question was asked in a December 2013 PRRI survey, 59 percent of white evangelicals said they think Muslims face a lot of discrimination. As late as last October, 56 percent said this was the case. As of February, that number had dropped by 12 percentage points. It’s possible that this finding is an anomaly—the sample size of white evangelicals in the February poll was smaller than in previous surveys—but it suggests a dramatic shift.