The left used to hate religion. For the past few decades, a common criticism from the left was to label anyone who was a conservative Christian as being a member of the dreaded, “Religious Right.” In the past this powerful voting block that tend to vote for Republicans was often called “an unholy alliance.”
However, it seems the left has found a religion, and it is rapidly becoming a powerful force in American politics. Whether social justice, Black Lives Matter, or global warning (aka, climate change), it all falls under the banner of this formidable entity: The religion of Wokeness. This may soon dwarf all other religions in our country, including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Scientology and perhaps even atheism.
There are a number of characteristics of mainstream religions, and Wokeness has them too. Religions have sacred literature. Christians have the Bible, specifically the New Testament. Jews have the Torah. Muslims have the Quran. Scientologists have the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, and the Church of Latter-day Saints has the Book of Mormon. There are sacred texts as well in the religion of Wokeness. These include the Communist Manifesto, the writings community activist of Saul Alinsky, and Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” or what radio host Dennis Prager likes to call “A proctologist’s view of American history.”
Commentator John McWhorter identified a major aspect of this Woke religion: the immorality of “white privilege.” Just two years ago he wrote, “The parallels with Christianity are almost uncannily rich. White privilege is the secular white person’s Original Sin, present at birth and ultimately ineradicable. One does one’s penance by endlessly attesting to this privilege in hope of some kind of forgiveness.”
McWhorter was a bit ahead of his time as a handful of liberal politicians, all white of course, recently acknowledged their privilege by publicly kneeling at the U.S. Capital, a prominent act of public self-punishment. But real penance, at least for the left, means getting rid of all privilege. And when they talk privilege, what they are really referring to is wealth. For them, wealth must be transferred from oppressor to the oppressed, which is why many doctrines of Wokeness are straight out of the Communist Manifesto.
Few religions punish their non-supporters as severely as the Woke. It is one thing to not oppose a religion, but you must embrace the Woke, or you are labeled, of course, a racist. The Woke religionists will hunt down and expose those who refuse to be converted, making sure they are shamed, fired from their jobs or derided publicly.
Another characteristic of those who are extremely religious is an intolerance toward images or symbols they dislike. In the last few weeks we have seen countless statues torn down by the Woke, even those who were never controversial, including President Abe Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglas. In a way, Woke fanatics resemble radical Islamists who destroy all things that offend their faith.
Finally, most religions have some kind of a Messiah. Islam has Muhammad, Mormons have Joseph Smith, and Christianity has Jesus. Wokeness has several, with the most prominent being George Floyd. Floyd, as was reported extensively, died while being arrested in late May in Minneapolis, and the four officers involved have been charged with murder. Conservative commentator Candace Owens took to Facebook and stated that what happened to him was wrong, and charges against the officers should be pursued. However, she also questioned why Floyd was being heralded as someone to be worshipped by her fellow Blacks, due to his extensive criminal record. For this she was condemned for her blasphemy. One cannot criticize the Messiah!
According to the Woke, certain names are sacred, and anyone who dare disparage them violate the commandment of Thou Shall Not Take Thy Name in Vain.
But there is a huge difference between the religion of Wokeness and the more traditional religions in our country, and that has to do with worship. Most Christian churches were ordered to close their doors during the COVID crisis in the spring. But those who follow the religion of Wokeness were allowed to get together in mass gatherings, all in the name of justice for George Floyd. However, many of these “worship services” were riots and they ended up with the burning and looting of stores, even police stations.
What is most disturbing is this destruction is now being directed at Christianity. In the past few weeks multiple houses of worship have been desecrated or destroyed in California and Florida. It could be connected to Black Lives Matter activist Shawn King and his recent condemnation of the symbols of Christianity. He wrote, “They are a gross form of white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down.”
The religion of Wokeness is not harmonious with Christianity, or any other mainstream religion in our country. It represents a serious danger to the values that have shaped America. If Wokeness does become the dominant religion, I’m afraid the country that you and I grew up in will be gone with the wind, just like the name of the Washington Redskins.
Tom Kuiper lives in Sibley. He may be reached at email@example.com.