Wokeness and Identity Politics Have Their Roots in Protestant Christianity's Notions of Original Sin and Redemption

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What a topic for a Sunday morning — am I right?

I am not a serious student of theology in any respect, although I recall one of my favorite classes as an undergraduate was titled “The History of Religion” — a historical look, as opposed to a doctrinal look, at the development of religions over about 1500 years.  But I stumbled across this very interesting article from City Journal several weeks ago, and I bookmarked the page with the thought I would come back to it at some point to explore my own reactions to the thesis which had not occurred to me before.  I have not yet read the book which the article reviews, but it is on my list.

As a VERY general proposition, there is a well-established correlation between religious observance and conservative politics.  There are many aspects of religious observance that are very much in line with traditional liberalism, but modern-day liberalism in a political sense is largely secular and dismissive of religious teachings and beliefs.

For many who consider themselves to be conservatives primarily based on morality and socially conservative viewpoints for which their religious beliefs provide a foundation, it is probably quite counter-intuitive to think that the most radical socialist/Marxist elements of the “woke” left have as the foundation for their beliefs their own version of “original sin” and what they require for such “sinners” to find redemption — and forgiveness.

Today’s liberal/socialist/Marxist Democrat political reality has been captured by adherence to identity politics presuppositions, where “original sin” is found in the institution of historical slavery.

But if “original sin” is limited simply to the institution of historical slavery, it is more difficult to stretch the victim class beyond the African-American population.  Identity politics needed more “identities” if it is going to attract enough supporters to wrest away political power.  So “original sin” was expanded beyond the institution of slavery, and now it is defined by the slave masters.

Hence the development of the concept of “white male privilege” from the birth of “critical race theory.”

Protestant Christianity plays in between the natures of man reflected by “innocence” and “transgression.”  But whereas in Christianity, the path to redemption is found in the hands of a loving and forgiving God because no one on earth is without sin, in the Church of the Woke the keys to redemption and forgiveness are in the hands of those who define themselves as innocent, beginning with their self-identification as a member of a victimized group.

By claiming the mantle of innocence that identity politics confers, oppressed minorities can extricate themselves from transgression altogether and demand justice and moral redress by means of exacting payment from the transgressors. And only by scapegoating themselves and others of their group can white, heterosexual men—the transgressors, in the identity politics schema—cleanse themselves of the stain of their own natures.

The “innocent” — by virtue of their membership in their self-defined victim groups — give themselves the authority to define “right” and “wrong” in moral and quasi-religious ways, supplanting the need to define “right” and “wrong” as having a basis in religious teachings.  Hence, there is no need for religion.

In fact, there is no room for organized religion as that brings with it judgments of morality that the Church of the Woke cannot abide — a religious practitioner whose beliefs dictate that he not bake a cake to celebrate a ceremony and union that his views of moral “rights” and “wrongs” do not recognize.  Even though he does “nothing,” the act of doing nothing — his inaction — becomes his sinful act in the Church of the Woke.

The acquisition of political power places the authority to define atonement and propitiation in the hands of the aggrieved.

A sinner seeks absolution in the eyes of God.

Where the “sin” is found in one’s status among the class of “white male privilege”, absolution and redemption can only be conferred upon the “sinner” by the aggrieved. That is what we are living through at this very moment.  The advocates of identity politics have reached a critical mass in the Democrat party through the three-decade odyssey of advancing critical race theory with their own definitions of who are among the “innocent” and who are among the “transgressors.”  Once defined, and with political power in hand, the terms of absolution can be established.

Those who resist slide from the category of “white male privilege” to the category of “white supremacist racist” for the purpose of excluding them from the political discourse so as to not have to endure their challenges to the new orthodoxy.

There are only two paths to leaving the category of “white male privilege” — confess your membership and your advantage as part of capitulating to their acquisition of power — i.e. “Heaven” — or have yourself cast into the pit filled with those who deem themselves as superior to the innocent groups they have victimized, i.e., white racist “Hell”.

This construct allows the advocates of identity politics to escape from the racism at the root of their own definitions.  By virtue of their own definitions the “innocent” members of identity groups committed no “original sin,” and there are no aggrieved classes, other than them, who have suffered as a result of the perpetuation of the vestiges of any such original sin.  As a result, nothing they do to address what has befallen them can ever be “racist” no matter how much they set men and women against each other in their demands for recognition and legitimization of the classifications and divisions they create.

There is no level of venality that race and gender-hucksterism can sink to that would delegitimize the “movement.”  Just keep passing the collection plates to corporate and tech titans — new and bigger ones are on the way.