Anti-Racism Has Become a New Religion in Secular Clothing

Observing the protests and public discourse that have swept the country since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Joseph Bottum sees what looks like nothing so much as religious fervor. He traces the rise of this fervor to the decline since the 1970s of the Mainline Protestant denominations that once dominated American life. In an interview by Sean Collins, Bottum explains the deeply Christian impulses behind what has come to be called “wokeness”:

What we’re seeing now is . . . an intense spiritual hunger that has no outlet. There’s no way to see people kneeling, or singing “Hands up, don’t shoot,” or swaying while they hold up candles, and avoid acknowledging that it’s driven by a spiritual desire . . . that is manifesting itself more violently. Because to the post-Protestants, the world is an outrage and we are all sinners.

[Take, for instance, the] idea of white guilt—that there is this inherent guiltiness that comes from being white. This notion has the same logical shape and the same psychological operation as Original Sin. The trouble is that, unlike Original Sin, there’s no salvation from white guilt. But the formal structure of white guilt and Original Sin is the same. How do you come to understand that you need salvation? By deeper and deeper appreciation of your sinfulness.

Similarly, there is ostracizing and shunning. Cancel culture is just the latest and most virulent form of the religious notion of shunning, in which people are chased into further appreciation of their guiltiness. . . . If you profane, you’re [pushed] outside the Temple [and] the only way back is to become fanatic, to convince people that you understand how guilty you are. And even then, I’m not sure there’s any way back.

We live in just the strangest times. But understanding the historical roots of these radicals as post-Protestant, and understanding the spiritual hunger which has no outlet for them, helps us to explain it. This is what happens when you have a Mainline outlook that is broken loose from all of its prior constraints. These ideas used to be corralled in the churches. If you let an idea like Original Sin—that’s a dangerous and powerful idea—loose from its corral, it goes to a place where it can exist, which is politics.

Read more at Spiked

More about: American Religion, Black Lives Matter, Protestantism, Secularization


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security