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    Posted in
    August 22, 2023

    Many sociologists now speak about the arrival of the post-Christian era in both America and the West in general. Way back in 1976, Newsweek Magazine spoke of “the year of the evangelical.” But church attendance is down in America. Young people abandon any semblance of their childhood faith as soon as they set foot in a university. This is a great concern in our churches. The Wall Street Journal recently published an analysis of national sentiment over the past 25 years on: 

    ·       Religion: 62% in 1998 vs 39% today.

    ·       Having kids: 59% in 1998 vs 30% today.

    ·       Community involvement: 47% in 1998 vs 27% today.

    ·       Patriotism: 70% in 1998 vs 38% today.[1]

    ·       The number of weddings: 40% lower in 2000 than in 1970

    Star Parker, a black Christian intellectual gives similar figures and sees the sign of a “nation committing suicide.”[2]

    While 20th century unbelief was atheistic, religiosity is now everywhere, as astrology and occultism flourish in mainstream culture.[3]  Such an abandon of personal biblical faith has some obvious causes. Many universities, for instance, have become centers of Marxist training and/or Critical Race Theory, both of which are based on a godless post-modernism, generally called Wokism. George Floyd’s death affected major institutions—from federal agencies to Fortune 100 companies. Encouraged by the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, such organizations hastily pledged themselves to the new flag of Wokism. They gave multi-millions to groups like Black Lives Matter and promoted a revised version of morality preached through DEI—“diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Wokism’s leaders insist that America is fundamentally racist and they demand “antiracist discrimination” (a technical term used to discriminate against people identified as racist) to produce “racial equity.” This semi-religious ideology abhors “systemic racism,” “white supremacy,” “white privilege,” and “antiracism.” Racism in America today is, to a very significant degree, a manufactured problem, crafted by woke Leftists in order to overthrow the American way of life. Most major cities, many major companies, the educational system and the government’s policymaking apparatus all bow down together before the god of Wokism. 

    Few Christian students seem trained or qualified to know how to answer such powerful ideological opposition. Indeed, as we will note below, students have been deliberately trained into a Wokist viewpoint. The average four-year university now has more DEI officials on its staff than history professors. DEI offices have broadened the meaning of terms like “harassment” and “discrimination” not to promote a welcoming campus environment but to enforce a progressive ideology often proposed as a Marxian counter-revolution, determined by an ideologically driven progressivism.

    Those who have lost faith in God need a new moral structure, which Wokism provides by playing on the sensitive conscience of American citizens, especially young Americans. They are told that white supremacy is just like the Marxist description of oppressing owners and oppressed workers. Now it is White oppressors and oppressed minorities—Blacks, women, illegal aliens, gays and trans individuals. Unlike biblical morality, this system does not include forgiveness. Whites remain guilty forever and blacks are doomed to be forever victims. In addition, there is no notion of original sin, no divine justice, and no atoning work of Christ to wash us clean. Alas, this is a false pagan morality in which God is absent. Such thinking has entered many churches under the appeal of moralism—see for instance, Lucas Miles’ Woke Jesus[4] and A.D. Robles’ Social Justice Pharisees.[5] Soon, I hope to treat this more thoroughly, but here I am focusing on the attack against students.

    Professor Stanley Ridgley in his book Brutal Minds: Brainwashing in Our Universities,[6] documents that university administrators in particular deliberately intend to undermine a student’s ability to engage in classical academic thinking and to inculcate in them a serious case of “religious” guilt. Ridgley seeks to show “how one of history’s great institutions—the American university—is undergoing an infiltration by an ‘army of mediocrities’ whose goal is to destroy the university as an institution of knowledge-creation and replace it as an authoritarian organ of ideology and propaganda.”[7] Jesse Jackson’s 1987 rallying cry at Stanford University, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go,” springs to mind, since Western Civilization courses have truly disappeared. 

    The new ideology, now labeled as Wokism, is summed up in a vigorous and progressive political program, which has spread in recent years throughout the culture—in government administrations, businesses and educational facilities— via the prompting of “diversity officers” of DEI, “diversity, equity and inclusion.” In the wake of George Floyd’s death, companies scrambled to hire “chief diversity officers” who would apply DEI, which quickly imposed the new moral principles required by the progressive state. In 2018, fewer than half the companies in the S&P 500 employed a “chief diversity officer.” By 2022, under pressure from state regulations, three out four companies had created such a position.[8] This is also the case in university administrations.

