June 30, 2022

The New Religion of Woke Anti-Racism

It’s all about religion, isn’t it? “(W)e have the cult of social justice on the left,” Andrew Sullivan wrote in New York Magazine, “a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical.”

Linguist John McWhorter elaborated on that theme in The Atlantic. “(A)ntiracism,” he wrote, “is a profoundly religious movement in everything but terminology.”

McWhorter likened the notion of “white privilege” to original sin, argued that the hope that Americans will “come to terms with race” is as vague as hopes for Judgment Day and observed that the faithful on the lookout for “that which may be blasphemous” resort to social media shaming tantamount to “the excommunication of the heretic.”

You could be pardoned for supposing that Sullivan and McWhorter were reflecting on the past week’s events — the epidemiologists piously proclaiming that participating in crowded protests of police racism was more important than the otherwise sacred duty of social distancing, the chastened suburbanites in Bethesda, Maryland, kneeling before and asking forgiveness of black fellow citizens.

But actually, their quoted comments both appeared in magazines dated December 2018. They nevertheless proved apt as commentary on events no one then imagined.

Sullivan and McWhorter understood that we have been living for two decades in a political era during which the demographic factor most highly correlated with voting behavior is religion, or, within each sectarian group, the degree of religiosity.

They observed that the era produced, for the first time in American history, a partisan division between the largest metropolitan areas and the rural and small-town areas outside metropolitan boundaries. Our coastal metropolises voted 3-1 for Hillary Clinton while rural areas north and south, except for Vermont and the Berkshires of Massachusetts, voted 3-1 for Donald Trump.

While non-metropolitan voters, as Barack Obama noted in 2008, still tend to cling to traditional religion, articulate white metropolitanists are increasingly comfortable defining themselves as atheists and characterizing their religion as “none.”

They believe instead in Science, with a capital S. Science, they claim, justified the two-month coronavirus lockdowns and the need, until the protests against police misconduct that resulted in the death of George Floyd, to maintain them.

Actually, scientific advice kept changing — understandably, since epidemiological models of a novel virus made projections refuted by evolving evidence. And epidemiology has an understandable bias toward pessimism, since society wants warnings against unlikely but disastrous downside risks.

Science, moreover, provides no convenient formula for weighing the predicted benefits of lockdowns against their large and incommensurate costs. That requires judgments based on your values — which is to say, in many cases, on your religion.

So, urban liberals insisted on strict limits on traditional religious services, symbolized by the vexed tone of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s denunciation of an Orthodox Jewish funeral. But they quickly bent themselves into logical pretzels by endorsing crowded mass anti-racism protests. My (tolerant, modern, progressive) religion is better than your (parochial, antiquated, traditional) religion.

Is this conflict really necessary? Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe the Minneapolis police officers acted wrongly and support peaceful protests. Traditional Christianity preaches the moral equality of every individual — a position consistent with believers in secularized anti-racism.

And large majorities believe that violent rioting is wrong — and support sending in the National Guard and, if necessary, even the military, to end it. But here there’s a collision with believers in the woke religion of anti-racism, at least if young staffers in The New York Times newsroom are indicative. They demanded — and got — the editorial page editor to resign (be fired) for having run an opinion article by a Republican senator in which he urged deploying the military when necessary to stop rioting.

Absent from the catechism of the woke anti-racism religion is any acknowledgement of the facts, cited repeatedly by the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, that police shootings of blacks have become exceedingly rare. Christianity asserts that original sin will always be with us, but racism in America has been in long-term deep decline.

Protests have featured confessions of sin and demands for reforms. Some demands — “defunding the police” — are so lunatic that Democratic politicians have been skittering away and explained that “defunding” doesn’t mean defunding. Others — like requiring police cameras — are already widely in use or not particularly controversial. Some are not familiar but bear serious consideration: Police officers’ qualified immunity from federal civil rights lawsuits, instituted by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren and a unanimous Supreme Court in 1967, could be abolished or altered by the court or Congress.

