General Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you think some employers might discriminate against people who went to Christian Colleges when applying for a job?

Asked by JLeslie (54570points) July 20th, 2010

Obviously it shouldn’t matter, but I just wondered what the collective thought. Is it a total non-issue?

I am not including Catholic Universities for the purposes of this question. I am thinking more of Baptists, Methodist, etc.

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65 Answers

poofandmook's avatar

My dad graduated from Hope College in Michigan, which is a Christian college, and it never came up.

josie's avatar

I am an employer and I only discriminate against those whom I reasonably think can not do the job. If I look at an applicant who is a clear winner, then I do not care about where they went to college or a whole lot else.

marinelife's avatar

No, I don’t think so.

ItsAHabit's avatar

I don’t know how often it occurs. However, I saw a candidate rejected because of the fact that he went to Brigham Young University and was presumed to be Mormon.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Well I don’t if people really did that in your country,but in my country a Christian would be discriminated if that person want to work in Islamic based field,store,community,etc.
Some Chinese company will only accept Chinese employee to work in their company,It’s written in the newspaper stated that “One must be able to speak Chinese,write Chinese,etc” others said “Chinese person would be more appreciated”. I know racism and discrimination is still here but everyone work for money,and people with money decide that.

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Facade's avatar

Probably not. It may even be favorable as the employer may connect Christian colleges with good, hardworking people (not that people from secular colleges aren’t good and hardworking…).

jsc3791's avatar

I don’t think anyone would openly admit to doing it, but how can you help having certain thoughts come to mind when you see that on someone’s resume? It probably won’t prevent you from getting an interview, but in combination with a bad interview, it could come into play. I hope I don’t sound like a bigot, but I know we’d sometimes roll our eyes and say, “Oh another one of those.” when we received resumes with Christian overtones (whether that be schools attended or clubs involved with, etc.)

I am the only one who’s experienced this?

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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yes, I think some do.

dpworkin's avatar

It depends. Notre Dame is unassailable, but some right-wing evangelical “schools” are a joke.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Facade That is a very interesting point and now wonder how much it affects the credibility of an applicant. I went to a Lutheran college and was a member of the chapel council, and doubt that it swayed a hiring manager one way or another. Maybe I’m wrong.

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plethora's avatar

@Doctor_D a Christian would be discriminated if that person want to work in Islamic based field,store,community,etc

Your citizens are much brighter than the liberal whiners in the US who would assail such discrimination as limiting religious freedom. I don’t blame islam for discriminating against Christians…just as Christians (and others) should discriminate against Islam, whose openly declared goal is to kill all infidels (all of us who are not Islamic). Yes, even those who are not terrorists here

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Ron_C's avatar

Like one person said, a Notre Dame graduate probably had unassailable credentials, Liberty University or Bob Jones university would go from my in basket to the trash basket. We need engineers and technical people, not evangelists.

They would probably make qualified Baptist preachers or used car salesmen but I wouldn’t trust them with my engineering or my money.

JLeslie's avatar

As I said Catholic Universities I would exclude from this question, so Notre Dame is not a consideration.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@plethora That is not what the goal of Muslims is – you shouldn’t make broad generalizations about Christians or Muslims

dpworkin's avatar

@plethora You are entirely mistaken about the aims of Islam, and you are repeating ugly propaganda. Why do you hate America, where we don’t discriminate on the basis of religion?

JLeslie's avatar

@Facade I find your answer interesting, makes me think of how politicians where I live actually use their faith in commercials on TV to try to get votes, and how people around me say things like “I am a Christian” to be synonomous with saying, “I am a good person with high integrity.” I think that only works in the bible belt. Everywhere else it sounds very strange and out of place.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie How about Harvard, it started as a religious university? In fact many of the “Old World universities started as religious institutions because the church recognized the value of an educated clergy and parish. The current run of Evangelical Universities are monuments to some preacher’s ego and a way to brainwash a new set of evangelicals.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not anymore than someone discriminating based on any other college, for instance a state school, online school, or someone from a rival college. I knew someone who would not hire anyone who graduated from USC because they had gone to UCLA.