    As an example of how far this goes, consider the following incident. In February 2023, Dennis Prager, a Jewish intellectual who promotes conservative values, was invited, along with Christian leader, Charlie Kirk (founder of Turning Point USA) to speak at Arizona State University (ASU) for a conference organized by Barrett College, the honors college of ASU. The conference was innocently entitled “Health, Wealth and Happiness.” About a week before the scheduled event, 39 of Barrett College’s 47 faculty members (significantly, these were not administrators) signed a letter to the dean of ASU condemning the event on grounds that Charlie Kirk and Dennis Prager were “white nationalist provocateurs … purveyors of hate who have publicly attacked women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, [and] institutions of our democracy.”[9] They were not upholding DEI.

    DEI seeks to wipe out “the evil” of systemic white racism in order to produce a future utopian culture. In universities the program includes both the abolition of the Western canon (including Christian Scripture as well as the great books of Western intellectual heritage), dismissing such works as the source of systemic white racism. They propose a new canon, that of “social justice education,”[10] otherwise known as “antiracist pedagogy.” Milan Kundera, the Czech-French novelist who wrote about totalitarianism, and who died recently in Paris, said in the Book of Laughter and Forgetting that the first step of totalitarianism “is to erase society’s memory, destroy its books, its culture, its history.”[11] That’s what our contemporary educators are striving to accomplish: generation after generation of Americans with no history, no culture, and no memory.[12]

    The new morality is not only a strong current in most university classrooms; it is reinforced by “ancillary affairs staff,” who control “co-curriculum” events, “student affairs” or “residential life” training that students are more or less obliged to attend in order to prove they are not racist. In such classes, they are taught social justice and self-styled CRT morality. Psychological manipulation is used to break the resistance of any student who refuses the notion of white supremacy.[13] One widely used text is Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. The book is an unrelenting attempt to produce guilt feelings in the consciences of white people.[14] The brainwashing involves “an all-out racialist assault on students,”[15] on their parents’ views, and on traditional conservative values in general. Using “Intersectionality,” LGBTQ minorities are celebrated because they, like a host of other groups, are oppressed. 

    Nothing is left to chance. Supporting structures such as the Social Justice Training Institute and the American College Personnel Association train leaders in racial caucuses. A key figure in the latter organization is Dr. Craig Elliot, an expert in “transformative learning and change.” He offers a guide for the conduct of racial meetings. He is an expert in getting students to change their minds about racism. Elliot received his doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies, founded in 1968 at the heart of the 60s spiritual revolution. The Institute of Integral Studies was created by new age thinkers and was established according to Hindu principles. Current woke morality is based upon a spirituality that emerges from Eastern religion, in which there is no Creator God. Two of its graduates founded the Esalen Institute in Big Sur which claims to explore “new ideas around creativity and the brain, body work, spirituality, leadership, Gestalt, plant medicine, citizen diplomacy, super humanism, the survival of bodily death, Extraterrestrial intelligence, and more.”[16]

    Ridgley’s research generally analyses the influence of administrative staff in universities, though clearly Arizona State University is an exception. Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, points to another exception. He reveals that an entire university can be overtaken by the ideology of DEI. Florida State University adopted a whole series of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs that stand sharply in opposition to the culture of Christians and their “Christian privilege.”[17] According to CRT, the moral system to which Christians adhere automatically makes them an oppressor class. They should never be allowed to force their oppressive morals on oppressed sexual minorities. Christian morals function as a “hegemony,” which unfairly normalizes Christian values.

    Rufo states that “beneath the surface, the woke ideology has embedded itself everywhere in the university.”[18] Today, many universities have consciously or unconsciously abandoned the commitment to inquiry, research, and debate—all directed toward the pursuit of the highest good. The mission has now become the pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion and the immediate interests of partisan politics.