Unfortunately, historical perspective, statistical literacy and any need for consistency are not of much importance to practitioners of the religion of anti-racism.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.


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Laura (@guest_1008932)
2 years ago

Antifa is a bunch of uneducated people running around in circles. They don’t know what they want. Unfortunately a lot of them are probably raised by one parent. There mad inside inside so they look for people who are like hem and create a family. They probably dropped out of school because they had no one to guide them.

Marie E Abbott-Porter (@guest_1009056)
Reply to  Laura
2 years ago

Both my sons were raised single handed by ME. My oldest serviced in Iraq as a Captain Chaplin> He joined the army his junior year in high school and went to basic training after he graduated from high school. After Iraq he continued college at Westminister Theological University in Pennsylvania. He is now a Pastor at a Senior Living Home for Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s and Senior Apartment. My youngest son owns his own business doing flooring. So I would guess they are an exception to your rules.

Robert (@guest_1009199)
Reply to  Marie E Abbott-Porter
2 years ago

Great job ,we need more parents like you.

Eli (@guest_1009052)
2 years ago

This is an organized Communist Socialist Democrat agenda triggered with a goal in mind. When they didn’t impeach President Trump, or the genocide (democide) COVID 19 didn’t destroy America, because it wasn’t prolonged long enough for them to conquor, one mistake triggered the race card to conquor and divide. When black communities, and businesses are destroyed, it isn’t about racism, but about destruction and vandalism. When cities like St. Louis have 4 officers shot, it’s about murder and crime. When the St. Louis Democrat prosecutor releases criminals, and looters, or thieves from jail with no bail, this is irresponsible and lawlessness, and the local taxpayers should demand justice. New York protestors experienced a Muslim jihadist, shouting a jihad chant, and cutting a protestor, which isn’t about racism either. Innocent protestors were shot, but not by officers, but possibly, radical, communist extremists, who are paid. We know the ads are out there, asking for people to join the protests with pay. The Federal government overrides the states rights in immigration, civil rights, and criminal law. They are trying to undermine the Federal government and President Trump.

Esther (@guest_1009101)
2 years ago

Every thing will change very soon. Federal assistance for rent will end and extended unemployment will soon end. Are these radical groups, Antifa and the Democrats going to cover you? I’d suggest you stock up on tents.

Lillian Weston (@guest_1009127)
2 years ago

ENOUGH of this silly “stuff”. Let’s be Americans and start working with our President to “make America Great again”. America needs to be thinking about how we are going to solve the problem we will have with all the
money spent in the past few months with the “Virus”. Time to work together to solve these kinds of problems.

James2U (@guest_1009135)
2 years ago

Anyone inciting violence during a national crisis should be shot dead right on the spot they stand!

russell d remmert (@guest_1009172)
2 years ago

this is the product of public schools and terrorist teachers and unions

russell d remmert (@guest_1009173)
2 years ago

this is the product of public schools and terrorist would be teachers

Jim (@guest_1009176)
2 years ago

Amtifa are often well educated and financed. The have been taught all throughout school that Socialism is the best for everyone and we should all share in what we have and provide for those that have nothing. Horse hockey! Everyone should get a basic education and find a trade in something that they enjoy so they can make a living and provide at least for themselves. Socialism and Communism are wonderful and a perfect socioty as is Democracy. Trouble is, none of them work simply because people are involved. The only government that seems to work, or works best is a Republic, like the one our forefathers formed when they created the United States. Pull up your big boy pants and learn a trade, help others, obey the laws that are set up to assist everyone, and become good Americans, Americans period!

Silas (@guest_1009741)
Reply to  Jim
2 years ago


Joanna (@guest_1009246)
2 years ago

This a Democrat thing to persecute real churches

Barry.w.vann (@guest_1009308)
2 years ago

I’m white and proud of it. I never owneda slave,neither did my father,nor my grandfather,nor his father, etc….etc. I don’t owe the black terrorists a damn thing! Take your damn lies and your “woke” religion to russia……see how they appease to your ” woke religion b/s” !



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