MrItty's avatar

If the school isn’t accredited by a recognized organization, but is more of a “St. Joe’s house-o-degrees”, then yes, they would go to the bottom of the resume stack in my opinion.

Also, if a job was something science based, like a biological researcher, and the Christian college from which they graduated taught creationism on par with actual science, I can see the employer looking down on them.

Nullo's avatar

There will certainly be some bias in some employers, but I don’t think that there would be too much of an issue.

CMaz's avatar

In my business, it is a plus.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Harvard does not attract people for religious reasons anymore, so it doesn’t count. No one sees Harvard and thinks Christian. At least I don’t think so. I’m not even sure if Protestans actually are a majority there? I seem to remember an article once about how the law school was dominated by Catholics and Jews, but I don’t really know the demographics at the school. But I don’t think the perception of Harvard is Christian Evangelical, even if it happens to be statistically true that the majority of the student body is Christian.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I look at the courses they took and the projects they completed. .
In my work, Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics have much more value to me than Theology.
A “C” in Thermo trumps an “A” in Theo.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrItty Does that happen? Can you have a degree in biology and not believe in evolution?

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I have a girlfriend who is a Christian and her degree is in biology, but I never had a conversation with her about it. If I had to guess I would think she believes in evolution, but maybe my guess would be wrong. She didn’t go to a Christian school, she went to a state university.

cockswain's avatar

Do I think some employers might discriminate? Absolutely. Not to sound trite, but if discrimination exists, people will make discriminating decisions. Particularly in the field of religion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Well being Christian doesn’t preven one from understanding and accepting evolution, imo.

liminal's avatar

I have seen discrimination both ways. I’ve had people recognize the institutions I graduated from and assume they found a fellow conservative Christian and lean towards wanting to hire me simply because of that (disillusionment closely ensued). People have also seen my affiliation, approached me with caution, and a bent towards dismissal for assuming the same thing. The most frequent thing I have noticed is most people have no idea that I graduated from a christian school because it never dawns on them that such a thing exists.

talljasperman's avatar

yes I think it happens…. I can’t prove it but some places won’t hire christains and some won’t hire atheists ect…

MaryW's avatar

I believe some christian colleges, just as some community colleges, are light on science and engineering and that would show in a resume. An application for jobs that need those subjects would not impress an employer.

anartist's avatar

One is overlooking the differences between schools. As @dpworkin notes above, a Georgetown or Notre Dame, or Wesleyan, for that matter, are unassailable.. Even universities like Duke and Dartmouth have religious roots. Universities founded by the Jesuits, like Georgetown, have long been known for their scholarly excellence. For that matter, Brigham Young is a respectable university. Note that people who come to these universities to study aren’t necessarily believers in a college endorsed faith.

On the other hand, Bob Jones University or Oral Roberts University with their affiliations with revivalism and born-again, right-wing [and usually quite ignorant] Christianity would make me leery. Those schools are not sought out by people of all faiths for quality scholarship.

perspicacious's avatar

I have never heard anyone claim that it happened to them, but who can say it never has.

Ivan's avatar

Not simply because they are Christian schools, but unfortunately there are many Christian schools which simply don’t measure up. I know that some colleges won’t accept students who graduated from certain Christian high schools.

anartist's avatar

The military and certain government agencies may actually prefer candidates from a school such as Brigham Young. The school is academically sound and candidates are quite likely to be practicing Mormons, and due to obedience to the strictures of that faith, less likely to have anything in their past that would pose clearance problems. Observing Mormons are also less likely to do anything in the future that would cause these problems.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The key question concerns the academic reputation of the college. If the college has not established its credentials for high quality and comprehensive teaching, then their degrees might not carry the weight employers expect. This especially a problem if the transcript seems light on the standard academic courses or if the “science” courses are of questionable merit.

perspicacious's avatar

@Ivan I’d like a list of those colleges and high schools if you don’t mind.

