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They Killed Our Lord: The Perception of Jews as Desecrators of Christianity as a Predictor of Anti-Semitism

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Drawing on religious coping theory, we examined whether the appraisal that Jews desecrate Christian values (the stressor) is linked to anti-Semitic attitudes (the response). Further, we considered whether religious ways of understanding and dealing with this stressor (religious coping) mitigate or exacerbate the ties between religious appraisals of Jews and anti-Semitic responses. College students completed measures of desecration, anti-Semitism, and religious ways of coping with appraisals of Jews as desecrators of Christianity. Greater desecration was associated with greater anti-Semitism, after controlling for demographic variables and dispositional measures (e.g., particularism, pluralism, church attendance, Christian orthodoxy, fundamentalism, and authoritarianism). Religious coping in ways that emphasized expressions of Christian love were associated with lower anti-Semitism; ways of coping that emphasized being punished by God and Jews as demonic were tied to greater anti-Semitism. Perceptions of Jews as desecrators were predicted by higher levels of authoritarianism and religious orthodoxy, less closeness to Jews, greater exposure to messages of desecration, and less exposure to messages that counter the perception of desecration.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Kenneth I. Pargament is Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403., Email: 2: Kelly Trevino is a graduate student in clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University. 3: Annette Mahoney is Professor of Psychology at Bowling Green State University. 4: Israela Silberman is Associate Research Scientist in Psychology at Columbia University.

Publication date: June 1, 2007


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