    Rufo cites as an example one representative program called “Social Justice Ally Training,” hosted by Student Equity & Inclusion Director Sierra Turner and the Center for Leadership & Social Change. The program provides a basic recapitulation of the critical-race-theory narrative: 

    …white, patriarchal Western societies have created a “Cycle of Socialization” that has resulted in “racism, classism, religious oppression, sexism, heterosexism, gender oppression, ableism, ageism & adultism, and xenophobia… “Whites” are the racial group responsible for the “systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little power.” Whites are also guilty of “cultural racism,” or the creation and maintenance of social structures that “overtly and covertly attribute normality to white people and Whiteness.” By definition, no other group can be racist—“institutional racism” can only “create advantages and benefits for Whites.”[19]

    Rufo shows that the DEI ideology, which progressive culture is imposing everywhere in business, political structures, the military and even in churches, can also overtake an entire university. He notes that in Florida State University DEI has become pervasive in nearly every academic department:

    The business school has pledged to create an award for “DEI heroes.” The classics department has released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. The art history department has adopted a “land acknowledgement” that portrays white Europeans as illegal settlers. And the sociology department has created an entire course, “Critical Race Theory,” that presents left-wing racialism as the gospel truth and assigns readings that traffic in overt racial hostility, such as “Whiteness as Pathological Narcissism,” with no competing opinions anywhere to be found.[20]

    At the administrative level of Florida State University, the DEI bureaucracy excludes anyone who does not commit to social-justice ideology. Some departments require graduate students and potential faculty to submit “diversity statements”—as part of the application process, irrespective of academic merit. Some scholarships are not available to white students. Diversity and radical politics are the highest principles used to govern the institution. The University of Florida, for example, offered more than 1,000 separate DEI opportunities in one training session. Black Lives Matter, a Marxist-inspired movement, was held up as an exemplary movement.[21]

    This ideological transformation, what Ridgley calls “brain-washing” of students, has been going on under our noses for years and we have not paid attention. After his careful analysis of social justice programs in colleges and universities, Stanley Ridgley makes a startling, over-arching conclusion: “a Marxist project is guiding American university schools of education.”[22]

    Such an analysis goes a long way to explaining the radical results of recent federal elections. It also helps us understand why America is no longer the center of free market thinking or of traditional moral behavior. For many, the God of the Bible is dead, as the title page of Time Magazine said way back in 1966: “God is Dead.” Ridgley’s conclusions also challenge the church in its attempt to interact through cultural apologetics. How do we address—with the gospel—a culture that has lost its view of classic morals? We are in the situation of early Christianity, surrounded by pagan Rome, where citizens do not know the God of the Bible. Romans 1:25 was the original Christian apologetic. It doubtless must be ours. It describes two views of existence. Either you worship creation as divine, or you worship God as the divine Creator of everything

    They exchanged the truth about God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 

    “Worship” and “service” of God is only truly possible when we meet the gospel concerning God’s Son. The message of the Christian faith, unlike Wokism, is not moralism but undeserved grace. The only truly moral human being was crucified to remove our sins by his atoning death on the cross. In the woke utopia there is no love. In Jesus we meet the love of God for sinners.

    [1] Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage, Henry Holt and Company, (2004), 91.

    [2] Star Parker, A Nation Committing Suicide (March 29, 2023).


    Rob Doyle is an Irish novelist, short-story writer and essayist. His most recent book is Autobibliography.

    [4] Lucas Miles, Woke Jesus: The False Messiah Destroying Christianity, Humanix Books, 2023.

    [5] A.D. Robles, Social Justice Pharisees, MJ Nashville, 2022.

    [6] Stanley Ridgley, Brutal Minds: The Dark World of Left-Wing Brainwashing in Our Universitiesm, Humanix Books (2023).

    [7] Ridgley, x.



    [10] Ibid., 23.


    [12] Cited in

    [13] Ibid., 105, 109,

    [14] Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to talk about Racism, Beacon Press, 2018. DiAngelo makes $728,000 per year in speaking fees of $14,000.

    [15] Ibid., 115.

    [16] The Esalen Institute website.

    [17] Christopher Rufo, The Highest Principle, “Left-wing DEI bureaucracy has captured Florida State University and installed radical politics as the governing value,” City Journal (Feb 02, 2023).

    [18] Art.cit.

    [19] Rufo, art.cit.

    [20] Art.cit.

    [21] Christopher Rufo, Diversity Programs Miss the Point of a Liberal College Education.

    Op-ed in the New York Times, August 4, 2023

    [22] Ridgley, 146.