Nullo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir “Sadly yes”? tsk tsk.
@JLeslie My dad – a strayed Catholic at the time – graduated from SF State with a BS in Biology. He is now staunchly opposed to the theory of evolution.

mirifique's avatar

How can you ever really prove why someone wasn’t hired?

Nullo's avatar

@mirifique The Affirmative Action advocates think that you can prove motivation based on the skin color of an applicant.
Generally, though, if you want proof you need to stick with the sciences. The inside of a person’s head is the murkiest place that you will ever try to sift through.
Unlike skin color, ideology has an observable impact. If an employer has a history of a certain kind of behavior, you can usually work out more or less what he was thinking. If three people apply for the position of a biology teacher at the local high school, and two of them graduated from a decidedly Christian university, and neither one of those two gets invited to a second interview, you can start being a tad suspicious. If it happens several times in a row, you can start being more certain in your suspicion.

meagan's avatar

Absolutely not, I’m sure.
Only jackasses that make everything about religion would do that.. (hem hem)

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting. When I wrote this question I was not even thinking in terms of the sciences. What I was wondering was if people would possibly not hire someone with the assumption that the person would be throwing around religious phrases all of the time, or start up a prayer group that meets before work, or have crosses hanging at their desk. All of these things have happened to me at work and I find it all odd for the workplace and some of it inappropriate. I was not thinking someone would not be hired because they are Christian, I can’t imagine that, but if they wear their Christianity on their sleeve, making non-Christians uncomfortable.

I certainly appreciate all of the answers. I agree with the people who said that it probably has more to do with the reputation of the school, coupled with how well they interview.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie that’s why I like catholics, they don’t evangelize and you can get a beer at their parties.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C That is why I excluded Catholic Universities for this question.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie You are right, from what I understand, even Catholic seminaries teach real science. Even the pope believes in evolution.

Regardless, I am no longer Catholic. They may tell the truth about science,....history, not so much.

Nullo's avatar

For the record, a person can go to a secular school and still throw around religious phrases.
I’d say that the sleeve is a natural place to wear your faith. It’s part of you, after all, and not a bad part.
Say you like sports. I don’t like sports. It would be natural to talk about your favorite team, wouldn’t it? To have paraphernalia in your office? To go to the game now and then with your buddies, and talk about it later?
But make it about Christianity instead of the Cardinals and suddenly it’s all weird.

tinyfaery's avatar

Pssh. At least there are protections that forbid discrimination based on religion. In most states one can be fired/not hired simply because of their sexual preference, without legal recourse.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Of course people can go to secular schools and still throw around religious phrases. I was wondering if people who are hiring might assume that people who went to religious schools are more likely to be someone who does wear religion on their sleeve. Like if a 100 Christians go to the University of Maryland, how many say things like, “I will pray for you,” when facing difficulties, and if I pick 100 Christians at random who went to a Chrsitian University use the phrase without reservation, and may not have a sense that people do not welcome religious references. I have no idea the real number of course, I was just curious if people might assume people from the Christians university are more likely.

I would not want to be around a person who obsesses about their sports team either. everything is an analogy to sports, it’s annoying also, since I am not very into sports. They can talk about sports all they want with their friends who are interested, just like the Christians can form study groups all they want and discuss the bible, but at work there is a line where other people outside of the “group” might begin to feel uncomfortable or excluded. I love my university, I wear t-shirts all of the time, etc., but at work it is rarely a topic of conversation and I would not have MSU paraphanalia at work either. Work has different rules in my mind than my home, because work consists of a diverse group of people who should all feel comfortable in their work setting.

mattbrowne's avatar

Not in Germany. The reputation of many Catholic and Protestant schools is actually very good. Even liberal Turkish Muslims send their kids to these schools.

