Research: Religious Bullying

balanceReligious bullying occurs when a religious or religiously unaffiliated person chooses to intentionally degrade another person emotionally, mentally, or physically based on the bullied individual’s religious or religiously unaffiliated identity, thereby creating or maintaining a power imbalance between the parties.  In other words, it can be initiated by or directed towards atheists or religious and agnostic individuals alike.  Like other forms of bullying, this can occur through physical, psychological, or verbal means in-person and/or online (Kirman, 2004; PREVNet; stopbullying.gov).  This type of bullying requires attention as witnesses or victims of religious bullying are often alienated and exposed to injustices, which can lead to mental health, suicide, and religio-political affiliation through religious extremism, which can harm the global society (Keddie, 1998; Moghaddam, 2005).

In North America, approximately 8-15% of students experience religious bullying (Craig & Edge, 2012; Harris Interactive, 2005). However, religious bullying is often overlooked and misunderstood by teachers (Craig & Edge, 2012; Chan, 2012).

Having witnessed it myself as a teacher and seen peers who were also unfamiliar with this form of bullying, my research aims to consider an alternate way to address religious bullying as some anti-bullying programs have been found to be counterproductive because students acquire bullying slurs they were previously unaware of (Jeong & Lee, 2013; Mitchell, 2012).  Specifically, I explore the potential for religious literacy programs, such as Montréal, Québec’s Ethics and Religious Culture program and Modesto, California’s World Geography & World Religions course, to address religious bullying through its pedagogy of dialogue and character education that promotes respect, humility, and empathy.

While I seek a potential means for religious literacy programs to address religious bullying, several valuable and informative resources also exist that raise awareness of religious bullying specifically and offer solutions.  A few solutions are posted below.  I will continue to post more throughout the duration of my research.

Reports and articles about religious bullying:

CAIRCA  SikhCoalition  HAFreport

Nobullying

Programs and guides to address religious bullying:

ING  Welsh  INSTED

HS  MS  Elem  Culture