Online bullying. It’s a problem. Probably everyone has encountered some degree of hostility online, and four in 10 U.S. adults say that hostility has veered into bullying, according to a recent Pew survey. Of those adults, about a fifth say they were bullied because of their religious beliefs. And of that fifth, white evangelicals were the most likely to say they’d been targeted for their faith.
Three in 10 white evangelicals who say they’ve been harassed online believe it was because of their religion. That comes out to about 29 percent. Compare that with the 15 percent of Catholics who say they same, or just 11 percent of white non-evangelical Protestants and you get an idea of the disparity here. As a matter of fact, next to white evangelicals, atheists were the second highest group to say they’d been harassed because of religion.
The study asked respondents if they’d experienced any of six types of harassment online: physical threats, stalking, sustained harassment, sexual harassment, offensive name-calling or purposeful embarrassment. People who responded yes to any of the types were then asked why they felt like they’d been targeted. Politics was, unsurprisingly, the most common response, with half of everyone who’s experienced online harassment saying it was because of their political views.
White evangelicals are often an outlier in perceived religious discrimination in the U.S. One 2017 PRRI study found that 57 percent of white evangelicals felt they faced “a lot” of discrimination. In that study, white evangelicals were the only group to say they believed they faced more discrimination than Muslims.