JLeslie's avatar

I asked a long time friend of mine, who is an ordained Baptist Minister, he started a nondenominational church several years ago, if he had any recommendations for my friends daughter who wants to consider Christian schools, and without having given my bias he came back with recommending going to a good university that has a strong Christian group on campus, rather than a Christian college.

mattbrowne's avatar

It really depends on who runs the Christian schools. I would have doubts hiring people who went to school run by young-earth creationists or hate mongers discriminating gay people. The religious right movement is very small in Europe.

Ron_C's avatar

@mattbrowne “It really depends on who runs the Christian schools.” Good point. You can be sure that a school named for its founder like Oral Roberts University, or Liberty College run by the preaching nut job Pat Robertson are more involved in religious bigotry rather than a solid education. It is interesting that at “real” institutes of learning, people seldom know the name of the institutions president or founder.

The “fundamentalist” schools are ego and mind control trips for their founders.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Ron_C – You see, one reason something like that is unlikely to happen in Germany is that the European press would be all over it with headlines like Germany turning crazy again. Anything that remotely looks like discrimination or hate mongering comes under scrutiny, which is a good thing of course.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne Hmmm, I think we have people who come after those schools in the US, but I guess we have so many uber religious people in the country they don’t see it as crazy. And, the more fundamental of Christians in America state quite often that they feel we are trying to secularize everything and get rid of Christianity (they don’t understand that keeping the government and public areas secular is not trying to get rid of religion, but to protect religious rights). They feel discriminated against from what I can tell, and they fight back loudly. So, if we call them crazy there is a large group in the US who are offended. The way you talk about it in Germany sounds like if we came out against a cult, but it doesn’t really work against Christianity here. I think? That is my perception.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – Well, even in the US I’d say 80% of the evangelical movement is not crazy. Although I favor liberal forms of faiths I have nothing against conservative forms of religions as long as no one gets hurt. Although I think that the bread during communion does not turn into Christ in a literal sense and merely has a symbolic meaning, if people want to believe in the literal version this is fine with me. Conservative religion isn’t necessarily fundamentalist religion. The trouble starts when people really get zealous about it and want to convince everyone that their truth is the only truth. And calling evolution a hoax is basically craziness and I have no problem labeling it a religious nutcase. These people should not run schools. Our future is at stake here and without science the Earth won’t be able to accommodate 8 billion people in the near future. A lot of people will die if societies go back to the dark ages. We can’t find cures for cancer if we reject scientific thinking and the principles of evolution.

Another part is the ultra-conservative hate mongering which is also part of the religious right. These people are crazy and must be stopped. Although it isn’t fascism yet it is getting close. These people would not stand a chance in Germany. Even very conservative politicians would speak out. It’s a little different in Poland where anti-gay polemics is still prevalent and politicians are more careful. But Poland has a different history from Germany. And eventually they will come around. The other day there was a large gay parade in Warsaw.

Ron_C's avatar

@mattbrowne it seems that the U.S. and Germany learned different lessons from WW2.
The U.S. decided that it owns the world and its resouces belong to the U.S. If we learned the same lessons there probably wouldn’t have been a middle east oil embargo, countless wars and executions would have been avoided in South America. Maybe even a milder cold war.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Ron_C – I’d say a certain group of people decided it owns the world. It’s the people I was referring to in my comments above. Obama doesn’t think he owns the world. On the contrary. I think this was one of the major reasons the Nobel committee gave him the Peace Price right away. The intellectuals of the rest of the world wanted to send a strong signal. The rest of the world disagreed with the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld bullying approach that either you’re with them or against them. Cheney still thinks he owns the world. And so do the other ultra-conservative hate mongers. We have to keep them in check. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

And the vigilant people are stronger than many realize. There is hope.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I agree with your last couple of replies/statements,

Brian1946's avatar

I know the NFL certainly didn’t discriminate against Eric Dickerson, who attended SMU. ;-)

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