What is wokeism? Is it another political movement, one pushing for equality and social justice in line with Christian faith, or is it something more? Catholics in particular must face and answer this question, as our faith calls us to defend the helpless in the name of Christ. Is woke thinking a duty or a heresy, a friend or an enemy?
Archbishop José Gómez, leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, recently stepped forward to answer this question factually and faithfully. Woke thinking, Gomez said, is nothing less than a new religion constructed to challenge and destroy traditional Christian faith.
[T]he ‘space’ that the Church and believing Christians are permitted to occupy is shrinking” thanks to wokeism, Gomez said. “Church institutions and Christian-owned businesses are increasingly challenged and harassed. The same is true for Christians working in education, health care, government, and other sectors. Holding certain Christian beliefs is said to be a threat to the freedoms, and even to the safety, of other groups in our societies.”
The woke religion, Gomez says, rejects the salvation of Christ for the salvation found in racial and class struggle. Constant struggle against “oppression” is the woke path to salvation. Gomez says, and anyone can easily see, that the woke faith has overtaken our universities, and from there, our corporations, the media, and our governments. It is also inside churches themselves, Catholic and protestant.
Woke faith is incompatible with Christian faith for very simple reasons. It is atheistic and denies God and Christ. It replaces biblical sin and salvation path with a theology of its own, which offers only constant warfare. Wokeism is also utopian, Gomez said, believing that it can somehow create a kind of “heaven on Earth,” which is not the ultimate hope of any Christian.
Woke belief is seductive because suffering, injustice, and inequality are all too real and the woke belief system seems to provide simple answers to overcome them. The Christian in particular is called to address human suffering, injustice, and inequality. William Wilberforce, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Billy Graham, Pope John Paul II, and many others fought these blights in the name of Christianity over the centuries and they stood on the solid rock of the Gospel in doing so.
That solid rock has been attacked for decades, and in many cases has given way to liberation theology and other fads that weaken doctrine and sow doubts among the faithful. The ground has shifted under their feet. The intellectual elite and popular culture have relentlessly encouraged Christians to question what they believe. Now, woke ideology has been constructed to replace Christianity and offer a new faith for those who do not believe in God but yet seek meaning in their lives.
“In denying God, these new movements have lost the truth about the human person,” Gomez said. “This explains their extremism, and their harsh, uncompromising, and unforgiving approach to politics.” Therefore “they cannot promote authentic human flourishing.”
This is why anyone at any time can get canceled over a stray remark uttered decades ago. You can get canceled for saying something that is inarguably true and that the vast majority believes. Tweet that there are only two genders, for instance, and see how long it takes Twitter to ban you from its platform. See how long it takes your corporate human resources officer to call you in for “reeducation.” There is no mercy in the woke faith. Only constant, unending struggle.
Stunningly, Archbishop Gomez may have an ally in Russian President Vladimir Putin. The former KGB agent recently said this to his own people:
It happened in our country after the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks followed the dogmas of Marx and Engels. And they also declared that they would go in to change the traditional lifestyle, the political, the economic lifestyle, as well as the very notion of morality, the basic principles for a healthy society. They were trying to destroy age and century-long values, revisiting the relationship between the people, they were encouraging informing on one’s own beloved, and families. It was hailed as the march of progress. And it was very popular across the world and it was supported by many, as we see, it is happening right now.
Is this not what Western wokeism is doing when it imposes the redefinition of everything even down to biological gender? While Putin warns of the dangers of wokeism, Joe Biden embraces and promotes it. The Democratic Party, as its first act in the new Congress in early 2021, replaced gender-specific terms with “gender-neutral” terminology. With a pandemic raging and unemployment racing out of control, why did they prioritize that? Because controlling the language leads to controlling the mind. This is why, Putin noted in his address, the merciless Bolsheviks invented “Newspeak,” changing the most basic terms to force people to change what and how they think.
Hard as it is to believe, Putin is on the right side of history here and the Biden Administration is not.
Putin warned where this would lead, and the history of Russia under Stalin, China’s Cultural Revolution under Mao, Cambodia under Pol Pot, and Germany under Hitler, prove him right: Wokeism unleashes monsters and ultimately leads to the annihilation of Christianity and other faiths, and to mass murder. The woke faith, remember, denies the humanity of its opponents and has no place for mercy or tolerance of other opinions or beliefs. Where Christ provides cleansing through His sacrifice and grace, wokeism offers only the barrenness of the grave.
Archbishop Gomez warns the church to see wokeism as a new religion and forcefully reject it.
“We should not be intimidated by these new religions of social justice and political identity,” Gomez says. “The Gospel remains the most powerful force for social change that the world has ever seen. And the Church has been ‘antiracist’ from the beginning. All are included in her message of salvation.”