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Washington Examiner

June 11, 2020

It’s all about religion, isn’t it? “We have a 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.”

The linguist John McWhorter elaborated on that theme in the Atlantic. “Anti-racism,” he wrote, “ïs 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 in which the demographic factor most highly correlated with voting behavior is religion, or within each sectarian group the degree of religiosity.

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