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Religion & Spirituality
Word Games

What is the word for religious discrimination?


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March 08, 2010 7:23AM


I don't think there is one. Those two words are all I have ever heard used.

It would be confusing if you used a religion name and added "-ism", because that could describe the belief itself: "Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism."

It's odd, because religious discrimination is probably much more common than any other kind: certainly it has caused more wars than anything else. I suppose that religions have their own words for describing their *own* discrimination, though. In Christianity, these would be words such as "heretic", "pagan", "heathen" and so forth. Islam has similar words, such as "kafir".


Religionism: Any attitude, action or institutional structure that systematically treats an individual or group of individuals differently because of their religion. A secondary meaning is the belief that persons who follow one religion are inherently superior to those of other religions. This is a word that is not found in dictionaries, but is badly needed. There are words in the English language that refer to bigotry, hatred and/or a desire to limit the civil rights of people on the basis of race (racism), sex (sexism), sexual orientation (homophobia), nationality (xenophobia), etc. But we have no word that refers to bigotry based of religion. Yet religious bigotry and hatred may be the most serious threat to the continuation of humanity in the 21st century.