There is something of an “evangelical to SJW pipeline.”
By Joseph Bottom
Woke anti-racism certainly appears to have taken on the trappings of religion. White people have been seen washing the feet of black people and asking for forgiveness, a ritual firmly in line with the Christian tradition. And terms like ‘white guilt’ and ‘white privilege’ are treated much as Original Sin used to be – things for which humanity must forever atone.
One person who has long been exploring the religious fervour of today’s increasingly moralistic politics is the essayist and author Joseph Bottum. Indeed, his 2014 book, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, seems almost prophetic. There he argued that the demise of traditional Protestantism in the US has led liberals to transfer their religious beliefs, habits and passions into the political realm, moralising it in the process. Our age of ‘post-Protestantism’, he concludes, has eroded the boundary between the religious and the political, infusing politics with a religious mindset and discourse.
spiked’s US correspondent, Sean Collins, caught up with Bottum, at his home in the Black Hills of South Dakota, to find out what he makes of the contemporary political moment, woke anti-racism and the phenomenon of cancel culture.