Liberalism really is a religion
Liberals all rehearse the same political catechism. Their liturgy is as rote as the voice prompts of self-checkout. I offer the word liturgy to highlight the theme of John McWhorter's brilliant book, Woke Racism. McWhorter rightly builds a case that today's anti-racist CRT, and all liberal orthodoxy, I would add, is not merely "like" a religion; it is, in fact, a religion. How often do many of us on the right say something along the lines of "Gosh, it's like a religion with these people"? To use religion metaphorically does us an intellectual and spiritual disservice.
Inspired, I did my own reflecting on how the left relies on basic religious scaffolding. I recently saw online that actor Vincent D'Onofrio mocked Kyle Rittenhouse for his poor acting skills in a now-deleted post. I recalled years back that D'Onofrio was said to be difficult and would manically circle the set, ranting about politics. I also recalled a Neil Young concert video where Young stomped and flailed about the green room, pre-show, doing his own version of D'Onofrio's ranting. At the time, I assumed Neil Young was showboating for his graying counter-culture audience. McWhorter's point then gelled as it dawned on me that both Young and D'Onofrio were performing a religious ecstasy act comparable to the early American religious movement, the Shakers, who literally shook themselves to summon the Holy Ghost.
I thought about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough performing their "sitdown" sermons. They confidently imagine themselves as gentry-class televangelists, the left's Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, delivering "the word" as a string of scathing one-liners for their adoring home parishioners, the PTL(ibs) clubbers. That the left mockingly uses "fundamentalist" as a hayseed slam is really the pinnacle of self-parody.
In a video posted on Twitter, BLM protesters in Brooklyn, N.Y. can be heard chanting, "Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground." What, I ask, is the difference between inciting riots nationwide and Pope Urban II in the late 11th century emboldening, with the promise of papal indulgences, a military crusade against the Turks, and a military pilgrimage to the holy land? The Crusades, of course, are one of Western civilization's many "worst" sins. Since there are zero reprimands of BLM's and Antifa's violence and thuggery, how is that not a "papal indulgence" by Democrat elected officials and their media clergy to "bless" a religious revival of primitive violence?
Are we not asked by the left to consider Nikole Hannah-Jones's 1619 Project or Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me as on par with papal encyclicals? After all, their work is published and lauded in the NYT with its imprimatur and Vaticanesque global reach. It's the NYT that is all the news that's fit to print as decided by publisher Arthur Sulzberger, high priest owner of The Church of the Gray Lady. How is that different from John Cougar Mellencamp's view of Midwest religious oppression in his song, "Small Town"—"learned to fear Jesus in a small town"? Liberals have learned to gladly prostrate themselves before the NYT as it thus censors some stories and people for blasphemy. Just ask former Times editor Bari Weiss.
To reflect on John McWhorter's point for long is to conclude that there is an awful lot of pot boiling with religious zealotry calling the kettle black.
Spruce Fontaine is an artist and retired college art instructor.
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