How parts of the 'anti-woke right' are pushing a 'secular culture war': report

How parts of the 'anti-woke right' are pushing a 'secular culture war': report
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Ever since the rise of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr. and the Moral Majority in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Republican Party and Christian Right have been joined at the hip. President Donald Trump was a major ally of the far-right white evangelical movement during his four years in the White House, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, in July, claimed that she was “being attacked by the godless left” because she is “a proud Christian nationalist.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado recently complained that she is fed up with the separation of church and state. And former National Security Director Michael Flynn has called for the U.S. to “embrace one religion” and abandon all religions other than Christianity.

But in an article published by The New Republic on December 12, journalist Charlotte Kilpatrick stresses that not everyone on the “anti-woke right” is religious. Some opponents of “wokeness,” she writes, are fighting a “culture war” in a more “secular” way.

READ MORE:Texas pastor openly calls on 'Christian nationalists' to 'impose their values on society'

“When Trump announced his candidacy, the multiply-divorced, p*ssy-grabbing New York businessman didn’t inspire his followers by preaching about attacks on Christianity or ‘traditional values,’ as so many of his forebears had,” Kilpatrick notes. “Instead, he stirred fear of racial displacement and the need to preserve an ‘American’ identity. MAGA wasn’t fighting a crusade against the godless; it was fighting wokeness. Instead of a culture war rooted in Bible verses, this new revival of right-wing ideology is now grounded in a secular struggle that no longer requires Jesus to play a role in the fight against progressive values.”

Kilpatrick continues, “One reason for this ideological shift is that Americans of both political parties are becoming less religious. A Gallup poll from March of last year revealed that 47 percent all Americans belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, which was down from 50 percent in 2018 and 70 percent in 1999. The decline is mostly due to an increasing number of Americans who claim no religious preference at all.”

Kilpatrick emphasizes that although Trump loudly courted white evangelicals, he was merely paying lip service to Christian fundamentalists and didn’t actually embrace their practices.

“During the 1970s, when Republicans were busy fighting affirmative action and public school busing, they also rode a wave of born-again Christianity that propelled evangelical preachers like Jerry Falwell into the national spotlight,” Kilpatrick notes. “Sunday sermons in newly built megachurches sounded very similar the rants heard on right-wing talk radio.”

READ MORE: 'Without the Bible, there is no America': Josh Hawley goes full Christian nationalist

Kilpatrick continues, “What has emerged over the last decade is what sociologist Donald Warren described in the 1970s as the rise of Middle American Radicals, or MARs. These voters are not necessarily the same who still attend church services. Their most distinguishing feature is that most of them are white middle to low-income earners without a four-year college degree who share a suspicion of big government and a fear that the middle class is under attack. They are the voters most likely to tune into Tucker Carlson ranting about immigrant Spanish speakers taking over small towns and liberals attempting to take guns from responsible owners. They are also the ones most likely to self-identify as ‘anti-woke.’”

Conservatives who openly identify as “atheist” are not impossible to find. CNN’s S.E. Cupp, for example, is a conservative atheist. But while Cupp is very much in the Never Trump camp and is a scathing critic of the MAGA movement, the secular parts of the “anti-woke right” that Kilpatrick describes are passionately MAGA.

“What this decoupling of religion and ideology reveals is that for many Republicans, a professed love for the teachings of Jesus were never about love and charity, but about the maintenance of antisocial ideals: dominion over the rights of others and the preservation of a social hierarchy pitting the preferred in-group against all disfavored out-groups,” Kilpatrick writes. “The United States of America may have been founded on puritanical values, but it now appears that those same values can persist and evolve even without the Puritans.”

READ MORE: How Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, Sr. helped pave the way for Trumpism and the white nationalist horrors of the Trump era

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